So, many of you know that I am a bit of a nut when it comes to following current practices in changing or not changing surnames in marriage. I stumbled upon this collection of commenter anecdotes from The Dish. One reader notes that our choices in terms of surnames is actually changing and will most likely challenge the art of geneology for future generations. Coupling this name practice with my working thoughts on life and death in the digital age (catch up on your Google Death Manager reading here and here...), I continue to be struck with the ways that we find to unmoor ourselves from history and tactile existence. Liberation may often be called for (spoken as a feminist who chose not to change her surname in marriage) but the existential philosopher in me wonders, what is real? The digital age conflates form and content in ever new and challenging ways. Our e-mail, social media, digital pictures not only communicate and share our thoughts and memories but they also hold them, or do they? What does inheriting the stew of thousands of mundane, secret, time-sensitve, and time-limited e-mails of a loved one really mean? Can you box them up and stick them in the attic for future generations to pour through? Or does our digital existence and singular names actually speak to the intrinsic illusory nature of mortals? The concept of legacy shifts beneath us in this modern age. Literally, how will you be remembered?
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