Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 13th 2015 Contents A31
Monday, July 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Holy trademark, Batman!
Our own Caribbean pop
star Rihanna has got her-
self into a comic battle.
Rihanna wants to trade-
mark her birth name
Robyn but DC Comics
is having none of it.
In May, DC Comics
blocked the patent by filing a complaint in the US
Patent and Trademark Office.
The comic book franchise says the name Robin
with an "I" famously belongs to the Boy Wonder,
the best pal of Gotham s caped crusader Batman,
and will be too easily confused with Robyn with a
"Y." Robin is claiming seniority, having had the name
Rihanna s team wanted to use her name for an
online magazine but DC Comics, owned by Warner
Bros, says that would cause dilution by blurring or
tarnishing the mark. The complaint says the pub-
lication is likely to cause "confusion, mistake or
deceive the public."
Errr, seriously? Has anyone ever imagined Rihanna
in leotards with a billowing cape, thigh-high boots
and diamond-encrusted mask?
Only if you have a dominatrix fetish---and if that
is the case, as Batman said to Mr Freeze, "Give yourself
up. We can get help for you---medical help.
Is there any possibility of the tattooed Barbadian
singer being mistaken for a former circus acrobat
turned motorcycle-riding crime-fighter who will one
day have a really bad accident when that cape gets
caught in his exhaust pipe or on a spire of a tall
The Bat Signal has been activated, nonetheless,
and if you listen closely, you will hear a holler from
the Bat Cave: "Beyatch stole my name!
To her legions of fans who gobble up her
music, perfume and clothing brands, Rihanna
has super powers in her own right.
This is shaping up to be one expensive
legal battle of superstar versus superhero.
Patent and trademark lawyers say this is
the richest news since the European Courts
of Justice ruled last month that Nestle could not
trademark the distinctive four-finger shape of the
KitKat chocolate bar, much to the gooey delight of
Where and how will it end? Is Rihanna the ram-
bunctious robber of Robin s registration? Kapow!
Will Robin win or must Robyn rule?
Egads! Will the Joker play his hand in this avalanche
of appellation antagonism? Where is the Riddler in
Never one to shirk my role as an enquiring opin-
ionista, and being a close personal friend of Alfred
Pennyworth, I dialled the secret Bat Phone and asked
to speak to the Dynamic Duo. This is how the con-
Me: What a peck of pickled peppers you have
picked now, guys!
Boy Wonder: The way we get into these scrapes
and get out of them, it s almost as though someone
was dreaming up these situations, guiding our des-
Me: Someone is. You re a comic book character
who appeared in some movies.
Batman: I told you, Robin. It s not what you do,
it s who you are underneath, and the quality of paper
you are printed on, that defines you.
Boy Wonder: Holy strawberries, Batman, we re
in a jam!
Stay tuned. Same time, same place at wrenchel-
Your face can be your fortune or your
downfall---and it s not just a question of
beauty. Others may be unconsciously judg-
ing your features in ways you don t realise,
says David Robson.
Imagine you grew up with a non-identical
twin. You have the same upbringing, the same
IQ, the same education, the same interests.
Both of you are equally gregarious, equally
adventurous, equally interesting. You both
work out at the same gym, and eat the same
Spiritually and mentally, you are doppel-
gangers. There s just one small difference:
your faces. Maybe one of you has the kind
of wide-eyed, childlike features of a bush
baby. Maybe the other has stronger cheekbones
and a more rugged (some might say Nean-
Over the years, how do you think your lives
would play out? Would you follow the same
routes in life, or would the subtle differences
in your appearance help send you on alternative
Sadly, the answer is the latter. Within a
split-second of laying eyes on you, others will
have decided whether you are competent and
trustworthy; whether you are a leader or a
follower. And those prejudices might shape
key events in your life, determining everything
from your friendships to your bank balance.
"Although we like to think we make
decisions in a rational way, we are often
swayed by superficial cues," says
Christopher Olivola at Carnegie Mellon
University. "And appearances are a
particularly superficial, yet very
In the past, this "face-ism" (as
Olivola and his colleagues call it)
was considered an unfortunate fact
of life. But the more they come to
understand its pervasive influence,
the more they are beginning to
wonder if it should be treated like
any other prejudice. If so, it could
be time to take action.
Given our obsession with celebrity
culture, physical beauty may appear
the greatest source of face-ism. Begin-
ning as early as the 1990s, economist
Daniel Hamermesh has found that more
attractive people can earn 10 to 12 per cent
more---for professionals as diverse as American
football players, lawyers, and even his fellow
economists. "Which is a scary thought," he
says today. In fact, one of the only exceptions,
he found, was armed robbers. "If he can scare
you into giving you the money, he doesn t
need to use violence." Indeed, as BBC Future
has explored before, good looks aren t always
a golden ticket for the law-abiding, either. A
woman considered to be more beautiful, for
instance, may find it harder to get a top job
if the interviewers thought it undermined her
In any case, our preoccupation with beauty
may have caused us to neglect the many other
forms of facial prejudice, as Olivola s colleague
Alexander Todorov at Princeton University
found ten years ago. He asked participants to
look at photos of US politicians running for
Congress and Senate for just one second and
then to judge how "competent" they looked
on a numerical scale. Even when he took into
account other factors, such as age and attrac-
tiveness, the participants snap judgements
predicted who would win a seat with nearly
70 per cent accuracy. (BBC)
How your face
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