Yglesias jumps into the ‘keeping your maiden name’ conversation with the sort of uninsightful and trivial opinion that he seems to bring to most of his social commentary. Matt is a very insightful thinker about foreign policy, and even many public policy issues which have to do with fiscal questions, like transit.
He does, though, have a tendency to see every question with regards to human behavior through the lens of his experience as a young, very smart, Ivy League grad who grew up in New York City. I suspect it’s a problem we all suffer, and the reason people who having interesting opinions about human behavior tend to be older is because, well, the biases they bring are at least based on a wider array of lifetime experiences.
For instance, his opinion that women ought not to change their maiden names when they get married seems to be based primarily on two facts: 1) the fact that his mother didn’t change her name when she got hitched and 2) changing your name will require you to change your e-mail address, assuming of course that you have a name-based e-nmail address. Not exactly the most convincing two arguments I’ve ever seen.
He comes to the discussion via Kay Steiger, who says some seriously inane things. The primary one is:
Changing names to become a “unit” is silly. What if you were asked to change your name each time you changed jobs or professions? People would say that’s silly, but for me it’s no more silly than changing your name each time you change partners.
Ummm, Kay? You’re right. It would be completely absurd for us to ask you to change your name every time you changed your job. It would also be silly for us to ask you change your name every time you changed partners. But we’re not asking that. We’re asking you (or your partner, or both of you) to change names every time you get married.
Not knowing much about you, Kay, I’m still guessing that you are probably in favor of gay marriage, am I right? So, clearly, you believe, as I do, that there’s a fundamental difference between ‘having a partner’ and ‘being married’. At least one part of the idea behind getting married is that we believe, or at least hope, that it will last for the rest of our lives.
Plus, this gives me the chance to link to one of my favorite posts from my old blog, the genesis of the title of this here post.