The Mynope FAQ

Q. What is a mynope?
A. A mynope, in a work of fiction, is a character name that was obviously chosen in order to fit the title of the work.

Q. I’m a professor of literature, and I’ve never heard the term “mynope.” Why not?
A. I made it up quite recently.

Q. Why “mynope”?
A. “Mynope” is “eponym” spelled backwards.

Q. Guh?
A. I thought you said you were a profess—oh, whatever. An eponym is a proper name from which the name of something (a thing, place, work, etc.) has been derived. So a mynope is sort of an eponym in reverse: a proper name that has been derived from something else—in this case, a movie title.

Q. Did you get that from this discussion thread?
A. No, we seem to have come up with it independently. Honestly. Anyway, that person doesn’t have quite the same meaning in mind...

Q. How do you pronounce it?
A. I don’t.

Q. Fine, how should I pronounce it?
A. “MY-noh-pee.”

Q. That makes it sound Greek.
A. Yeah, that’s what we’re going for.

Q. What is the adjectival form?
A. Mynopic. Rhymes with “myopic.”

Q. Any other stupid neologisms to report?
A. Not at this time.

Q. So any character name that’s used in a title is a mynope?
A. Not at all. A name can appear as such in a title without attracting this site’s attention, and a great many do. Erin Brockovich, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, and My Cousin Vinny are perfectly respectable titles with which we have no quarrel. To constitute a mynope, the name has to appear in the title as, or as part of, or as a play on, a word that relates to the story, premise, or theme. So The Sopranos is mynope-free, even though “soprano” is a word. But if the show were about a family of opera singers, it would be mynopic (and would probably have been cancelled by now, which is not entirely beside the point). Similarly, Anthony Edwards plays Theophilus North in Mr. North, but nothing about the title or the storyline involves “North” as a compass direction. Hence, no mynope. If the character spent the whole movie telling everyone to go to Alaska, though...

Q. OK, it’s starting to make sense.
A. Good.

Q. What inspired you to create this site?
A. The existence of the movie Poetic Justice. Come on. Her name is Justice, and she is a poet? Somebody had to take a stand.

Q. Poetic Justice came out twelve years ago.
A. I’ve been busy.

Q. Hey, almost all of these movies and TV shows are either deeply mediocre or outright awful. Why?
A. Well, there are a few exceptions. But for the most part, people who make good movies and shows don’t need to fall back on gimmicky titles. In Full Metal Jacket, Matthew Modine does not portray Marine recruit Jeffrey Jacket. Six Feet Under does not deal with the tribulations of Ruth Foot and her five children. So while the presence of a mynope doesn’t necessarily entail a crapfest, it pretty strongly implies one.

Q. Ooh! Ooh! I’ve got one that’s not in there!
A. Great! Please send it to mynope [AT] staggernation [DOT] com.
If it’s suitable, I’ll add it to the site and you will be duly credited, unless you prefer not to be.

Q. What about mynopes that occur in fiction? You know, books?
A. Sure. But there’s no IMDb for books (Amazon doesn’t index character names), so it’s not easy to hunt them down. If you point some out, though, I’ll be happy to add them.

The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

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