Christopher's name change

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"I am GodBear Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." Christopher fell facedown, and the Bear said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: No longer will you be called Christopher; your name will be Christian, for you will be the father of many towns nations."

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 in late 1993 or early 1994. 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".[1] 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.

Leonard Bearstein

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.[2][3] During a shopping trip to Richmond in late 1992, the Chandler family encountered the Bearstein show at the Regency Square shopping mall (now Regency 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 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. (While the name "Christian" was uncommon outside the UK until the late 80s, "Christopher" is a very common name on both sides of the Atlantic, and that's ignoring the fact that Bearstein could be faking his accent.) [4]

For reasons understood only by him, Chris adopted the new name and insisted upon being called by it.[5] 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".[4][6]

Chris has repeatedly misstated the date of the event as 1989, as has Bob, who said it took place when Chris was "seven or eight years old".[7]

Significance today

Who the hell is Christopher? Now you know.

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.[8] 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[9]

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:

Chris makes no sense, 6 August 2009[10]

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

We left Christopher over there with those people in Greene County.
Bob, 19 March 2009[11]
"Christopher" in action

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[12]

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".[13] However, he quickly abandoned the act, and later admitted that he made the whole thing up.[14] He also tried it on Kacey, but she didn't bite.[15]

Despite Chris's assertion that Christopher lives on in him, it would appear Christopher's spirit haunts the grounds at 14 Branchland Court, judging by the account of ace field agent JenkinsJinkies:

I went over to Chris's house with a flashlight that Night. I'm trekking through the daylilly garden aisles, searching for more bad I can do about the house. When suddenly, I hears a voice, "Hello". I look around and see nobody. I am Terrified. Then suddenly, I am fucking paralyzed; my ankles and wrists are pulled to my left and right, feeling like there were other people's hands holding them down on a floor, and I feel a pair of hands on my Neck too; strangling me, yet I can still breathe. Then the voice comes back, "Hello, Mr. Troll." It is the voice of a child, about 8 years old. I struggle to look around, yet I see nobody. I'm fuckin' shittin' my pants here. The voice continues, "Do not be afraid of me, like the teachers of the Elementary School were; they did not understand me and my mind. I want you to understand my mind..." Right after, I see a lot of strange images going through my mind. Including the images of an abusive babysitter called "Roache" locking me alone in a static room; a therapy session at James Madison University; the teachers, guidance counsoler and principal of Nathanel Greene Elementary School holding me down and taping my screams and more. I tried to scream, but Nothing came out; it was a Scream of Silence; I could not even utter a WORD in Normal Voice; Only Silence. [...] I have encountered the Spirits of Young Christopher Weston Chandler and Patti, protecting the Chandler Household. I warn you all right here and now, Stay Away from his house, and Patti's Grave.


—Jenkins reports on the Chandler household, 27 July 2010[16]


See also


External links

LeonardSaga.png Bearstein Saga LeonardSaga.png
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