Monday, 12 January 2009

Why Oranjepan?

This one is for Asquith who asked me why I took this name.

Now obviously I wasn't born with the name, nor was I christened with it (like most great apes shared human religious culture anyway) - it certainly isn't your most obvious pen-name!

So what combination of factors inspired me? (some of these get a bit tenuous or tendentious, so bear with me).

-A 'true believer' in Liberal Democracy (ie Orange) and inclusivity (ie pan:- "Including everything or everyone, especially in relation to an whole of a continent, people etc.")

-It's vaguely similar to Orang-utan
-If you're not yet down from the trees, we're not yet out of the woods

-A vaguely dutch heritage (ie Oranje)
-My real name begins with a 'J'


-Occasional sagacity
-An affinity for fruits and nuts
-A barely concealed wild side
-Champion tree-climber
-Concern for endangered species

-A love of rum-based desserts (almonds, apricots and vanilla are nice, but secondary)
-A split personality representing the two ape species of the genus pan, Pan troglodytes (Chimpanzee) and Pan paniscus (Bonobo)
-Eternal youthfulness (as in Peter Pan)
-An artistic corruption of the mythological greek god Aegipan, who may or may not have been identified with Pan, an important deity in the romantic movement.
-Pan is identified with the satyr or faun (similar to Saggitarius, the satyr or centaur, which is also my starsign most years)
-Pan is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens (thus, not yet out of them)
-The name enables me to draw analogies based upon non-human constructs
-And finally, this name gives me some latitude to be depreciating about myself (you wouldn't believe me if I told you someone recently said I looked like Johnny Depp...)

Pseudonymity is a good thing as far as I'm concerned as it forces readers to engage with the content of the arguments and removes the temptation for endless ad hominems (or in my case ad hominids).

Most commenters who've decided to engage in discussion on the topic have tended to assume a directly political connection between my Libdemmery and the Orange Bookers in the party. While I'm not opposed to some of the aims expressed therein, I think it is important to make a splash with our ideas even if there is always room for improvement: even if we were already in government I'd still be saying we're not yet out of the woods.

I also like to think that the choice of name says something about the psychological character of the person who chooses it, as though there is a code encrypting a deeper sense of self which only others on the same wavelength can decypher - in which case how many could you guess? how many would you agree/disagree with? Are there other subconscious clues to my character my choice of name suggests to you (go on, I dare you, you have my permission to be mean)?


If you've got this far then you'll probably want to know what the photo is. Well, it is a beach-front slave hut on the beautiful island of Bonaire.

This one was built for white slaves to ensure segregation between races even when they were indentured. Nevertheless it does also show that slavery is a issue which is an issue of human rights, not just racial identity.

The slaves at Oranje Pan worked on the evaporation basins to produce salt for the local population and for trade. While it might be nice to visit desolate, sun-baked locations such as this for a couple of weeks as we seek temporary escape from our industrial lifestyles in the west, it is a place where fresh water is hard to find and only a meagre existence is to be had.

Alternatively, here is a map placing the location of Oranje Pan. And here are some webcams in the region to show you just what it is like.

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