1. Uncephalized says

    I hadn’t really noticed before… but they DO like to use your full name, don’t they? Sort of like a mother scolding an errant child: “Paul Zachary, you stop blaspheming this instant! I’m warning you…”

  2. says

    Well sure, it’s the nannies who go for the whole name.

    We know we’re in trouble when someone writes “Paul Zachary” or “Paul.” For we know that there’s going to be a long convoluted diatribe regarding “niceness,” which totally avoids the rudeness of intellectually dishonest liars.

    Glen D

  3. Geral says

    Is it similar with our president? People who despise him emphasize his middle name.You know how I know when it’s going to be a rant against him? When they start out “Barack Hussein Obama…”

  4. Jim says

    Yeah, I noticed this trend as well…I always read it like a mother scolding a child – I probably wouldn’t know my own middle name today, if I hadn’t been such a hellraiser as a child.

  5. Richard Harris says

    “Do his foes believe that the use of his full name holds some magic power over him?”

    I can imagine the ceremonies, where his name is spoken out in full, & prayers with baleful incantations, & much amen-ing. Feckin’ edjits.

    Go, PZ!

  6. schism says

    I think the first few commenters at Pleiotropy are correct: “PZ,” like any shortened or nickname, denotes a kind of friendly familiarity that creationists obviously don’t share.

    I’m less sure that the popularity of “Barack Hussein Obama” in conservative writing is similar. In my experience, it’s more of an attempt to emphasize the “otherness” of the name, making it a vestige of the “Obama isn’t American” meme.

  7. says

    Actually, I was horribly scarred as a child when I looked up the meaning of my name in one of those baby name books.

    “Paul” means “little”.

    “Zachary” means “remembered by god”.

    “little one who is remembered by god”? Gag. Fortunately, my mother did not pick it because she knew Hebrew.

  8. Hairy Doctor Professor says

    A comic (don’t remember who) once had a riff on the full-three-names appellation as denoting villainy: “Lee Harvey Oswald”, “John Wilkes Booth”, “Attila The Hun”, etc. Maybe that is the sympathetic magic they are trying to invoke here, both with “Paul Zachary Myers” and “Barack Hussein Obama”. “Paul Zachary Myers” obviously denotes a serial axe murderer, while “PZ” is someone you would hang out with at a picnic, often involving beer.

  9. says

    My son, who will be 8 this summer, was named Zachary before, I think, I knew what the “Z” stood for when I saw PZ’s posts on t.o, and long before I knew the name would meet with such approval among the Biblical names fan club. I liked it because, with the middle name Alexander and my last name, his initials, ZAC, would be recursive, and he’d share a name with a certain Dr. Smith, who used to curse a robot with epithets like, “You blundering bucket of bolts,” and lament, “Oh, the pain, the pain.” That he shares a name in common with PZ is a delightful coincidence.

  10. Aaron Baker says

    I guess you haven’t really arrived until there are websites devoted solely to denouncing you.

    If I spend even an hour online, I think I’m wasting my life; but creating and maintaining an anti-Whoever website: that opens up entirely new frontiers of loser-dom! (Unless of course you’re attacking Bill O’Reilly.)

  11. says

    Maybe he would prefer “Paul-E Zizzle”?

    For real, though, I was trying to find a point in that blog, was there one?

    FYI, I refer to Dr. Meyers as “PZ” because…that’s what it says under his picture on his blog!!!

  12. fcaccin says

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Pzmyers R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
    feels somewhat correct.

  13. says

    Hmm, rather than “little one who is remembered by god”, I would suggest that “little remembered by god” might be more along the right lines, and certainly more preferable, no? ;-)

  14. Grendels Dad says

    P. Zachary Myers, (bet nobody calls you that)

    How about instead of “little one who is remembered by god” you give a different spin? “Little remembered by god” seems close to forgotten by god. From there it is a short leap to “forget all about your little gods, they probably don’t exist anyway. Now go enjoy some calamari.”

