Alex Haley’s Red “Roots”

According to this page (text-search him — no matter what Google’s cache says, he’s there!), the author who in his famous book traced African roots and heritage, also claimed Cherokee ancestry.  Cool twice over!  Whatever one may say about the book or the man, God be good to him.

The 2 Most Powerful Governmental Leaders in the Americas are now both Black

President Obama and Governor General Jean of Canada meet before Harper meeting

President Obama and Governor General Jean of Canada meet before Harper meeting

I missed this picture in U.S. media from President Obama’s Canadian trip.  HE is the elected President of the United States of America, with his finger on The Button, the son of a Black African student with distant kin descended from chattel slaves.  SHE is Michaelle Jean, appointed “Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada” by Her Majesty The Queen of Canada and Her Other Realms and Territories, Elizabeth II, on the advice of HM’s Canadian Prime Minister of the day.  Mme. Jean is a Haitian immigrant to Quebec, her first language is French (or Haitian Creole), and she is descended from chattel slaves.  In the name of The Queen, she holds all constitutional power in Canada, though according to custom, she too governs in Privy Council, acting only on the advice of HM’s Canadian PM of the day … normally.  She’s married to a White Frenchman, and they are raising an adopted little Haitian girl.

Some photo op, eh?!  Every Black kid on Earth should get a copy free!

Canadian media covered their meeting in greater detail than you’ll find elsewhere: here, for now (link will break).

Vote Suppression ’08 UPDATE

Obama “Elitist” attack is racist.

It makes use of the Mulatto Elite Stereotype to try to alienate him from Blacks and non-wealthy Whites simultaneously.  To historic U.S. Blacks, he’s “not Black enough.”  To (stereotypical) non-rich Whites, he’s an “uppity Negro.”  In this view, not being descended from American Slaves is a double disability: SNRWs already aren’t sure about an African Black or the son of one, but having a White mother and grandparents just adds insult to injury.  And to American Blacks, he lacks “credibility” if they see him this way.  The fact is, most “mulattos” in this country are poor and working-class, urban or rural.

Some of us went ballistic when Fox News and all those other Repugs who really are The Elite in this country started calling Obama that, saying “He’s out of touch.”  But naturally, they knew exactly what they were doing: It’s many of us Democrats who are “out of touch” with the racism that’s still out there in this country — not because we’re “elitist,” but because we struggle with it (on a good day), whereas the Rove-publicans aren’t afraid to employ it to keep their stranglehold on power.  Obama can’t be White enough for SNRWs, nor Black enough for some Blacks.

It’s necessary to expose the McCain/Palin/GOP/Fox/AM radio operatives’ cynical racist ploy, to deflate it.  Shine the light on how they’d manipulate Americans for their own benefit and not America’s.  And say it’s OK for White women to have Black men’s babies if they want, and vice-versa, and for those offspring to enjoy Sonny and Cher or Donny and Marie … or 50 Cent or Buffy Sainte-Marie.  America’s always been diverse, even if Hollywood and Madison Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue haven’t always been so.  Even if the world according to Jim Crow was only “White” and “Nonwhite,” or sometimes “White,” “Black,” and “Red” or “Hispanic” or “Asian.”

Weird names, not just Black after all

this piece from Salon (you can tell I’ve just been there) reminds us.  Although the author should’ve come across the fact that even the ancient Romans sometimes named their children numbers after their birth order – Secundus/a, Quartus, Quintus, Septimus, Octavius – which sounds alot more impressive if you don’t know Latin – Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth…!  (I’d give in to the temptation to claim that Augustus and Julius Caesars were named after months, but of course it’s the other way around!!)  The only thing weirder is George Foreman and his five sons named George.  But understanding the “weird Black name” phenomenon as liberating, yeah, I get that.

Electa, Valantine, and Zebedee are religious names: one or more of St. John’s Epistles were formally addressed to a parish he called the Lady Electa (ie, Chosen, or perhaps Elect, ie, predestined, from Calvinism); Zebedee was father of the Apostles Sts. James and John; and Valantine is just Valentine, the early Christian martyred bishop and patron saint of February 14.

I think I can understand “unique” names (though the Orthodox Church usually insists on Orthodox Saints’ names, for role models, Holy t/Tradition, and Heavenly intercessors for the named), but do they have to sound as ridiculous as some of them do?  Worse, they often defy English-language spelling conventions, as an old radio hand leaving some doubt as to pronunciation, with or without apostrophes, post-initial capital letters, or strings of consonants without a vowel where needed (outside of Polish, of course!).  (And as an Irishman, I must insist that the correct spelling of one common name or name-particle is Sean! 😉  Though I was impressed to meet a young lady named Shavaun, which is simply Siobhan with the spelling anglicized!  Tho I didn’t realize it until I sounded it out in my head … a problem with innovative spellings.)  In any case, is a name truly “unique” simply by changing one letter?  Computers think so, but I don’t know….

As for Arabic-language names, it’s no big deal in itself, though of course alot of people these days have issues with the religion usually suggested, Islam.  Senator Obama’s name, of course, came from his father, a lapsed Muslim who still wanted his kid named after him.  (My legal name is similar in that respect.)  His native Kenya’s Muslim population, like that of other near-Sahara countries, continues to grow.  (But its Orthodox population even faster!)  But critics seem to forget that King Hussein of Jordan was a great friend of the United States; OTOH, Hussein was Saddam’s last name, not his first name … and neither the king nor the future President were named after him!!!  It just happens to be a relatively common Arabic name in various spellings.  For that matter, as Obama has reminded us, (Ehud) Barack was an Israeli prime minister – so I guess it goes both ways, eh?!!

