Sorting by Last Name is Stupid

April 21, 2021

(Originally published on October 15, 2018.)

My name is Aaron. That’s how I’ll introduce myself informally. If the ocassion is especially formal, I might skip it. Or I’ll introduce myself as Aaron Angel. Note what I will never say: “Hi, my name is Angel, Aaron.” I’m not James Bond.

What even is a last name, anyway? Who decided we need to sort lists of people’s name by the least used, thus least significant, portion thereof? An idiot, that’s who. Sorting by last name is stupid for two reasons, not the least of which is if you call me by my last name, I’m apt to correct you.

A person may have a last name. Or not; some cultures (and some celebrities) use mononyms. Some put what others would consider a last name first. This leads to several possibilities: A last name could be the name by which a person is familiarly called, a person’s family name, or nonexistant. So can we stop sorting by a name that might not exist or be least likely to be used, already?