Re: What's in a name?

1

They gave Obama protection in May 2007, but McCain not until now that he has the nomination sewn up? I can see the former but not the latter; surely McCain has had as high a profile for at least a few months. (Unless it's a function of crowd size.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:42 AM
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Didn't they start giving Obama protection earlier than usual since he was getting weird death threats?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:45 AM
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3

in my language people out of superstition give not very pleasant names for example to their children
to fool demons, especially to the only child
it is thought if it's too good a name all kinds of bad luck would occur to them, that kind of superstitious logic


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:45 AM
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2: I'd heard that, though not from any verifiable sources (or at least, I didn't look for verification), so I don't know. However:

"In the past month, animosity toward Obama has increased on white supremacist Web sites, said Mark Potok, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. He said that while he didn't know of any specific threats, 'the tone has begun to heat up.' "


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:47 AM
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5

This is my son, Smegma-melt Carcinoma.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:48 AM
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6

it was strange to say 'in my language', country may be
but i would feel like Obama is more protected than for example Clinton from evil :)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:50 AM
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7

not carcinoma exactly, but 'nameless' for example, 'not human' or 'nobody'
and one understands that the person with this kind of weird name was the most beloved and protected and may the only child in his family, now this practice is becoming obsolete though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:54 AM
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8

be


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:55 AM
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9

7: Huh. That's really interesting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:57 AM
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10

They do that in Vietnam too.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:00 AM
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11

This also sounds similar to the following re: Bruce Lee:

Also of note is that Lee was given a feminine name, Sai Fung (細鳳, literally "small phoenix"), which was used throughout his early childhood in keeping with a Chinese custom, traditionally thought to hide a child from evil spirits.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:02 AM
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oh, so may be it's something asian then may be
i thought only us
another naming practice is to give a Tibetan name with auspicious meaning, it is carefully chosen upon one's time of birth etc by a family lama (priest)
its' funny to hear a small child to have a pretty long pompous sounding foreign name but one knows that the family is really like anxious about the child's well-being


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:07 AM
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13

I think they give them code names not to be super-secret, but so that there's no confusion about whom they're talking. If you say "Clinton," is it Hillary or Bill? Etc. Either that, or they think the one-name thing from Battlestar Galactica* is cool.

*From the one true original Battlestar Galactica. I have no idea what they do on this new-fangled one.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:08 AM
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I read the Wikipedia entry on Bruce Lee the other day, for no very good reason. It's almost a parody of a stereotypical kind of quasi-religious writing about martial arts types -- all hazily sourced stuff on his amazing exploits, the portentous circumstances of his birth, his brilliance as a philosopher, his library of thousands of books, etc. And of course his mysterious death.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:09 AM
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13: The "new-fangled one" is more similar to your first suggestion: they all have real names, and Starbuck/Apollo/etc. are technically callsigns.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:10 AM
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These nicknames suck. Why can't they look to popular culture for the nicknames? Someone, somewhere, should have the nickname "Megatron." Or "Starstrike."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:11 AM
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17

The Secret Service must be really bummed they didn't think of "Monster" first.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:13 AM
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17: Ha! I guess "Spartacus" was too on the nose for Obama. Maybe "Toby."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:16 AM
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17: Totally. And they could've always said it as "MONNN-STERRR" like in the ads for monster truck rallies.


Posted by: KRK | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:17 AM
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They gave Obama protection in May 2007, but McCain not until now that he has the nomination sewn up?

Usually the presidential candidates from both parties get protection once they've clinched the nomination. The Secret Service has to treat them both as sitting presidents. Obama was drawing death threats so he got the protection early.

I think the code names aren't for security, but just to eliminate confusion about who they're talking about. The kids probably all have code names, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:20 AM
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read's real name in Mongolian means "Girl? What girl? There's no girl in this house! I think you're looking for the baby next door. Look for the yurt with the television and satellite receiver."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:25 AM
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no, my parents were fighting the obsolete customs :) and they gave their children the most auspicious names in plain Mongolian
i for example is jewel


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:34 AM
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23

am


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:47 AM
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thanks, i am, of course
we do not change verbs with the different pronouns and the plural nouns, so i always do this stupid mistakes


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:52 AM
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these


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 8:53 AM
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26

OT, but has this been linked here yet? The girl in the 3 a.m. phone ad for Hillary is 17 now (it was stock footage), and she's an Obama supporter.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:11 AM
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In Chinese you have to learn several names for each individual. There's the formal name which is semi-secret, the childhood name which is familiar and cute, the first adult name which is assigned at maturity, one or several other adult names earned at various stages of the career, and the posthumous name assigned for ancestor-worship purposes.

The formal name can be almost anything, including inauspicious as Read describes, but also conventional or almost meaningless because some families tag all brothers or cousins of one generation with one name taken from a poem, so that the sixth generation all get word #6, which might be something like "it".

