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Stupid name-calling

I hate my middle name.

I always have, and most likely always will. My legal signature uses my middle initial, and I rather like it that way.

Consequently, I've never much liked insulting people based on their given names. it's something that they have no control over; they were saddled with their names at birth (or, in some cases, came to them by marriage). We're not like the Indian tribes that let people choose their own names when they reach maturity; the name we're born with is the one that, barring a bit of legalistic wrangling, we'll die with.

Over the years, I've known (and known of) quite a few people who were saddled with awkward, funny, or odd names.

Here in New Hampshire, they've tended to gravitate towards politics. For several years, we were represented in Congress by Dick Swett. Another woman, given the first name of a grandfather, married a man who had that as his last name, and became "Dudley Dudley."

Our own senior senator, Judd Gregg, earned a bit of my contempt when, as governor, derided his political opponent John Hoar as "well-named."

In college, I met a couple of guys who were stuck with unfortunate last names. I had just been given the defintion of "felch" (go look it up if you must, but be warned that it's a truly disgusting sexual act) when I met a guy who was named that. And I always thought that introductions for Jeff Virgin could have been very awkward. "Hi, I'm a Virgin. This is my sister, she's a Virgin too. My mother wasn't a Virgin until she married my father..."

Different people have different ways of dealing with it. Some ignore it, some resent it, some embrace it. I met a Malcolm Forbes who revelled in his famous namesake. And I met a "Sandy Shore" -- I'm sorry, "Sandy C. Shore" -- who had little beach dioramas all around her workspace.

But if you're going to mock someone, for heaven's sake make it over something they have some control over.

That's why I was surprised to see that people are making a big deal about Barack Hussein Obama's rather ill-fated middle name. (Ironically, the most frequent mentioners of that fact have been some of the more persistent trolls here at Wizbang. I haven't seen very many stresses of his name outside of the Left, who seem to see it being bandied around as a "smear" all over the place.)

So the junior senator from Illinois (and president-wannabe) has a middle name that, most recently, was associated with a genocidal tyrant. Big whoop.

I read a story once that back during World War II, a sergeant in the US Army happened to have the last name "Hitler." When asked if he intended to change his name, he reportedly answered "let that other guy change it first!"

Here in New Hampshire, we tend to have a lot of city and town names that we "borrowed" from other places. During World War II, a couple of those communities found themselves feeling a bit awkward. Fortunately, a minor shift in pronunciation was all it took, and to this day we have Milan ("MY-lun") and Berlin ("BURR-lin"). We also have Hebron (HEBE-run), Canaan ("CANE-un"), and Lebanon ("LEB-ah-nun"), but that just might be our New England accents showing.

"Hussein" is a fairly common name in the Arab world. It apparently means "good" or "handsome." Jordan had a king named Hussein. (It's part of the reason I tend to refer to the former dictator of Iraq as "Saddam." When I was growing up, there were two countries led by "Husseins," and it was a shorthand way of distinguishing them.) That one particular man named "Hussein" (and, remember, he didn't choose the name) was such a monster says absolutely nothing about the name itself.

If you want to mock or insult Senator Barack Hussein Obama, go right ahead. Personally, I think he might be a decent presidential candidate at some point in the future, but for right now he's running on nothing more than charisma. He's an "empty suit" with an utterly unremarkable resume and absolutely no firm convictions or accomplishments that make him, to me, worthy of holding the highest office in the land. Further, I think that history has shown us that the American people, when given a choice, prefer a candidate with some sort of executive experience over one with a legislative background (1960 notwithstanding).

But to attack him over his NAME? That's beyond juvenile, it's just plain stupid.


Comments (30)

I don't know. I think Obam... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I don't know. I think Obama would rather people attack him over his name than over his positions or credentials (or lack thereof).

I mean people have known about his name for over 2 years and all of a sudden it gets attention?

Then there's the cocaine use controversy which really came from Obama himself.

Early campaign balloons to see if these items are issues? Attempts to get them out early and let the controversy diffuse? Or a third option.

Bill Clinton thrived on minor controversy. He got free time after the Superbowl during the Primary races on the back of Jennifer Flowers (figuratively and literally). It helped him more than hurt him. What good leftie hasn't derailed a serious discussion of Clinton Administration inaction or abuse by throwing 'blow job' in the discussion to derail it?

