Happy belated birthday, Facebook Jamal Ibrahim! You are a baby girl born last week in Egypt. Your parents named you, in honor of the role the social networking site Facebook played in your country’s recent revolution. Your name struck me as strange at first. And I guess it is a bit strange. But the longer I sit with, the more I think it’s strange in a good way, the more I like it. It’s better than “Twitter,” for starters, in that it won’t be shortened to “Twit.” And I actually think it will be pretty cool as you grow older. People will surely call you “Face.” And that’s an excellent nickname! Gangster tough, Hollywood glam, hip-hop fresh, mod sharp—and one that follows in a strong tradition. There have been many fine Faces over the years. Greta Garbo, for starters, who earned the nickname “The Face” because she was so beautiful.
She was named the fifth greatest female American Screen Legend (even though she was actually Swedish) by the American Film Institute in 1999. I’ll bet you will be similarly beautiful and talented. Here she is, watching opera in the 1928 film, “The Mysterious Lady.”
Much like Greta Garbo, The great Geto Boys rapper Scarface is a legend. People call him “Face” for short, too. As you go through childhood, especially approaching adolescence, you might find that people tease you because of your different-sounding name. If they do, remember that it’s probably more because they’re jealous than anything else. I can’t condone the methods of retribution Scarface does in his song lyrics—they are extreme, and I’d like to think metaphorical. Scarface is a hugely talented artist. However you choose to handle the situation, should a similar one indeed arise, I trust it will be with aplomb.
As beautiful as Garbo, and, in his own way, as steely and brutal as Scarface, the A-Team’s smooth-talking heartthrob and resident disguises expert, Templeton “Faceman” Peck is another famous Face you’ll probably hear about in your life. He is beloved by many, as I hope you will be, too.
So many wonderful Faces in the world!
Even Sting has been known as a Face—Ace Face, in his part in the 1979 movie version of the Who’s rock-opera, Quadrophenia. He was great (this was before he discovered smooth jazz and the pleasures of chauffeured Jaguars) and everybody loved him.
Your name would have been a huge hit in mid-60s London. “Face” was an important word in the mod scene that birthed the Faces and the Who. As Robert “Rob the London Mod” Nichols puts it at the Mod Generation website,
The terms “Face” and “Ticket” were part of the Mod lexicon. While “Mods” were any adherents to the style, a Face denoted a top Mod and a fashion setter, while Tickets, who were in the majority, were imitators of Faces and followers of trends.
You are destined to be a leader, Facebook Jamal Ibrahim.
The Who’s Pete Townsend has already immortalized you in song. Can you imagine how awesome your 16th birthday party will be when the DJ plays this song? I am jealous!
It should be a great party. Maybe you can find a coat to wear like the one Pete wears here:
I hope you dance like he does in that video. I hope you have a really great time. But don’t play the music too loud. Pete Townsend has terrible tinnitus, you know.