Thursday, 31 July 2008

Answer to

Tom SheepandGoats commented:

"Alright, let me weigh in here.

Ima Hogg, Texas philanthropist. Here was a person with a self-deprecating name who actually amounted to something. Is there a moral here? The more modest the name, the greater the person? (contrary to urban legend, there was no Ura Hogg….google the name).

Or what about a boy named Sue? His fists got hard, his wits got keen. It was that name that helped to make him strong.

Let Nosmo King (as first and middle names) alone…. it comes from the hospital sign…. maybe the last thing a woman in labor remembered seeing before she went under….. “No Smoking.”

Same with Oranjello and Lemojello, from the hospital menu. As for me, I’ll stick with good ol fashioned Bible names, like Shearjashub or Mahershalalhashbaz, the name’s of Isaiah’s kids."
OK, I get it. And I am well-read - I have read about Ima Hogg:
"After the birth of his only daughter, Jim Hogg wrote to his brother, "Our cup of joy is now overflowing! We have a daughter of as fine proportions and of as angelic mien as ever gracious nature favor a man with, and her name is Ima!" Even though it was unusual for the time, Ima Hogg had no middle name. Her first name was taken from her uncle Thomas Hogg's epic Civil War poem The Fate of Marvin, which featured two young women named Ima and Leila. According to Virginia Bernhard's biography of Ima Hogg, "there are some who believe that James Stephen Hogg … named his only daughter Ima Hogg to attract the attention of Texas voters" in a year when he was running in a close race for district attorney of the Seventh District in Texas, which he won. Alternatively, correspondence from Jim Hogg indicates he may not have been conscious of the combined effect of his daughter’s first and last names.

Ima Hogg later recounted that "my grandfather Stinson lived fifteen miles [24 km] from Mineola and news traveled slowly. When he learned of his granddaughter's name he came trotting to town as fast as he could to protest but it was too late. The christening had taken place, and Ima I was to remain." During her childhood, Hogg's elder brother William often came home from school with a bloody nose, the result of defending, as she later recalled, "my good name". Throughout her adult years, Hogg signed her name in a scrawl that left her first name illegible. Her personal stationery was usually printed "Miss Hogg" or "I. Hogg", and she often had her stationery order placed in her secretary's name to avoid questions. Hogg did not use a nickname until several months before her death, when she began calling herself "Imogene". Her last passport was issued to "Ima Imogene Hogg".

Contrary to popular belief, Ima did not have a sister named Ura. Texas legend insists that when Jim Hogg ran for re-election as Texas governor in 1892 he often travelled with Ima and a friend of hers and introduced them as his daughters Ima and Ura. Ima Hogg maintained throughout her life that this never happened. She was frequently forced to dispel the myth; hundreds of people wrote her letters inquiring whether her name was real and if she really had a sister named Ura. The Kansas City Star even invented another sister, Hoosa."
There is undoubtedly a moral to every story. But why deliberately or unwittingly set up your kid(s) for a particularly hard time? Look at the formerly named Tallulah Does the Hula. I'm positive that this would have gotten her off the hook for patricide/matricide. Granted that the legal system allows for name changes (I had the misfortune to own the surname "Trebilcox" and practically ran to pay the money and post the ads and change that sucker at the speed of light) and any kind of 'cide is a little extreme (not to mention unlawful), but some people probably come out of their childhood feeling just a little beaten up. I felt that way and my name was the least of my troubles.
Now Angelina Jolie-Pitt and the brood have added Knox Whatever and the sister (with fairly standard-issue French names) to the pile of weirdness that is celebrity nomenclature. What will become of us?!

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