Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
What's in a Name?
Donald Trump's grandfather, Frederick
"What’s in a name?” Juliet asks. “That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.” Well let’s take Trump. Trump of course
sounds like Trump card. To trump is to beat or trumpet which is to
herald. Everything about Trump conjures the notion of overpowering. A three no
trump bid in bridge, beats three spades, three diamonds or three clubs. You
don’t monkey around with a name like Trump and Trumps don’t march to the beat
of a different drummer. They’re majorettes. Donald’s grandfather Frederick
immigrated from Germany and the name exudes an earthy almost Anglo-Saxon feel
compared to Clinton which has English overtones, Cruz, which is
Hispanic and Kasich which is Czech.Sanders is another ball of wax. When you thinking of Sanders your mind
goes to The Larry Sanders Show which starred the recently deceased standup
comedian Gary Shandling. Bernie may have had to live down his initials BS but
when you hear the Brooklyn accent and the urgency of which infects literally
every sentence of his speech, you think of other standup of a similar vintage like Larry David. Will Sanders end up
being the Larry David of politics, that is to say a big hit, but not as big
as Seinfeld, the comedian with whom he was once associated? Lest Ted
Cruz be given short shrift it can definitely be said that the name Ted Cruz
does not conjure images of J. Crew, whose metrosexual style is a trifle too New
York for someone who is unlikely to wear a rust colored belt. And what about those
other names. When you hear Kennedy you're most likely to think “dead,” like the punk rock group (Dead Kennedys),
Johnson may bring up The Great Society, but not until you’ve thought of Johnson and Johnson. And then there are Roosevelt and Adlai
Stevenson, whose egg shaped head, is an example of the pathetic fallacy and
Nixon who got nixed. Eisenhower rhymes with power and Washington was a person
before being a city or state which is something that Omaha residents are
reminded of on a daily basis when they cede to the fact that Lincoln is the
capital of their state. Harry Truman earned points for the connotation of his
name when in a stunning upset he beat the Republican, Thomas Dewey, for the presidency.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.