What’s in a Name?

Old names wake magic…   (unpublished haiku, by Jim Bennett, obscure Canadian poet)

Let’s have a peek-inside at some interesting names. We can be manipulated by those names. Today’s names are:

  • Our Lady of Peace
  • Little Orphan Annie
  • Michael Ford
  • Trump

Our lady of peace. Belonging to us. The one we believe in. Our lady of Peace. Bringing us peace, perhaps made of or composed of, peace.
This happens in your brain whether you realize it or not.

Little Orphan Annie. Cartoon character, along with “Daddy” Warbucks, Punjab, and others. Little orphan, requiring the reader to find her cute and vulnerable. Orphan, demanding sympathy. Ward of “Daddy” Warbucks. Daddy in quotes means he’s not there much. Warbucks I leave you to smile at. Punjab appears (this from memory) to be a large, dark, alien, stealthy servant, perhaps bodyguard, merging toward assassin.
This cartoon would probably not do very well today. Stereotyping and perhaps racist.
But we still like little orphans. Even stray cats evoke sympathy.

Michael Ford. Parents: He was born in 1994 to Ennio Stirpe and Kathy Ford. You can read all about him on Google and Wikipedia. His press claims he is ‘not like’ Doug Ford and Rob Ford. While it is possible you’ve never heard of these politicians, at one time Toronto (Canada) had the most famous mayor in the world.
Micheal Ford was elected by a landslide, despite having eleven opponents.
Changed his name legally to Ford before running for Toronto City Council.
Names are magic.
We’ll see how he does: on his own, now.

Trump. The Donald. (In case this is read a hundred years from now, historical note: in August 2016 Donald Trump has some real chance of becoming the next president of the United States of America. Some are dismayed at this, even some of his own political party.)
Trump, in Wiktionary, means a card which wins a trick irrespective of its rank due to strange rules agreed on before the deal.
Trump, in Wictionary, also means to blow a horn. Apparently trompe, drum, and other words come from the same basic root; they all meant trick or noisemaker.

What’s in a name? Names are magic. If enough people believe, the church building named above becomes a true sanctuary. If enough people read, the cartoon mentioned earlier becomes breakfast conversation. If enough people recognize a name, the councillor with the convenient name change wins well over half of all votes.
if enough people believe, a loud well-named person can become a business tycoon. That tycoon can, despite bankruptcies that broke small companies and abandoned workers who were owed money, claim to self-finance his campaign (until later, when he needed even more money.) That campaigner can shout down opposition at rallies and advance toward what looks (from Canada) to be the most powerful position in the world, just one rank under God.

That leader of the free world could hold the nuclear codes.

Then indeed may we all be trumped.

Can we stop this?

Will we (and the journalists) laugh at the most egregious statements? (Mark Twain would encourage this.)

Will the American People vote with their prejudices? Or will logic and common humanity shape their next, critical choice?

Those are the dumb questions. Let’s hope the answers aren’t dumb.

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