Where Do the Italians Get So Many Last Names and Can They Loan the Spanish a Few?

When was the last time you heard of someone named Medici, Buonarroti, da Vinci, Brunelleschi, DiMaggio, Mussolini, Pirandello, Berra, Vespucci, Fellini, Pesci, De Niro, Coppala, Vivaldi, etcetera (or rather, Eccetera, which is also probably a family name in Italy).

The only Italian surnames that seem to repeat a lot are Russo/Rossi (meaning “from Russia” or “red hair”), Ricci/Rizzo (meaning “curly”) and Esposito (meaning “exposed”—i.e., abandoned by your parents).

Meanwhile, the world is drowning in people named Smith, Jones, Miller, Khan, Garcia, Santos, Chang, Wang, Kim, Lee, Nguyen, Suzuki, Cohen, and “Hey Asshole!” which apparently is very common in New York.

Incredibly, Italians seem to be immune from the anthropological law of history and evolution called Random Lineage Extinction, a law which can best be illustrated by this famous example:

In 1790, nine British sailors who had mutinied on The Bounty sailed to Pitcairn Island, bringing with them eleven Tahitian (Polynesian) women. Of those nine original family names from The Bounty (such as Fletcher Christian’s), only four survive today (source: http://www.pitcairners.org/settlements3.html). The rest succumbed to Random Lineage Extinction.

Had they been nine Italian sailors instead of British, there would now be 29 original family names.

Had they been Spanish, there would only be four or five family names, but everyone would have 19 interchangeable middle names.

Had they been Chinese, there would only be three or four family names but there would have been billions of descendants on little tiny Pitcairn.

Had they been Native American Indian, everyone would have a unique, colorful last name like “Laughs-at-Pain” or “Sighs-without-Smoke.”

Had they been African-American, the pronunciation of each last name would have changed and simplified to the point where eventually everyone would have just a single initial for a last name (e.g. Spencer Christian’s descendants would be named: “Chrissan” then “Krissin” and eventually just “Spencer K” or “Spencer X” if they felt rebellious against the Man).

Had they been Afghani, they would not have known how to sail to Pitcairn after mutinying against Captain Bligh. (Afghanistan is a landlocked country.)

Had they been French, they would have assimilated into Tahitian culture and also never reached Pitcairn. The only trace they would leave behind would be an annoying and completely unwarranted superiority complex among modern-day Tahitians.

Had they been German, they would have killed off their descendants as “racially impure,” causing labor shortages which could only be overcome by importing guest-workers. Consequently, everyone would be named either Ozturk (meaning “pure Turk”) or Yilmaz (meaning “unbeatable”), the two most common surnames in Turkey.

And if they’d been Australian, everyone would be named Bruce and there would be no poofters.

The Importance of Pronunciation

Some people say “Latino,” while others say:  “Latin No!!!

Similarly, some people say “Latina,” while others say:  “Latin Nahhh.”

Some call it “Manhattan,” while others call it:  “Man Hatin’.”

And just just because all New Yorkers are misanthropes doesn’t make it right. Anyway, they have to be misanthropes–they’re surrounded by New Yorkers.

And be careful–there’s a big difference between “Can you not see?” and “Ken, you Nazi!”

And just because all people named Ken are secret Nazis doesn’t make it right–you can still get successfully sued for libel (see Kenneth Goebbels vs. Shitfer Brains, 2nd Federal Court, 3rd District, volume 3: 31-45).

Speaking of Naziism, be careful when you address Adele Fitler–she’s very touchy about her name, almost as touchy as when Sanford & Son’s Demond Wilson walked off the set of Hollywood Squares after some old white bitty called him “Demon(d).”

Other names requiring extra careful pronunciation:

Ray Cist
Taurus A. Newhole
Gaven Head
Goldie Showers
Benedictus Raw
Issa Futtup
Murr Dürer  (don’t call him Murray–he hates that name!)
Juanita Oilchange
Ken Formist
Ham R. Roid
Sy Phyllis Burns
Maria Rendhertz
Bridgette Riverkwai
Ward Tuyermother
Betty Didder / Ida Donner / Willy Duer
Meso Hahney

And, most important of all (because this could get you killed in many parts of the world):   Mohammed Iznada Proffitt