March 6th, 2008


On Barack Obama's middle name

Juan Cole sums it up.

Barack Obama's middle name is in honor of his grandfather, Hussein, a secular resident of Nairobi. Americans may think of Saddam Hussein when they hear the name, but that is like thinking of Stalin when you hear the name Joseph.

As someone pointed out elsewhere, "Should he be ashamed of being named for his grandaddy?"

Names can be powerful things, people put stock in them. Some people choose them; often to send a message (Benedict XVI) others are gifted with them to describe aspects of their nature (Babyface Nelson, Turdblossom).

To tar Obama with the associational aspects of that name (and who rememebers, anymore, King Hussein of Jordan?) is cheap. I wish I thought it wouldn't work, but I've already heard people talking about his, "Muslim ties" and the odor of, "Kennedy will answer to the Vatican" is buried in that idea; somehow being a Muslim (which he's not), makes one some sort of mindless automaton, who answers to some madmen holed up in the hills, or to ayatollahs in Tehran.

The smearing has started, in earnest.

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This is just to let you know,

I feel like showing off.

I translated, just for the hell of it, a poem into Russian.

I didn't write it, and I am sure I made some mistakes, but

Только говорит

Я сьел сливы
были в холодильнике

Каторые вероятно
ты отложил

Прошайте меня
они были же вкусные
и сладкые
и очен же холодные