A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's in a name?

Over the past few months Barack Obama's name has been the subject of much talk. How is it pronounced is one question. Burr Ark - that's how some Americans say it. "We've got a brand new vessel, Mr. Noah! It's the latest thing in flood protection!" Then there are the Barrack disciples. Sounds like an Army hut on its own. And then there's Beer Rack, a shelving system for Budweiser.

He should come out and declare which one is appropriate for a would-be president. Colin Powell did. Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army tried, in vain mostly, to get Captain Square to stop saying Main Waring. "It's Mannering!" he'd say, peevishly. Part of my antecedence is through the Burnett family. A great aunt used to admonish anyone who would not follow her advice. "I say wrap it up and throw it on the fire and BURN IT!" No Burr Nett for her! My grandmother spent most of her days in Yorkshire being labelled "Mrs Bayonet", which may not have been that inappropriate.

Names are very important. They are who we are. Get them wrong and we feel diminished in some way. I well remember being asked to chair a meeting and the tables had been arranged to form a square. I took the rash step of introducing about 25 names. An eager adviser came up afterwards, "I saw you struggling," he said, in a rather machievellian way. "You should have got them to say their own names". I learnt a lesson. Get a name wrong, and offence may be taken. I managed OK, but never again.

My mother was born in Lincolnshire. So was Margaret Thatcher. The link about stops there. However, Mrs T would talk fondly of Grantham and her father's shop. She put the town back on the map. My mother wondered not so much about Mr. Roberts and his grocery dispensing but if there was anyone left who did not say GRAN THUMB!


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