Okay, first I have to thank all of you. I really didn't expect this many responses or the amount of time or effort some of you put into coming up with suggestions.
I'm an artist, not a scientist or a journalist. I'm not going to pretend I have a rigorous plan; I'm making this up as I go. I don't know where the questions will lead me. I don't even really know what the questions I'm asking are. So yes, questions started to burble up as the list started to grow. People name their children, pets and ships. I asked my farmer friends if they name the animals they eat. Some of them answered on the project's Facebook page. They offered lovely, eloquent answers about why and how they name their animals. Some people advised you don't name the animals you eat.
Why do some names have the power of personification while others objectify? I want to give this little piggy a name that feels like a real name. I want to acknowledge this piggy's life.
How do we choose names for our children and pets? Children are often named for other family members, ancestors. I must admit that I have a naming bias. Both of my cats had human names. The first was named after a Jazz singer I admired. The second was given an old-fashioned name that had an obscure allusion that was important to me. This name happened to be shared by the woman who worked for and was the cause of much confusion at the work place. But when I was alone with the cats, I addressed my cats by nicknames that had no relation to their given names. (I am willing to whisper these names to you over a snifter or two of Armagnac.)
I'll decide in the morning what method to use to winnow the names down meanwhile, here are six more names. The rest of the names can be seen here.
Six More Names
Selavy — As in Rrose Selavy, a pseudonym of Marcel Duchamp. Probably a pun on "Eros, c'est la vie" or in English "Cupid, that's life."
Rooter Pequenino — Rooter is the key character in a book who goes from living being to hero tree in his third life. Their protagonists in this book are of Portuguese decent. While not quite Basque pretty close. better Jai Ali a sport I cannot spell.
EUBOULEUS — EUBOULEUS (or Eubulus) was the demi-god or hero of the sacred swine of the Eleusinian mysteries. He was probably also a demi-god of ploughing and the planting of the grain seed. His name was probably associated with the word bôlos, a clod of earth, and bôlostropheô, to turn up clods in ploughing. A more natural reading of the name, however, is "the good-counsellor" after the Greek euboulos.
Cenicero — Cenicero is a municipality in the autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain. The municipality is the home of the world famous "Bodegas Berberana" winery, which lies close to the River Ebro. (It also means 'ashtray')
Darrieussecq — To help you name your pig, I thought I would find a list of famous Basque women, then send you a masculine version of one that stood out as appropriate.
It would have been better if I had a running list of famous Basque women, but since I don't (yet) I made it a two-minute challenge. Here's what happened: The lists of famous Basque people didn't have so many women. The one name that jumped out at me? Well, she just happens to be writer and critic from Basque Country who's first novel is called "Pig Tales." I hate to quote Wiki but can't resist: As one critic ... observed, in reading this novel, "One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.” — wikipedia
To properly recommend the name Darriessecq, I'd need to read the novels. And I will. Whatever you decide to name this pig, thanks for this. I'm absolutely going to read Marie Darrieussecq's Pig Tales. What an amazing find. Let me know if you want to do a book club. You'll be in charge of the food.