Monday, December 26, 2011

Is Tammet a good name for an imposter?

According to his own account, Daniel Tammet changed his original surname of Corney to Tammet because he did not like his original surname while he did like the surname Tammet, which apparently has a meaning in Estonian that Daniel liked. I find it interesting that the surname "Tammet" is a name that was once assumed by an Estonian man who liked to change his name and make improbable claims. I've got to wonder, had Daniel been reading about impostors around the time that he chose his new surname?

Wikipedia contributors (accessed 2011) Alexei Tammet-Romanov. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Impostor Pretenders. General Books LLC, 2010.


Anonymous said...

Actually, tammet is a quite common surname in Estonia.
It means oak (tamm) in estonian.

Lili Marlene said...

But the name would have been quite a novelty in Ashford, Kent.

Anonymous said...

According to Daniel himself Tammet is Finnish.

Lili Marlene said...

Where did you read that, Anon?

Anonymous said...

Now this is interesting...

There is indeed some more evidence that Mr Corney had an interest in impostors, and more specifically impostors to the Romanov dynasty.

Hidden away in a corner of the internet I found a blog comment apparently by Corney's childhood friend Rehan Qayoom, saying:

"Anna Anderson!....a school friend of mine was obsessed with her. He used to have these phases, she was one. As were ABBA or The carpenters. His name was Daniel Tammet (née Corney). Couldn't find her or recall her name for the life of me. He used to believe that Anna Anderson was the Princess Anastasia, most probably still does."

So Tammet apparently had a very strong interest in Anna Anderson, who like Alexei Tammet-Romanov was an impostor pretender to the Romanov dynasty. Given this, I wonder if Daniel Tammet really randomly chose the name Tammet because it sounded nice.

The same goes for his alias that he used for his psychic readings, of "Daniel Andersson" (very similar to Anna Anderson's name, with a slight change of spelling).

Mr Anon

Lili Marlene said...

Mr Anon, Did you ppost your other comment under the wrong post? Would you like me to copy it to here?

Lili Marlene said...

That info about Anna Anderson is amazing! Perhaps the interest in her started because it looks like a name from ABBA, another of his youthful interests, but how interesting that Tammet once had a youthful interest in a Romanov imposter and later in adulthood took the name of a male one.

I find it very easy to imagine a gay, intelligent and quite feminine youth from a fairly deprived background becoming fascinated with the idea of taking on a wealthy, mysterious, famous and romantic persona, aspiring to a more glamorous and secure life, and feeling that he has the acting talent and the wit to take on that role. By a strange quirk of fate I've known a lot of gay men in my life, and such ideas are not just empty stereotypes. For many lower-class gay youth, their background is a world to be escaped from.

If we are to take this snippet of information seriously, we are obliged to take Mr Qayoom seriously as a source of information, within reason. I recall that he doesn't dispute the idea that Tammet was an outsider as a child, but has in the past disputed the idea that young outsiders are necessarily autistic. I have a clue where this discussion happened, but it is likely that it wasn't archived.

Of course, being a child who is gay, a bit feminine and smart would be enough to set you apart socially in may places.

Anonymous said...

I'd missed that Daniel Tammet's second book, Embracing the Wide Sky, has a whole section on Anna Anderson. It gives her as an example of false memory - "where a person remembers events from his life - sometimes in vivid detail and with considerable emotion - which he never experienced."


Lili Marlene said...

Golly Gosh, I'd missed it too, because I never read the whole book, even though I bought it years ago. I find it hard to maintain the motivation to read a book thru if I do not have complete confidence in it.

I find it interesting that Tammet's account of her life seems consistent with the facts, but the way he wrote it she comes across as more of a character that one can feel sympathetic toward, compared with the Wikipedia's account of her life, which all but ignores the tragic accident that probably caused her mental issues. Tammet has done a top job of un-demonizing an imposter. It is an interesting story for sure. I'll bet her Russian-sounding accent in German was a case of foreign accent syndrome. No joke, it is a real and interesting thing.

This makes Rehan Qayoom's info seem less like a revealation, and it certainly could be argued that Tammet has not tried to conceal things about his past, such as an interest in impostors, which could make him look suspect. I would disagree, because I believe, based on the evidence, he has lied about his ability to recognize faces and has deliberately under-performed when given a third-rate face recognition test by Baron-Cohen et al. He has also many times misrepresented his lifestyle during the period of his life leading up to the publication of his first book, claiming he was some kind of hermit while he was competing in the WMC. I also think him having synaesthesia and Asperger syndrome is a crock of crap, but that is hard to prove. He will never do The Synesthesia Battery and allow his score to be accurately reported.

Lili Marlene said...

Thanks for the tip, Tomas!