  15. carole says

    PZ, when I first “met” you on the intertubes, it was a little while before I realised that the PeeZee I was hearing about and the Pee Zed Meyers I was reading of were, in fact, not two different people. Doh!

  16. amphiox says

    Actually PZ, to be known as “little remembered by god” isn’t that bad a thing, is it?

    I think it is a residue of the old superstitions revolving around the “power of the name” which probably resonates subconsciously still to certain segments of the population. God refuses to reveal his full name to Moses at the burning bush, right?

    To invoke someone’s full name is to apply a curse upon him. . . .

  17. Alison says

    It’s pretty impressive that someone has made you a hate-site. Have you read all the comments? Some of them are pretty funny.

    “I think it’s because the initials ‘PZ’ have a certain air to them, for those in the know. They convey the full rampaging power of Pharyngula, compactly expressed in a mere two letters.

    Saying ‘Paul Zachary’ is a feeble way to try to convince themselves that they are dealing with a mere man, rather than the Terrible Giant Squid.”

    It’s the ninth comment down.

  18. says

    Perhaps the ones who hate PZ are more obsessed about PZ, so that they are able to remember his name better. This was the first time I have heard the full name.

  19. 'Tis Himself says

    I refer to Dr. Meyers as “PZ” because…that’s what it says under his picture on his blog!!!

    Your attention to detail is poor or else you’d notice that what it says under his picture is PZ Myers.

  20. says

    @#23 Alison
    “It’s pretty impressive that someone has made you a hate-site. Have you read all the comments? Some of them are pretty funny.”
    For some reason, I do not think that it is a hate-site…

  21. cicely says

    Well, according to some magical thinking, if you know someThing’s True Name, you can Summon, Command, and Dismiss it. Implied threat?

  22. Qwerty says

    I think that lots of mothers use the middle name when scolding the errant child as in “Kenneth Paul.” (My first and middle name.)

    My mom use to call dad by his surname or Sy, but when there was an argument or scolding to be done it was Sylvester George!!

  23. Grendels Dad says

    So, they can remember his first and middle names, but can’t spell Myers… Curious.

  24. Newfie says

    one of the comments said:

    Also, even though the initials PZ are unusual it’s possible that there is at least one other PZ Myers out there. If you’re going to be saying something detrimental about someone you should at least be clear who you’re talking about.

    Seems the rational answer to me.

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    He has contracted many supporters as well as many ardent critics, to put it mildly.

    How do I get into one of these contracts? Up until now I’ve been submitting my comments for free.

  26. shonny says

    Posted by: Geral | April 10, 2009 2:57 PM
    Is it similar with our president? People who despise him emphasize his middle name.You know how I know when it’s going to be a rant against him? When they start out “Barack Hussein Obama…”

    Well, if he was referred to as ‘B.O.’ that wouldn’t be all that great either, eh?

  27. articulett says

    I suspect that some folks aim for using as many syllables as possible so as to sound more “serious” and erudite despite having nothing of value to say.

    (Or perhaps I say PZ because I’m lazy.)

  28. DaveH says

    I feel so inadequate, not having any middle-initial. Is this unusual in the ilk/minionhood?

  29. Newfie says

    How do I get into one of these contracts?

    He meant “contract” as a verb. To acquire, or pick up. Which puts us between beneficial human flora and parasitic. :)

  30. says

    Palls a Carrie isn’t bad. The really annoying one was all the kids in elementary school who used “pull my ears” for my name.

  31. Sili says

    Is that really all it’ll take to get you visit?

    :flings open wardrobe:

    I have beer! Bought a selection of Easter brews, but haven’t tasted any of them yet (lack of visitors). Please do appear!

    I promise to only open one door of the cupboard so that we won’t enter into xkcd country.

  32. SEF says

    I’m less sure that the popularity of “Barack Hussein Obama” in conservative writing is similar.

    Well, being known as B.H.O. would certainly be an improvement on just B.O. …

  33. 'Tis Himself says

    I feel so inadequate, not having any middle-initial. Is this unusual in the ilk/minionhood?