Idk. The whole Hussein thing has made Barack look like a victim and generated much intellectual and emotional sympathy for him. It makes all his detractors (even those having nothing to do with it) look like racists. If you stand back and look at it, its one of those attacks that has probably helped Obama. If anything, we're not talking about his lack of experience or his political positions, are we?

Jay:There you go a... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

There you go again. You just can't help yourself again. You write a pretty thoughtful piece for the most part and then you just make a patently false statement:

"That's why I was surprised to see that people are making a big deal about Barack Hussein Obama's rather ill-fated middle name. (Ironically, the most frequent mentioners of that fact have been some of the more persistent trolls here at Wizbang. I haven't seen very many stresses of his name outside of the Left, who seem to see it being bandied around as a "smear" all over the place.)"

Where in the name of all that is holy did you come up with that?
Read the posts here jay. Good grief. Read what scrapiron and his pals post about Obama, including the emphasis on his middle name or a reference to OBL.

I started to like Senator O... (Below threshold)
sanssoucy:

I started to like Senator Obama the moment I found out he smokes.

SS

"Why should I change my nam... (Below threshold)
snurfle:

"Why should I change my name? HE'S the one that sucks!"

Michael Bolton

Ditto on your remarks, Hugh... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Ditto on your remarks, Hugh.

This is the only "conservative" site I see regularly and it is commonplace here to see the cadre of Wizintellects, like Scrapiron and several others, try to use Obama's name as a slur.

Hugh, I read the posts. Hel... (Below threshold)

Hugh, I read the posts. Hell, I WRITE the posts.

Your complaint is with the COMMENTS.

If your continued presence isn't proof positive of how little I meddle with comments and commenters, I don't know what is.

J.

Ding!... (Below threshold)
epador:

Ding!

Jay...nice effort to bury t... (Below threshold)
markm:

Jay...nice effort to bury the real issue at hand. It almost worked. Unless I missed it, you didn't mention your middle name!!. OUT WITH IT!!!!.

Oh, and from this day forwa... (Below threshold)
markm:

Oh, and from this day forward, that man formerly known as Jay Tea shall be here forth known as Felch Tea.....

Excellent post, Jay. I'm be... (Below threshold)

Excellent post, Jay. I'm been thinking similar name-related thoughts for quite a while. (No wonder I think it's an excellent post.)

Jay:I stand correc... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

I stand corrected about not correctly using the term comment. Too bad you don't have the intellectual honesty to correct what I pointed out was patently wrong in your POST. In case you don't remember your assertion about COMMENTS and "trolls."

Why you feel the need to threaten me is beyond me unless you don't have the balls to admit your error.

H

H

For me, it's not just names... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

For me, it's not just names. I get disheartened whenever I read attacks on those attributes which have no bearing on a person's opinions or positions. Case in point: Michael Moore. He's fat. Isn't that funny? Isn't is just like a fat guy to be loathsome and wrong? The man's weight has nothing to do with his odious politics, which are quite easily attacked on their own lack of merit. Ditto Rosie O'Donnel. Sure, she's no Scarlett Johansen, but what does that have to do with her opinion about anything?

Jay attempts to slice the b... (Below threshold)
John:

Jay attempts to slice the baloney thinly with this distinction regarding Obama middle name calling;

Hugh, I read the posts. Hell, I WRITE the posts.

Your complaint is with the COMMENTS.

To which I would reply, go to the Wizbang Bombsquad section, and look at the POSTS from folks like John Lillpop who consistently make an issue out of it.

It is a sign of the times t... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

It is a sign of the times that we attack someone because of their name, their appearance, or like Rosie or Ken Melhman their sexual orientation.
To directly challenge them on their politics requires too much effort. Great Post Jay...
...and John..Jay is not responsible for what folks post here..this is probably the most tolerant places I visit..we give a shot we take a shot..and every once in awhile there is a topic such as this where it is so reasonable..to argue against it it is well...I have read rude abusive words from all sides...

Jay, did you miss the whole... (Below threshold)

Jay, did you miss the whole 'Felix' thing? The Hussein thing only got going after the '06 elections and the parading about of a certain (now ex-)senator's middle name. It's just payback, plain, simple, stupid payback. Sure, it feels good at first, but then you should let it drop or you* wind up looking quite as petty as the Washington Post and their Felix fetish.

