When Shakespeare got it all wrong

“What’s in a name?” the poetic genius William Shakespeare once famously asked, before going on to answer his own question: “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

“What’s in a name?” the poetic genius William Shakespeare once famously asked, before going on to answer his own question: “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Actually in the interest of full disclosure, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a timeless extract from William Shakespeare’s popular play, Romeo and Juliet, and to cut a very long and tedious story short, the expression espouses the notion that the names of people or things do not affect what they actually are.

A frequently referenced part of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival’s house of Montague, that is, that he is named “Montague.” The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

This school of thought has since transcended its initial status as just that – a school of thought, (and a subjective one at that), to become a world-widely held notion:

The sad bit about it is that the whole world has since come to believe this nonsense because it comes from the mouth of William Shakespeare, supposedly the Horse’s Mouth itself.

As a dignified human race we should stop believing stuff simply because it is uttered by important mouths or penned by gifted scribblers like William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare, there is absolutely no doubt that you were a spirited person and an iconic mind, but on this particular one about ‘What’s in a name’, I politely beg to differ.

How can you tell me that ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’? Are you telling me that if the capital city of Rwanda were to be renamed ‘New York’ or ‘London’ or ‘Paris’, are you telling me that this would be okay?

Now imagine if the president of a sovereign state or the CEO of a blue chip company like NPD Cotraco stepped up to make a keynote address to diplomats and political leaders and policy makers and then introduced himself with a stage name like musicians and people in the performing arts usually do.

As I type this, Kigali is abuzz with activity (and anticipation) as city party animals prepare for another Mutzig Beer Fest bonanza that the dramatic Nigerian rapper Wizkid has been booked to headline.

I am yet to confirm independently what exactly transpired at the Kigali International Airport when the Nigerian Whizzy landed on the Kanombe runway, but if it’s true, then surely he deserves the honor and title of ‘Drama King’.

But Wizkid’s drama is not the point here. On the contrary, the issue is, just imagine a school headmaster or the president of a Rotarians’ club or a government minister or the Minister of Defense formally introducing himself or being addressed as ‘Wizkid’!

Another good example is right here under my nose. Look at me, Moses Opobo the way that you know me. But that is just one facet, one façade of me, the super journo.

Often times, there are ideas and themes I can’t fully explore in my journalistic writing so I put them to song, and when I put melody to these words, I am no longer Moses Opobo the journo, but Lyric DVD the microphone beast.

The point here is that much as Moses Opobo is a good name and much as William Shakespeare in his wisdom opined that ‘A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet’, it does not work when it comes to music. Lyric DVD does it better because the girls love it and I do not care what the guys say or think because I’m not gay.

 

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