    You can buy yourself a middle name. I will sell you “Arbuthnot” or “Percy” for a mere $49.95 plus shipping and handling. Or if you want something a little more plebeian, “Roger” or “Alan” can be had for $29.95 +s&h. Or if you’re really poor, you can get “Jack” or “Ted” for $9.95 +s&h, but that’s only if you’re really desperate.

  34. SEF says

    Ah, turning round to watch TV means other posts saying the same thing intervene! :-D

  35. Bride of Shrek OM says

    Qeerty @ 28

    I think we may have had the same mother. I usually got Vicki but if I heard the words Victoria Ann I’d run like a scared friggin rabbit.

    Weirdly though I’ve only used my full first name since I was about 18. I think I just got used to being in trouble and it was easier to use it all the time. Besides Vicki is name best left to cheerleaders.

  36. Bride of Shrek OM says

    Hey Qwerty, you see what I did there, unintentional typo in your name that turned out kind of funny! I think I may have been taking typing lessons off the Rev BDC.

  37. rob says


    maybe we should confuse everyone and start calling you:

    Paul Zachary M

    nah. too many syllables.

  38. HazyJay says

    What was even worse than Mom’s usage of my middle name?

    When she would stammer a bit and add my siblings name before finally getting to mine.
    “Shan- Al- JASON!” = Run.
    If there was a “Miz” in there (the dogs name) I would hide under the neighbor’s bed…

  39. tcb says

    I feel jealous now. I want a middle name, or at least an initial. Then I can gauge when people don’t like me by looking at when they use my full name.

    You’re lucky. All 3 of my names can be first or last names. Do I have three first names or three last names? I’m confused!

    BTW, someone on the linked site suggested “Pee-Zack.” Now that sounds good!

  40. AlanWCand says

    …and of course the wingnuts make a point of calling you Mr. Meyers (complete with misspelling of your name). I’m sure the full name thing is supposed to sound like a parental admonishment…you know the way parents invariable do that with their kids when they’re doing something naughty? It’s supposed to be a putdown.

  41. daveau says


    I really don’t like to pick on spelling or punctuation in this kind of forum, but QWERTY is pretty difficult to misspell. Freud would be proud.

  42. Lana says

    My sister maintained that you had to give a child a good hollering name: Amy Marie! Samuel Robert!

    I’ve done the same: Jason Eric! Peter Thomas!

    I must say that I’ve yelled Peter Thomas far more than Jason Eric.

    But he’s turned out to be a really good and smart kid, now a physics major in college. I’m sure my yelling had nothing to do with it.

  43. Grendels Dad says

    Maybe Mel Gibson was right in Conspiracy Theory. They are trying to link you to assassins, who we all know all three names of?

  44. gypsytag says

    We should all switch to using your native american name…

    Dances With Cephalopods

  45. Fernando says

    Paul Zacharias is a good name.
    PZ its also good.
    But i prefer to call Professor Myers… :)

  46. Hipstermama says

    So my question is THIS…being a Canadian I say P Zed, so which does PZ actually prefer??

  47. says

    Well, I’ve been standing in front of a mirror all afternoon calling all the different variations of your name five times per variation and no link.

    I’ve gotten a link on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy, but for that I had to sacrifice a goat, conduct a full blown Satanic ritual and subject a creationist to all sorts of evils like telling her about basic evolution for 10 hours straight… I’d rather not go into full detail in public though.

  48. Ramdic Hellbane says

    Using initials isn’t always to show regard for someone. Take ole G.W. for instance. A lot of people called Bush that, his followers and dissenters alike. And many of the former became the latter. I mean it does sound nicer but sometimes people use it to remove a certain amount of respect from the person being named. I like PZ, though, because its got a nice ring to it. Its got a “z” which makes it a bit novel. Plus it has other cool uses like, ” I’m getting PZed off!” or just “PZ off!” No disrespect intended PZ.

  49. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Funny, a right wing troll who used to stop by regularly for insults had yet an other insult in the comments.