*meaning not you, Jay, but the Republicans still harping about his middle name instead of his painfully liberal voting record and how he's never really been in charge of anything except a law review journal.

Almost as stupid as using a... (Below threshold)

Almost as stupid as using a opponents' divorce records to float unsubstantiated claims made by the soon-to-be-ex-wife to smear that opponent...

Oh... wait...

Two auto-biographies, two years in the Senate and the guy didn't even win his last election.

yeah... Dumbo deserves civility.

Oh wait... Ear jokes are 'stupid' too right?

;)

Well said, Nogo.... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

Well said, Nogo.

Laugh it off! Rub some dir... (Below threshold)

Laugh it off! Rub some dirt on it!

America is a humor- and fun-loving place! Our funnies run the gamut and defy the envelope. No one or no thing is exempt from the American joke.

Want to be a permanent part of the laughscape? Declare yourself too sacred, too victimized, too challenged, too privileged, too perfect, too pitiful to be the source of humor!

I've read that: "Tragedy plus time equals humor." It's a tragedy that democracy and individual freedom is at war with islamist. It's coincidental that B. Hussein Obama shares a name with Sadaam, or that his name has been confused with OBL, or he resembles Borat with a shave. It's a cause of concern, for the potential for tragedy, that a man who wants to hold America's highest office spent his formative years with muslims in a country not known for love of America (the idea) or Americans (the infidels). It's a tragedy that cartoons of Muhammed can lead to "offended" followers rioting and killing each other, destroying property, and creating submission by terror and threat. It's a tragedy that islam is a belief-system that fills non-muslim Americans with distrust, fear, suspicion, and anger at the sight of muslims in public places. It's a tragedy that Americans must suffer the multi-cultural, equality-of-belief-systems, political-correctness of emotion driven peaceniks who "don't believe in war". Tragedy. Tragedy everywhere. Tragegy all the time.

So, then, we make fun, pursue happiness, try to hold on to our lives and to live free in the presence of so much tragedy in so little time.

Now, Barak "Borat" "Osama bin Laden" Hussein So-damma Jamma Obama, this will all be funny someday. Not funny like "Team America", or the stories told by American warriors around the home hearth, but we will need to laugh, to heal.

And did I mention that a "cupcake" in an "empty suit" is just the image many Americans desire for our nation? That's not funny, it's tragic.

I'm a "Jr." That's the wor... (Below threshold)
blackcat77:

I'm a "Jr." That's the worst name of all since it is a deliberate attempt to deny a child his own identity from day one.

Jay channleling Barry Manio... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay channleling Barry Maniow, wrote:
"Hugh, I read the posts. Hell, I WRITE the posts."
"Your complaint is with the COMMENTS.

Hugh replied:
"To which I would reply, go to the Wizbang Bombsquad section, and look at the POSTS from folks like John Lillpop who consistently make an issue out of it."

How about here on Wizbang Politics:

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. has officially announced the formation of his campaign committee for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Or here, on Wizbang Politics:

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. may announce his candidacy on Oprah Winfrey's show Wednesday,...

Or here on Wizbang Politics:

Widely mentioned: Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, Sen. Chris Dodd of CT, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., Gov. Bill Richardson of NM.

Or here on Wizbang Politics:

Barack Hussein Obama: Oops, another episode

All posts, all written by Wizbang bloggers. Congrats on one of your your more laughable attempts, Jay, to spin the truth into conservative lies and deceit.

Lee, here's your own "spin.... (Below threshold)

Lee, here's your own "spin."

From the main page:

Section Editor: Jay Tea

From Wizbang Politics:

Section Editors: Alexander McClure, Lorie Byrd

Perhaps you ought to take it up with those worthies.

Actually, on closer examination, all were written by ONE blogger, Jim Addison. If I had the slightest bit of involvement with Wizbang Politics, I might drop him a polite note on the matter, but I have more than enough on my plate with this section.

Since you seem so concerned with it, Lee, perhaps you ought to take it up with Jim yourself -- or Alexander or Lorie, if you don't get satisfaction.

J.

