Meanwhile, back in Eastern Europe, descendants of the original Dracula are reaping huge public relations benefits from re-naming their group Transylvanian Lives Matter.
A visit to their secret site on the Dark Web reveals that the group’s aims and interests have not changed at all: feeding on the blood of the living, turning people into vampires, spreading fear and misery and violence everywhere (“Our mission is to spread fear and misery and violence everywhere,” says their Preamble). But suddenly the group is not only socially acceptable, but also politically ascendant.
“Changing our name changed everything!” exults the current president of the group, Count Vladimir Yorga. “Now, anyone who criticizes anything we do, or offers even the most trifling opposition, is immediately accused of believing that Transylvanian lives don’t matter! So the next time anyone asks you, ‘What’s in a name?’, tell them–‘Everything!’ In all honesty, we were getting nowhere the whole time we called ourselves Blood-sucking Abominations.”
(And let’s just see if I get away with this. But really, somebody does have to say something.)
We’re still trying–unsuccessfully–to email my column to Newswithviews. I am wiped out with frustration. Meanwhile, Joshua wondered how to pronounce my name, so I thought I might elaborate on that.
My paternal grandfather was born in Paris and came here as a boy. Our original surname was “Duigou,” and you can imagine how that got mangled: “Dooey-Gooey” springs to mind. So he changed it to “Duigon.”
My mother’s German surname wasn’t much better: “Leis,” pronounced “Lice.” So they took to pronouncing it “Lease.”
All my life I’ve heard my name botched and butchered. “Doo-jee-on.” “Doo-gan.” One man pronounced it “Dugong,” an animal related to the manatee. Once at Sunday school, when they were handing out attendance badges, the superintendent called me up to the stage as “Diggin.” Which inspired me to exclaim, “My name ain’t Diggin, it’s Duigon!” I think that happened when I was ten years old.
Six measly letters–how hard could it be? I mean, it’s not “Suppiluliamas,” is it? But he was king of the Hittites, and it was probably dangerous to mangle his name. And you could always call him “Your Majesty” if you got stuck. I have to settle for “Hey, you.”
Anyway, the correct pronunciation is “Dui”–as in “ruin” or “bruin”–“gon.” I can live with “Dwee-gon.” I strongly believe that Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays would never, ever have become stars if either of them had been saddled with my name.
“Wow! I read a really good book by… well, some guy, whatsisname…”