porn-star names that are puns

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Apr 24 23:29:08 UTC 2004

On Apr 24, 2004, at 8:21 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

>  My colleague Professor Peter Burian has taught Greek at Duke since the
> 1960s. A number of years ago, we were amazed to see that his name was
> being used by
> a porn star who specialized in gay work. All those years and we never
> once
> thought of the potential pun. I'm just amazed that one of Buran's porn
> star
> colleages hasn't also appropriated the name of Burian's brother, Dick
> Burian.
> At about the same time, another porn star took the name Terry Sanford.
> No pun
> there, but at the time Terry Sanford was the president of Duke
> University.

> ...In a message dated 3/29/04 12:44:14 PM, dave at WILTON.NET writes:
>> Perhaps there is some kind of process where porn names go mainstream?
>> Or do
>> porn stars tend to chose names that are on the cusp of fashionability?

don't know about straight porn actors, but i know *a lot* about actors
in gay porn, from a database of over 2500 names of (almost all white
non-hispanic american) gay porn actors.  there are quite a few
different themes in the naming schemes.  overall, they're
hyper-masculine, showing the phonological characteristics that
distinguish male from female names in the u.s. to an exaggerated

among the dozen subtypes i've extracted are (a) rip-offs of non-porn
names (Mike Nichols, Jimmy Dean, Clark Kent, Thom Cruz, Tom Sawyer);
(b) tough, aggressive, insertive names (Brawn/Braun, Lightning, Spears,
Stryker, Mallett, Panther, Wolf/Wolfe/Wolff, Hunter, Butch, Saber,
Cougar); and (c) more or less explicitly sexual names (Cox, Randy, Fox,
Hardon/Harden, Cruise/Cruz/Cruze/Kruze. Score), though these are rarer
than you might have thought.  (most of the names are so routinely
all-american whitebread that it's hard to remember them!)  all three of
these types might be thought to be "puns" of some sort.

arnold (zwicky at, apologizing for repeating stuff from
years ago -- but i've been living in Death Valley for a great many
years (first, my partner's long slow death, then my rapid-onset,
barely-averted death in recent months); i now discover that i have
eight or so books and over forty papers in progress, some unfinished
for many, many years, and realize that i don't have enough time left to
finish it all -- and i *will* start new things, every few weeks. just
to make things worse

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