Friday, June 26, 2015

1504 First Name Basis

Napoleon.  Liberace. Madonna. Sting. Cher. Cantinflas. Pink. Kreskin. Twiggy. Vampira.


See… famous people with only one name. Of course, they all had first and last names.  But when you say Rihanna, everyone knows who you’re talking about. Or Houdini.  Or even someone who two famous names but you only use one.  Say “Einstein” and everyone knows you’re talking about Albert Einstein.


So why do people use one name?  It’s different (though not as different as it once was.) It’s catchy if you spell it phonetically (unlike Sade.)  But some people hide behind a single name in hopes you won’t remember who they are.


Like John Ellis Bush.


He’s been known as “Jeb” for most of his life.  Kind of easy when (a) your family is big and famous, (b) your first and last names start with consonants and your middle name starts with a vowel, (c ) you don’t want people to remember your last name {because it is} (1) hard to say, (2) too hard to remember, (3) to easy to remember, (4) a blight on the landscape.


Hence John Ellis Bush is “Jeb.”  Good thing it wasn’t John Samuel Bush.  How would you pronounce “Jsb?”


In Jeb’s case, we go for C-4.


When you’re the grandson of a US Senator, the son of one president and the brother of another, what does it say about you when you don’t want people to remember that too clearly?  And what does it say about underestimating the memory of the electorate.  No one either forgets or ignores what would typically be considered a lofty political pedigree?


Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was born Bernie Sanders. His father’s name was Eli Sanders. Eli was born in Poland.  C’mon! No one from Poland is named “Sanders.” So you can bet Bernie’s New England-tinged Brooklynese that the name was changed either by the hurried and essentially illiterate clerks on Ellis Island or by Eli himself… after all, that was back in the day when everyone who came here wanted to fit in here.


Bill Clinton’s birth name was William Jefferson Blyth III. Blyth probably fits the man better than “Clinton.”  But the legal change came under extenuating circumstances and he’s never tried to hide it.


So here he is, John Ellis Bush.  The guy everyone thought would waltz into the Republican nomination.  And with the same silver foot he inherited from his “Poppy,” with every word he speaks, with every step he takes, he walks either into a wall or atop one of those land mines just like his brother and father blew up in the middle east.


You have to feel sorry for the guy in a way.  He never seemed to realize that in order to run, your feet should first be on the ground.


Shrapnel:


--Remembering Mario Biaggi, a hero in many a Bronx home, and who has died at 97. They sent him away once for accepting a low-priced Florida vacation he maybe shouldn’t have. But he got his revenge by outliving his foes and we remember him now as a public servant who knew how to serve the public and did so.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to Wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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