The Right Title

Culturally, we love our labels. They help us create those eternal notions of us and them. They help others divide threatening social classes into groups that can be pitted against one another.


In editing Blanc Noir, I found plenty of connections to Nazis and fascism. While I did intend for this story to channel those elements within the antagonists, I’ve always felt the fascist button got pressed more than necessary. Blanc Noir is an anti-corporate tale, one I started writing years ago, one that echoes as much with the current Administration as it would with Clinton ideology.

However, I’ve found a way to make this work the way I always intended–or at least closer.

By using the titles Herr and Fraulein, I create a distinctly German sensibility. If I replaced those with INC and LLC, then the tone shifts. A glance will lead the reader to think corporation more than fascist.

Here’s an example:

Old Draft: Fraulein Margot Lauschted

New Draft: Margot Lauschted LLC

One seems like a person, perhaps an evil person. The other sounds like a small corporation, likely one that’s indifferent to the suffering of others.

All I did was change a word.

2 thoughts on “The Right Title

  1. Why does Fraulein even remotely sound evil? Its means Ms. Frau is Mrs. Herr is Mr. There is no dofference. To suggest an adsociation with those words and nazism does not lend credibility to what you’re saying.

    Also Fascism is not inherently corporate. It’s a complex ideology revolving around one group shutting down the speech and beliefs of another. Be careful where you cross the boundaries of fiction and blur lines with reality, or you may end up pushing more of the divisiveness we see in the world, rather than standing against it.

    1. Much of what I said in the original post was based on feedback I’ve gotten from the initial readings of the book. No, fascism is not inherently corporate, but there are some strong links under certain circumstances.

      Some of those who looked over the book in the past were given extra reason to see the antagonists as a resurrected Nazi Germany, even though that was not my intent. Removing the German titles is my effort to distance my story from this unintended response.

      Your last sentence is a profound statement of wisdom, one that every writer should consider more than they do. I know I will think about it a little more before editing again.

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