I would not call it a pet peeve, but I would call name-dropping a crime against humanity. I could be sitting down on a lovely couch with people and making many jokes or hearing many jokes, but I cannot always do this because name-droppers take control of the air to elevate their status with name-dropping. My ears can only hear what people decide to say in front of me, and sometimes they force me to hear what I did not consent to hear: how I need to think they are elevated in status because they know someone ELSE who is elevated in status.
There is a difference between someone being genuinely funny and another person name-dropping a comedian that they know. One of these people is funny, but the other is consumed in their social status.
Yeah, so maybe Shirley over here met Angelina Jolie. Because Angelina Jolie is a celebrity, she is clearly no longer a human and only radiates awesomeness. Because she radiates awesomeness, this awesomeness has now transferred over to Shirley. Everything awesome about Angelina Jolie, her success and all that jazz, is now to be attributed to Shirley because Shirley met her ONE TIME AND NO ONE CAN EVER FORGET IT. MEETING ANGELINA JOLIE ONE TIME HAS NOW TRANSFERRED ALL CELEBRITY STATUS TO SHIRLEY, SO ALL HAIL SHIRLEY. SHIRLEY NEEDS YOU TO KNOW BECAUSE SHIRLEY FEELS LIKE SHE HAS A SENSE OF CONTROL OVER OTHER PEOPLE WITH NAME-DROPPING.
This is the classic name-dropper (Shirley is not a real person, I made her up to not name-drop). The issue with name-droppers is that they tend to hit a nerve of humanity that no one should hit with such deception… that nerve is the tendency for people to be influenced by the people with whom they spend the most time and assuming an attitude of superiority for forming such groups. Although I am more likely to emulate the people that surround me, I do not actually become a carbon copy of another person due to DNA and the utter ridiculousness of such a notion. A person could spend time with Kim Kardashian and still never develop any of physical beauty characteristics. A person can spend time with Meryl Streep and never be as talented as her in acting. We spend time with other people that we tend to admire, but admiring them does not turn us into an imitation of that person.
Yet the real issue with name-dropping is that it is used to gain a sense of superiority over others and bullying.
When people establish and maintain exclusive clubs, sometimes they use that membership in order to name-drop and make whoever is listening and excluded feel inferior to them. This hurts the "outsiders" because it denies their potential to contribute the group. In fact, name-dropping is so obvious because nothing about this type of speech is used to inspire other people, emotionally support other people, or make the world a better place in any way. Name-dropping is BORING to listen to. The only reason that it is ever done is to either 1) establish credibility or 2) to establish social dominance. Although #1 is understandable, I despise #2.
Here is an example, let's use Shirley again:
Shirley: Oh, you're not a part of the Angelina Jolie fan club? We have special things and being together makes us important and since you're not a part of us… you're not important.
Shirley: Oh, the Angelina Jolie fan club is said to be VERY PRESTIGIOUS AND YOU'RE NOT A PART OF IT SO NOW YOU ARE LESS PRESTIGIOUS THAN US.
Name-dropping is also used to cover up for the fact that a person has not been productive at all. The use of name-dropping also denies the potential of everyone around. Instead of focusing on what people can do, the focus is on what people are willing to say in order to impress each other with their social status. Let's use Shirley again:
Shirley: Oh, instead of creating something all by myself, I will boast of the important people I know who actually create amazing things. It's almost like I created all these amazing things myself except I did not because I am too busy name-dropping.
Name-dropping is like a bottomless pit where victims of it forget that an elevated status does not actually maintain a high level of productivity—hard work does. When we get roped into name-dropping, we forget about what is important in our lives--actually developing amazing things, focusing on important relationships, and emotionally relating to one another. Name-dropping is not the type of speech that builds a community or infuses it with a sense of communal support. Name-dropping is not done with logic or reasoning: it does not require many cognitive skills to explain a list of names. Name-dropping is purely used by people for social dominance and to gain a sense of control over an audience. Although one counterargument could state that being around people who are productive will influence others to also be more productive, this is only a probability.
We do not need name-dropping since it focuses more on status than on continual action to do and be better people. Any kind of activity that stagnates good actions is not helpful.
We should judge people by their actions--not by what they are willing to say about who they know.
There is a difference between exhibiting the action to name-drop and exhibiting an action to create something amazing or to make the world a better place.
Let's drop the name-dropping.