Who such John Dow or Why Chinese not always should take offense at associative jokes?
Somehow during informal acquaintance one companion from the Southern China was presented to me:
- Is very pleasant, John Ma.
Having remembered that John - the most widespread English name, and the surname of Ma is carried by millions of Chinese, I burst out laughing:
- John Dow, huh?
But my joke, was misunderstood. The Chinese companion with insult began to blink and once again persistently repeated: there is no
- - John Ma.
I had to settle hastily an intense situation, to explain flash of inappropriate fun and to assure the Chinese companion of the sincere respect. Well, who could think that the person who named himself John will appear not ready to parry so obvious associative jokes connected with a popular English name?
And the situation is so. John Dow (John Doe) is a so-and-so which is officially appropriated by lawyers of many English-speaking countries to the fictitious persons or persons participating in trials incognito. As a rule, to claimants. Anonymous defendants most often call Richardami Rowe (Richard Roe). It was so moved since the time of the English king Edward III (1312 - 1377) when for the first time in the face of the law appeared rather fictional, than real Dow and Rowe (the deceived lessor and the cheat - the tenant, cunning the owner`s survivor - the land owner from his own earth).
Today Dow`s assembly is considerably expanded by lawyers. The fictitious or female anonymous claimant receives an equivalent name of Jane Dou (Jane Doe). If a certain child is involved in case, it is named Baby Dow (Baby Doe). If it is not about one person, and at once about several, then in judicial episodes there are new acting characters with the surname mentioned above - James Dow (James Doe) or Judee Dow (Judy Doe) and other Dow with names on “ D “.
Similar practice got accustomed not only in law. John and Jane Dow actively uses designations police for entering into protocols of data on unknown persons (criminals or the victims). By analogy also the medics calling Dow of the patients who arrived on treatment whose personality is not identified arrive. By the way, quite often this feature police and medical systems is used also by cinematographers.
For example, in Steven Seagal`s fighter “ Death contrary to. Nicko - 2 “ (The Hard to Kill) the hero - the cop who felled into a coma lay several years in hospital under the name of John Dow. Thus, the police department provided absolute anonymity to the employee working under cover.
In the cult movie “ Seven “ (The Se7en), in that where leading roles were played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, the serial murderer (performed by Kevin Spacey) was called as Johnathan Dow (in the reduced option - the same John Dow). And in a detective story “ Counting of murders “ (The Murder by Numbers) the main character of Sandra Ballok investigating case uses a pseudonym John Dow for identification of the victim of a crime.
In Norway there is a band with the name “ Johndoe “ and in the USA - the group which took the female name “ Jane Doe “. Red Hot Chili Peppers in the song “ Midnight “ (The Midnight) address Dow`s subject more than once. And in repertoire of the groups playing hard rock, the name of Dow meets more often than anywhere still. By the way, musicians quite often take scenic John Doe or J. Doe names.
Journalists wish to use too a popular fictitious nickname when it is necessary to conceal real names - the reporter, a source of information or the stateyny person involved. Or, if there is a need, to screw in text material a certain fictional character. Besides, Dzhonami Dow in English-speaking mass media can be designated insignificant “ street “ persons - passersby, gapers and other (for example: “ … at the time of a robbery there was certain John Dow who reported in police the accident “) . However Dow from mass meeting of a press is more often such John Cue Cityzen (John Q Citizen) or John Cue calls the Public (John Q Public).
It is interesting that practically in all countries and on all continents the meet Jonah Dow. In Russian-speaking space, for example, it is Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich, Petrov, Sidorov and Vasya Pupkin who appeared relatively recently. In Sweden - the mister and Frau Svensson (Herr/Frau Svensson), in Switzerland - the mister and Frau Shveyzer (Herr/Frau Schweizer), in Poland - Jan Novak (Jan Novak) and Jan Kovalski (Jan Kowalski), in Norway - Ol and Carry Nordman (Ola Nordmann, Kari Nordmaan), in Lithuania - Vardenis Pavardenis (Vardenis Pavardenis), Joonas Yonaitis (Jonas Jonaitis), in Latvia - Yannis Berzins (Janis Berzins), in Australia - Fred Nerk (Fred Nerk) and Joe Blou (Joe Blow), Simon McCool (Simon McCool) and so on.
And here in China the most widespread the so-and-so is Wu Minsha (Wu Mingshi) that in a literal translation designates “ There is no Name “. Not too conformably with John Dow, huh? Therefore - that the Chinese companion Ma with the English pseudo-name John also did not understand first sense of my associative joke. Here if he was called John Wu (John Wu) - the additional occasion to have fun … Postoyte`s
- would be! And there are in Hollywood a cult director and the ethnic South Chinese with a name John Wu (known at us on the tapes “ Mission is impracticable - 2 “ “ Speaking with the " wind; “ Without the person “ “ The Broken arrow “ “ Hostage “ etc.). However, in the English transcription the name of the star director is written in a different way: John Woo. So mysterious John Dow here hardly laid the ubiquitous hand.