Thanks for admitting that y... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Thanks for admitting that you were wrong, Jay, and that Wizbang bloggers are in fact using Obama's middle name in a childish stupid attempt to bias voters against him.

I am somewhat surprised that you would feel strong enough about the name-calling that you'd write a post about it, but when presented with evidence that your own blog colleagues are guilty of this (your word) "stupidity" you choose to do nothing about it.

Instead you wrote: "If I had the slightest bit of involvement with Wizbang Politics, I might drop him a polite note on the matter, but I have more than enough on my plate with this section. Since you seem so concerned with it, Lee, perhaps you ought to take it up with Jim yourself -- or Alexander or Lorie, if you don't get satisfaction."

I"m not involved with Wizbang Politics either, Jay -- you are certainly more closely associated with Addison than I am... and yet you suggest it is my place to complain?

You wrote the post condemning name-calling, but presented with evidence that our own fellow Wizbang blogger is guilty of the practice you choose to do nothing. Your hypocrisy is noted.

Personally I think Addison's practice just makes him look like a moron, and I'm perfectly happy with letting moronic conservative bloggers appear as they truly are.

It is not the name which ma... (Below threshold)

It is not the name which makes the influence, it is the action which one does.

I did not realize that Jim'... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I did not realize that Jim's inclusion of Obama's middle name, along with "Jr.," was an attack on him. I frankly had not even thought about it one way or another, especially in the post about him announcing where his full name, Jr. and all, was used. I guess I am not sensitive enough.

I always think of the "Osama Obama" comment that Ted Kennedy made when I give any thought at all to Obama's name.

To add to Jay's examples, my husband's father wanted to name him Jay or Blue. Thankfully his Mom named him instead.

When my daughters' birth announcements appeared in my hometown paper, the headings read "Baby Byrd."

One of my daughters had a little boy in her class named Benjamin Franklin.

You wrote the post conde... (Below threshold)

You wrote the post condemning name-calling, but presented with evidence that our own fellow Wizbang blogger is guilty of the practice you choose to do nothing. Your hypocrisy is noted.

So, it's Jay Tea's job to police the entire site for name-calling now?

Point to me where Jay Tea said that no conservative anywhere has ever pointed out that Obama's middle name is 'Hussein'.

Then, perhaps, you can call him a hypocrite.

Once again, called out.... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Once again, called out.

"I did not realize that ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"I did not realize that Jim's inclusion of Obama's middle name, along with "Jr.," was an attack on him. I frankly had not even thought about it one way or another, especially in the post about him announcing where his full name, Jr. and all, was used. I guess I am not sensitive enough."

Or just not honest enough. This cite of Jim's stupid, childish antics repeated below illustrates:

Widely mentioned: Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, Sen. Chris Dodd of CT, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., Gov. Bill Richardson of NM.

How many middle names did Addison use in this list of candidates? Only Obama's and the use of Obama's alone clearly illustrates that Addison is did so for an intended effect.

So we now have two Wizbang bloggers on record condoning this "stupid" practice, and both are Wizbang section editors.

Perhaps Jay's post is just another "stupid" effort to remind voters of Obama's middle name, since his apparent concern over this "stupid" practice is limited to calling commenters trolls for making fun of it.

Hey Lee, your apoplexy over... (Below threshold)

Hey Lee, your apoplexy over this is just proving Jay Tea's point, that it is mostly - mostly - the leftists that are getting all exercised about Obama's middle name.

I think Jay Tea wins this one.

Widely mentioned: Sen. J... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Widely mentioned: Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, Sen. Chris Dodd of CT, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., Gov. Bill Richardson of NM.

That's Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., Jim, you twerp. Consistency, apparently, is a hobgoblin your little mind lacks.

And for those who want to hold Jay responsible for not pointing out the childishness of the whole Obama middle name trend, did you not notice that he wrote this post? It's not his fault what some other idiot writes.

I really like odd names. Tw... (Below threshold)
Gary MC:

I really like odd names. Two I recall, and have biz cards to back up the claims are: (drum roll please)

Jack Koff, from Federal Signal Corp. (yes he hammed it up.) and a personal friend who owned a stereo store in Northampton MA named Richard Moulding. He went by Dick, and introduced himself as... "I'm Dick Moulding, that new VD you've heard
so much about!"




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