Some of these names are, or seem like, surnames, being used as given names.  This practice of course is well-known in the White Protestant community, though even Catholics have been known to use them for middle names though rarely first names, like John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Speaking of English Protestants, let’s not forget Praisegod Barebones, and another 17th-century Puritan whose given name was – I swear I am not making this up – “Christ Died To Save Us.”

What’s unfortunate about “Luxury Latch-on” names is that increasingly the original corporate names themselves are totally made up words, and not real names at all, rendering the personal names based on them a second-generation phenomenon, or twice-removed from the real world.

Orencio sounds Shakespearean, like those fake Italian names some of his characters had.

Other than that, my biggest concern as someone who hopes to acquire naming rights over someone someday in the not-too-distant future, is how they’ll deal with the name for the rest of their lives … something that doesn’t seem to enter into as many other parents’ or would-be parents’ minds as I would expect.  Was their own childhood so long ago?  Not longer than mine in most cases, except maybe Dave Letterman and Donald Trump….  But I figure weirdness is for nicknames, totally optional, appearing in no government databases or legal documents (unless they’re in the Mob of course).

“My friends call me Xfrkgyuip.”
“Gee, that’s interesting. Why do they call you that?”

And so on.

Then again, since I learned it, I’ve always thought the Irish Gaelic name for Wednesday, Ceadaoin (Céadaoin), pronounced something like kay-DEEN, would make a pretty girl’s name: hmm, Céadaoin Ó Faoláin….**  [As for its meaning, “First Fast-day,” it refers to the ancient Christian (and continuing Orthodox Christian) practice of cutting-back on food on most Wednesdays of the year; Fridays also, Aoine, meaning simply “Fast-day,” suggesting the Irish didn’t do Wednesdays at first.]  And speaking of Irish names, I dislike the growing trend of giving girls Gaelic boys’ names: Murphy Brown, McKenzie Phillips, even Phelan, an English form of my last name.  I suspect these parents (or writers) aren’t aware that these Irish (or Scottish) surnames are based on (in most cases) ancient men’s given names … witness the constant attention in Irish surname / family history recitations to the supposed derivation of the surname, as faolan, little wolf, rather than the more real and relevant reference to an eponymous ancestor!  There’s also Rory Kennedy, an almost unforgivable sin considering that the last reigning High King of All Ireland bore that name, Rory (Roderick) O’Connor, King of Connacht – variously spelled Ruaidhri, Ruairi.  (Also because she didn’t marry me! 😉  )

But by all means visit this site the Salon writer points to.  It’s so funny you just might cure cancer!  I laughed so hard I cried and had a coughing fit, probably the hardest laugh of my life, no kidding!

(I remember the Black comic who told us a couple years ago about the crap he took for “fighting the good fight” and then turning to dating White women for a while, before again reversing himself.  “A Loqueeda makes up for two Megans and a Becky.”)

(**–Though in proper Irish she’d have to be Céadaoin ní Fhaoláin.)

Totally Without Class

Time was not too long ago when our political parties let each other have their weeklong TV commercial, er, party convention, to themselves.  But this minute-by-minute media-contesting of the Democrats’ ‘pre-convention VP Day’ today by the McSame / Rove / Swiftboat campaign is a new low in what had been a tradition of brief respite from all the partisan BS, our “quadrennial national civics lesson” — now down the toilet with the rest of the McCain offal.  So much for that “maverick” image.  He must be really running scared.  Today’s performance is totally without dignity or honor.  I’m torn between whether Obama / Biden should “go and do likewise,” or stick to the high road.  After all, it is apparently a way to get the “news” channels to air your instant ads for free nationwide and worldwide….

I have to add that CNN’s performance today is worthy of Fox News Channel, “loyally” getting all those McCain minute-by-minute retorts on the air.  I wonder if they’ll keep hammering at his “I don’t know how many homes I have”….  After all, he is the MSM darling….

BTW: So Biden once ran against Obama?  From what they’re saying, McSame may be about to nominate a mate who ran against *him.*  So let’s dredge that up too, OK guys?!!  That’s politics in a democracy: temporary rivals band together in party unity in the end: Our base isn’t thinking of bailing on the party in the fall, while theirs is.  It may be easy to forget during the last 8 years or more of non-democracy in America!  But we are a “democratic” party; the Republicans are a “religious” party.  We had a primary season; they had a traveling revival show, even with a bona fide preacher running!!!  Make your choice, America.  Just be sure and let everybody vote, and let every vote count, no matter race or party or class or liberal religion or no religion or sexual orientation or neighborhood or anything else.

And McCain “congratulating” Biden on the phone while at the same time releasing his classless ad?  Totally insincere and cynical.  %#@* him and the horse he rode in on!

About these insta-ads: Should we really be shown them before they air on paid TV?  Don’t we risk a fiasco like that ad one of the GOPs “unveiled” during the primaries, only to pull it the same day before it aired?  Are we newsmedia, journalists, or YouTube-on-the Air?!!!  Is it an ad, or just a campaign video?!!!  We don’t know yet!!!

For that matter, are they “journalists”?  Jour is French for day, as in daily.  French for moment is moment, oddly enough, so maybe they’re momentarists instead of journalists!  Does that really serve the public interest or the Common Good?  In some disaster, coup d’etat (like 2000 or ’04), or traffic jam, yes; otherwise, let’s stop and think a few hours once in a while….

(And no, I don’t speak French, I had to look it up.  I did take four years of Spanish, but  r e a l   s l o w  ! ! !   I catch about every fifth word on Spanish-language TV news!)