The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, and the government aims to keep it that way by prohibiting the exotic. By statute, names too unique and distracting are forbidden. As a fig leaf, the legislation poses as the guardian of the individual by adding: “any name that makes a person the object of ridicule.” Clearly, though, the goal is to replace branding with blanding.
Darling Velez, a Colombian immigrant to Spain, has just had her citizenship approved, providing she modify her first name from the familial to the familiar. “Sorry, darling,” the official explained. “I can’t call you Darling, darling. It would subject you to being the object of ridicule.” “But Darling is so darling, darling,” Darling complained. “And I don’t object to the subject.” Her plea was rejected, making her dejected. So outraged is she that she threatens to take a Basque name to make her point.
This should give us an inkling how opposed European socialist thinking is to our political culture. From our red-state rednecks to our blue-state bluebloods, from our outright righties to our left-out lefties, we treasure the right to festoon our progeny with garish tags. O. Henry’s yellow dog griped that his name, Lovey, was a “nomenclatural tin can on the tail of one’s self-respect,” and perhaps we should better seek other media to bespeak our idiosyncrasies. But to cede to the government the right to confine our in-house nomination process? To boil it down to a plain-vanilla approved list? No way; here is a rare patch of common ground for Dinesh D’Souza and Moonbeam Zappa.
“What’s in a name?” you might ask the barred. After all, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet: “Oh, honey, a dozen yellow methanes. Really, you didn’t have to. Ooh, they smell heavenly!”
On the other hand, the Talmud tells how Rabbi Meir avoided depositing his money in the local bank because the owner’s name was Rob (or the Aramaic equivalent). When the man later absconded with the kitty, only the rabbi was left sitting pretty. The recent best-seller, Freakonomics, showed that certain names predict success, with the most powerful being the Hebrew name Dov (meaning bear). And when my neighbor was reminiscing how Ray Strack used to beat him up for his lunch money as a kid, I burst out laughing: “I guess we all lose money to the racetrack.”p>Names do shape us in various ways. In the song “Goodbye Norma Jean,” written by Bernie Taupin and performed by Elton John, the title makes the point that the homey Norma Jean is first subsumed, then consumed, by the worldly Marilyn Monroe. br> /p> blockquote> em>They crawled out of the woodwork br> And they whispered into your brain br> They set you on a treadmill br> And they made you change your name. /em> /blockquote>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?