And then, Jennifer 8 Lee.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:12 AM
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26: It has been mentioned, but I don't recall whether there was a link. I saw it on the TV news first, though I was only paying minimal attention and spent a minute or so trying to figure out how they'd made her look so young in the ad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:15 AM
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One way Chinese avoid evil spirits is by keeping the real name secret and never saying it allowed. The childhood name used might be something inauspicious like "Dog", etc.

In the old days Chinese travellers were baffled at how few names and titles Mongols had, even powerful ones. It also bothered them that Mongols of that time didn't celebrate their birthdays, or even know when they were closer than a couple months.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:15 AM
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and she's an Obama supporter.

But not one of these prima donnas who'll take their bat and ball home if he isn't nominated that we keep hearing about. Good for her.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:16 AM
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In Chinese you have to learn... the posthumous name assigned for ancestor-worship purposes.

Emerson is an exorcist, pass it on.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:17 AM
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32

The Onion has an important update on candidate protection issues.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:24 AM
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Ancestor ghosts are nice ghosts. The ghosts of crime victims, suicides and homeless beggars are bad ghosts. You don't exorcise all of them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:26 AM
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34

Codenames - or, more accurately, brevity codes:

The current president is apparently "Tumbler". The last few have been, in reverse order, Eagle, Timberwolf, Rawhide, Deacon, Pass Key, Searchlight, Volunteer and Lancer. Al Gore was Sawhorse.
They do mostly suck. Though Tumbler is pretty good for an accident-prone alcoholic.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:36 AM
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35

"Lancer" for Kennedy? Shouldn't they make an effort to have the names assigned by someone without a sense of humor?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:44 AM
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36

There was a brief scandal during the 1988 campaign over Jesse Jackson's Secret Service nickname, which was "Pontiac." The Secret Service claimed that they chose it for the then-current slogan "We Build Excitement." But some critics accused them of making reference to an old, racist joke that "Pontiac" stands for "Poor Old N***** Thinks It's A Cadillac."


Posted by: Ben Alpers | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:47 AM
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37

34. Don't forget Snow Bunny.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 9:48 AM
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38

In the old days Chinese travellers were baffled
i doubt they would tell their enemies anything worthy to know and b/c the chinese left written history all kinds of strange things were said about us, our history was written too, but guess who was anxious to raid every now and then and destroy anything prominent in the steppes
we have given names, father's names and tribal names as anyone else and from olden times
the powerful landlords had many titles and pretty elaborate ones
the deceased's name wouldn't be called out loud
the full names of one's seniors were also not to be called out loud
these days it's fashionable to give the baby a name from the Secret History
sometimes people say that one's name did not fit one's fate, too heavy and bringing unfortune etc
it's true about names from nature, for example basically any word in Mongolian can be used for naming, so sometimes people name after name of river or lake and it's spirits could be too heavy for the name bearer


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:09 AM
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its


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:10 AM
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34: Rawhide for Reagan? Deacon for Carter? Passkey (!) for Nixon? Come on, you're making this shit up.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:26 AM
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Even better: Prince Charles was dubbed "Unicorn" by the Secret Service (well, actually, the White House Communications Agency).

Henry Kissinger as "Woodcutter" also seems oddly appropriate.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:32 AM
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42

The Wiki link has JFK & Jackie as Dazzle & Lace, which sounds like a couple of female American Gladiators.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:36 AM
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43

Actually, PGD, "Pass Key" would be Ford.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 10:43 AM
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44

Clearly they only use the codenames because it sounds cooler on the walkie-talkie. Same reason they wear shades.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 11:37 AM
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45

Same reason they wear shades.

All that stuff is hilarious. Sinister but hilarious.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 11:52 AM
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46

This is the problem with having non-random codenames. The British government uses randomly generated ones, so that instead of calling military operations things like Operation LIBERTY THRUST or Operation DOMINANT LION you get Operation GRANBY and Operation HERRICK, who are, respectively, an 18th-century nobleman and a 17th-century poet.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 12:10 PM
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43: you're right, stupid. I could never make it in the secret service.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 12:19 PM
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48

RMMP, PGD just called you stupid! You gonna take that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 12:20 PM
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you're right, stupid. I could never make it in the secret service.

I thought it was a condition of employment.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 12:24 PM
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44: That's basically it, AFAIK. This article says that they started using the codenames for security, but now that they can do secure radio transmissions they do it because it's traditional.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 2:17 PM
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51

What do they call the little Obamas? Renovate and Rename? Renal and Rennet?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 2:33 PM
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52

Renounce and Rendition.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 2:38 PM
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53

Ren & Stimpy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 2:46 PM
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54

Joshua Bolten's codename is Phantom.


Posted by: Devics | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 4:10 PM
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55

Reject & Renounce


Posted by: Chevalier | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:25 PM
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