Christopher's name change
- "Christopher" redirects here. For the troll named Christopher, see Asperchu.
At age ten, Christopher Weston Chandler changed his name to Christian Weston Chandler as a result of events in December 1992. His name was legally changed the following year. Given the significance Chris ascribes to his identity and his name, it's no wonder that he continues to consider this to be one of the most significant events of his life.
In 2016, Chris legally changed his name a second time to "Christine Weston Chandler". Two years later, he would say that his full name was Christine Weston Chandler Sonichu, but he did not file to add Sonichu to his name.
Chris credits his name change to "Leonard Bearstein", an animatronic bear in a musical program presented at shopping malls and other venues. The Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra is still in operation to this day, running shows in North Carolina, Virginia, and elsewhere during the Christmas season. The Leonard character is designed to be fully interactive and engage in conversations with the audience via a human operator behind the scenes. During a shopping trip to Richmond in 1992 (the date itself is a bit dubious, since Chris has wrongly adressed the date going back as far as 1989. Again), the Chandler family encountered the Bearstein show at the Regency Square shopping mall. Chris was evidently fascinated by the spectacle, and due to the light turnout that day, he received considerable attention from the interactive bear. The performer operating Leonard asked Chris his name, and misheard "Christopher" as "Christian." Chris and his family seem to attribute this error to the Leonard's English accent, rather than the fact that a mumbling kid was slurring to a man over a microphone built into a robotic bear. For reasons understood only by him, Chris adopted the new name and insisted upon being called by it.
On 29 December 1993, the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran a fluff piece on the incident. The story drew a connection between Chris's experience with the bear and his successes in finding an autism-friendly school and winning the Sonic the Hedgehog Watch & Win Sweepstakes, and reported the family's decision to begin the legal process to rename him. It also quoted Chris's father Bob as admitting that he had wanted to name his son "Christian" to begin with, but "was chicken" (although what he was afraid of remains unclear).
As even a cursory examination will reveal, Chris is fixated on his own name and events from his childhood. Thus an event which resulted in him having two names to obsess over is of supreme importance to him, even after almost twenty years. However, Chris routinely glosses over key details in the story – at times he will simply refer to "Christopher" or discuss being renamed by "a conducting Bear" as if no further context is required. For example, the trolls' first real insight into the event comes from this brief note in Chris's DVD slideshow:
|“||Before moving from Ruckersville to Richmond, in December of 1989, my family and I were watching the Regency Square Bear Band perform. When the Conductor asked me my name, I told him "Christopher", but apparently he was english, since he misunderstood me and called me "Christian". The name change settled in. Originally when I was born my father wanted to name me Christian, but he chickened out and named me Christopher.||”|
|Chris's note in his DVD Slideshow|
As seen here, even at age 25 Chris saw no need to explain why he would change his name at the behest of a total stranger, ursine or otherwise.
Chris's fixation on his identity came to the fore during the Liquid Saga, when he was confronted with an impostor of himself. In his struggle to affirm his uniqueness in the universe, Chris reluctantly conceded that Liquid might truly share the name "Christian Weston Chandler", but clung to the idea that he and he alone was born Christopher Weston Chandler and later became Christian Weston Chandler. (This, of course, missed the point that CChanSonichuCWC was not merely taking credit for Chris's accomplishments but was claiming to be the true and honest Christian, name change and all.) This became a recurring theme in Chris's videos at the time, as he would repeatedly cite his name change as something that the impostor could not possibly claim as his own.
Since Liquid and others were constantly accusing Chris of being an impostor named "Ian Brandon Anderson", Chris frequently asserted the authenticity of his name. However, the name change clouds the matter, and Chris could not even use a phrase like "my God-given name" without qualifiers:
|“||Call me by the real name that God and the bear has given me throughout my whole life.||”|
|Chris makes no sense, 6 August 2009|
Along with Chris's tendency to refer to God and Jesus in the same breath (or even the same word), this quote gave rise to the troll meme that Leonard Bearstein is an avatar of GodJesus, or perhaps GodBear.
Christopher as a separate personality
That Chris's preadolescence has a name unto itself seems to encourage Chris to treat "Christopher" as a former life. In his KCWC dedication special, Christian dedicated a song to Christopher and explained the distinction:
|“||Coming in at number five! It's a dedication to myself but also mainly to my pa-to my... to the one that was at my birth name: Christopher. Christopher Weston Chandler. Before the name change and all, he still lives in me in my one blue eye. And in my heart and soul. Cuz he is me, I am him.||”|
|Chris, 12 August 2009|
Shortly thereafter, Chris briefly tried to imply that Christian and Christopher were split personalities, going as far as faving anime porn videos on YouTube in the name of "Christopher". However, he quickly abandoned the act, and later admitted that he made the whole thing up. He also tried it on Kacey, but she didn't bite.
—Jenkins reports on the Chandler household, 27 July 2010
- Leonard Bearstein's website
- Leonard Bearstein has a Facebook FFS
- IT TOOK A TALKING BEAR TO GIVE THE NAME A YOUNG BOY LOVES
- Chris's Wikipedia profile#His Early Years - Birth to 1992
- Emily Date Conversation Transcript, 52:22
- Chris + Sarah's Life-Shares
- DVD Slideshow Transcripts
- CHRIS!!! CHANDLER!!!
- KCWC Top 10 Dedication Special#Part 4: #6 and #5
- File:Recent Activity.jpg
- Mailbag 4
- Kacey Call 6