Friday, October 28, 2011

932 The Name Game

932 The Name Game

What’s in a name?  Depends on who you ask.  If you ask the New York Police Department’s “Catch a Muslim By the Toe” Department-of-spying it’s a “tripwire” for detecting potential domestic terrorists.

Yes, the NYPD’s  investigators, reports the Associated Press, are tracking everyone who changes his name.  Everyone.  

So when someone lands here to make a better life (does that still happen?) and changes his name from, say, Rachman Ali to -- oh, maybe Roger Ailes, or Sa’ida Pirvani to Sarah Palin, it’s “tag, you’re it?”

But this is nothing new.  A close relative, Max Rotholz, fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s.  He came here only to find Germans, including German Jews, were looked upon with suspicion.  He got around to changing his name --and those of his American-born wife and children -- in 1952.  "Mark Richards" was not exactly a credible choice, given his accent, his manner and his appearance.  But we lived with it.

By '52, the anti-German thing had faded away, at least in law enforcement circles. But almost 50 years later the immigrant-as-suspect is back with us.

Real Americans don’t change their names.  (Except those in show business.  Oh.  Wait. Show biz types are not real Americans, are they?)

So here’s the NYPD, possibly getting daily printouts of the proceedings of Name Change Court and then staking out the perpetrators.  Maybe they should also stake out the judges.  They, after all, are facilitating terrorism.

Another close relative changed her name to something American on becoming a US citizen.  The judge responsible for that fiasco, was the late Eugene Nickerson who was nominated to the bench by Jimmy Carter, related to John Quincy Adams, and therefore himself automatically suspect.

So bring on the cops.  Andrew (nee Ahmed,) watch your step because we will be watching, too.  You think those traffic cameras only watch traffic?


Shrapnel:

--You can’t make this stuff up:  The Brooklyn Bridge is not for sale but there is one on the market in Frankfurt, Kentucky.  The price is zero.  But here’s the catch:  the “buyer” has to dismantle it and remove it from where it crosses the Kentucky River, move the pieces, set them up as they were originally and then maintain it in usable condition.

--Who says we’re a nation of lawbreakers?  When the Pennsylvania legislature recently outlawed the use of car and truck directional signals, everyone -- everyone -- obeyed immediately.  Now, we have to work on Amish buggy drivers, motorcyclists and bike peddlers, because some of them did not get the message and still use hand signals.

--Failing to signal is a symptom of two things.  Thing one:  “I know what I’m thinking, and you too should know what I’m thinking.”  Thing two: “You don’t exist, so why would I signal in the first place?”

I’m the former Wes Rotholz.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to that phony wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR (the initials didn’t change) 2011

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