  50. raven says

    OT sort of. Fundies call for book burnings. This is a Glenn Beck “tea party”, some sort of right wing protest at our economic mess. Which was all produced by right wing christofascists.

    This is a youtube video going viral.

    Woman: [Shouts] Burn the books! [applause]
    Man: I dont think you were serious about that, were you?
    Woman: I am too.
    Man: Burn all the books?!
    Woman: The ones in college, those, those brainwashing books.
    Man: [laughs] Brainwashing books?
    Woman: Yes.
    Man: Which ones are those?
    Woman: Like, the evolution crap, and, yeah…

    I’m all for fundies burning books, something they do occasionally. A good example of their mental and moral poverty

  51. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    It is on the site that PZ linked to. It is the not at all missed Eric Atkinson. Patricia, you remember him!

  52. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    *makes sign of crossed noodles* Janine, AUGH. That was one vile dude.

  53. plum grenville says

    My theory (in the nonscientific sense of the term, i.e. a guess) is that people who call you by a form of your name that is not the one you prefer do it to get your goat.

    Conversely, I have on occasion insisted on my full first name rather than the shorter form I prefer with certain people and in certain settings in order to distance myself from them.

    Thus the person who answered the phone all day long, “Revenue Canada, Barbara speeaking” was emphatically not ME.

    I also insist on “Barbara” with people I secretly dislike, to emphasize (if only for my own internal satisfaction) the distinction between such people and people I like, who are allowed to call me “Barb.”

  54. recovering catholic says

    RS @32:

    I think in this case the second syllable in the word “contracted” is stressed–to indicate that PZ contracts followers like people contract diseases…

    Pleiotropy is just being funny–he’s a PZ admirer.

  55. Pierce R. Butler says

    from the link:

    Last year he was involved in three scandals of the blogosphere: Crackergate, Expelled from Expelled, and… I can’t remember the third one. If anyone reminds me, I will update.

    So far none of the Pleiotropy commenters has attempted to fill the gap. Me, I’m so jaded I usually can’t tell what’s a “scandal” until I hear the screams & sirens. Which of our host’s madcap misadventures of ’08 was The Third Scandal – and who’s going to play PZ in the movie?

  56. reboho says

    LRBG – short for PZ?

    Thought you were Dr. Evil-utionist? You want a Hot-Pocket?

  57. Tatshua says

    The times I do mention you I’ve said PZ Myers. Mostly because I don’t know many who I know reads your blog, so thats just to let them know who I’m talking about as it seems to be the most common version used on the sites I visit. I haven’t even memorized your full name, so even if I did dislike you I would have to remember it. Though PZ sounds so much cooler, doesn’t it?

  58. Peter McKellar says

    I went to a few of the sites that hate PZ (linked off the article on Plietropy). What a joke :) The deluded religiots that run these sites and their sycophants really aren’t too clever. The sad thing is they wear their ignorance like a badge of pride and actively work to force this oppression on their families, their friends and (by corrupting education and governance) to all of us.

    The Salem Hypothesis is interesting, I had not encountered it before.

    Pierce @78

    I would guess the third scandal was the discovery institute and the zoo (Cincinnati?)

  59. says

    I would guess the third scandal was the discovery institute and the zoo (Cincinnati?)

    Not the Demons Insane, but Kooky Howling-at-the-moon’s creation “museum”.
    And yes, it was the Cincinnati Zoo.

  60. says

    If I spend even an hour online, I think I’m wasting my life

    In that case, I’ve wasted the majority of the last three years.

  61. JeffreyD says

    Oh Walton, please do not make the snarky jokes so easy on me! I am a sucker for such bait.

    Ciao y’all

  62. Owlmirror says

    No, that’s not quite right — “Zachary” (“Zechariah”) is the wrong verb form for “remembered by”. One site suggests “Yah(weh) remembers”. Another possible interpretation is that the verb is an imperative: “Remember Yah(weh)!”.

    Because “zchr” also means “male”, the name might also mean “Man of God”.

    I don’t make this stuff up; I just report it.