Monday, December 11, 2006


I would like everyone to read the following quote and stop and think for a moment.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (AP) -- Sen. Barack Obama says he may have to overcome questions about his inexperience, stereotypes about his race and even a middle name that reminds Americans of Iraq's former dictator.

Now, tell me what's wrong with this sentence.

Whatever one thinks about comma rules, I bet your eye was drawn instead to both the last three words. Ditto. How in the hell could they get Osama mixed up with Hussein? I believe they're talking about the other guy.

Oh, but then I read the sentence again, which refers to Sen. Obama's middle name. So I read on.

That's right: Barack Hussein Obama.

Can someone tell me what cosmic joke that is? How, in the realm of all things possible, can someone with a Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother get that name? And how, cosmically, can it work out that, at the time he is elected to the Senate and only the second African American to be so elected since Reconstruction, his name resembles or replicates both of the dasterdly boogey men haunting American foreign policy? What, are we going to find out about his other middle name next election, and the other other middle name the election after that? Are we really going to end up with Sen. Barack Hussein Chavez "The Beard" Jong Il Obama?? Really.

I mean come on.


patsbrother said...

And I would like everyone to know, I changed the structure of a sentence, and that is why we are left with "both the last three words." I apologize for not catching that sooner.

Anonymous said...

Hussein running for office in the U.S.? Well I'll be dammed. I'll never vote for him!! He can crawl back in his spider hole for all I care. :-)

Patrick Armstrong said...

Well, Hussien is a pretty common name in the Middle East, whose culture did extend into East Africa, historically speaking. I can't remember the specifics, but there was a prominent religious figure named Hussien or Hussayn back in the day, and if you wonder how much affect that has just think about how many Pauls, Peters, & Johns there are in western families. I also think Hussien was Obama's father's or gradfather's name, and that's where it came from.

Names are interesting things. I mean, have you ever google searched your own name? While I think the American voting population is savvy enough not to confuse a United States Senator with our two most publicized international foes, there's no telling what the well oiled machine of attack politics can do to perception.

There is one Louisiana Congressman, after all, who went on the ballots with his nickname "Bobby" as opposed to his given name, Piyush.

Dante said...

On a tanget, I once had a computer graphics professor who looked exactly like Saddam Hussein only in a little better shape. He would use tinker toys to demonstrate a 3D axis and when he demonstrated looking down an axis, I swear that tinker toy was touching his eyeball. In light of that, we joked that one of Saddam's methods of torture was stabbing people in the eyes with tinker toys.

I had kind of hoped that Obama's middle name was "Us." That would make his first and middle name "Barack Us" which sounds like Mr. T's character's name in the A-Team (Barackus). You just can't lose with a name like "BA" Barack Us Obama.

liberalandproud said...

If I remember correctly from the Classical Islam course I took in college, Hussein (English spelling varies) was an heir of sorts to Muhammad. I believe he is more important in the Sunni sect, where Ali is a central figure to the Shiites. In fact, I think Ali and Hussein may have waged war over contol of Islam. Honestly, it's pretty fuzzy. That was a big subject to cover in a summer second session. Guess if anyone really wants to know who Hussein was, they'll just have to check out wikipedia (unless Colbert's been screwing with that entry, too).

liberalandproud said...

Ok, I couldn't resist. I checked wikipedia. Ali was Husayn's father. Muhammad was Husayn's grandfather. Shiites celebrate Hussein more than Sunnis. They consider him to be the 3rd Imam, etc, etc, etc.