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"Call Me Sluggo": A Life-long Activist Sheds His Slave Name

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Harvey Wasserman       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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From LA Progressive


A young Harvey Wasserman
(Image by Harvey Wasserman)
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Enough is enough. Especially when it comes to a name.

Many of you have undoubtedly faced a crisis or two about your own. It can come from anywhere, like changing (or NOT) your family name when getting married. Or dumping the curse of one you never liked.

Famous examples abound. The great Texas-born classical pianist Van Cliburn was in fact Harvey Lavan Cliburn. Lady Gaga is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Kirk Douglas was Issur Danielovitch. Marilyn Monroe came from Norma Jean Mortenson. Tony Curtis had been Bernard Schwartz. John Wayne was Marion Mitchell Morrison.

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You get the picture.

When I was born in Boston 72 years ago this New Year's Eve, my mom made my father promise not to name me "Harvey." Dad's father, who'd just passed away, was Herschel. So the "H" was unavoidable. But there were certainly better choices. She never forgave him. Me either.

My middle name is Franklin, as my parents were big FDR fans. As an historian, I like it for Ben.

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Wasserman means "Aquarius" or Water Man in German. I'm good with that.

But "Harvey"?

The rabbit in the Jimmy Stewart movie was in fact a real-life "Pooka," a Celtic spirit.

But in light of recent history, now that I've moved to Los Angeles, being introduced to new friends comes with "NOT the Hurricane, NOT Weinstein, NO relation to Debbie Schultz."

Enough!

So I am shedding my slave name. Instead, where viable, we go with my hippie logo: Sluggo.

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That silly moniker originated with a friend who thought I looked like a comic strip character, now long gone from the funny pages. Like me, that Sluggo had a sister Nancy. For more than a decade I lived with it on my communal farm, amidst friends and lovers who never knew my "real" identity.

The name's best feature is that little kids love it. It always morphs into "Swuggo," prompting an instant smile.

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Harvey is a lifelong activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, election protection, social justice, grass-roots politics and natural healing, personal and planetary.He hosts "California Solartopia" at KPFK-Pacifica and "Green Power & Wellness" atprn.fm. (more...)
 

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