Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Ideologue by Any Name

I mentioned in my most recent Retro-Journal entry knowing two unrelated women at Brown named Caldwell (one of them now Christine Ames, also goaded in yesterday’s regular entry).

That reminds me that, on a more fully homonymous note, I spoke at the last event to David Bernstein — not the Yale/ David Bernstein but the conservative editor David Bernstein associated with Adam Bellow. After mentioning how they must get confused a lot, I realized that among my libertarian-leaning friends alone:

(a) Lawyer Paul Taylor has been confused with another DC lawyer, one who crusades for free TV access for political candidates, as if they don’t have enough already (a reporter once called the first Paul thinking he had the second and got pranked for a few minutes with Paul’s suggestions about how politicians could make more entertaining use of airtime by juggling and the like). The Paul Taylors also share their name with the moving company, dance company, and Miami Herald reporter who exposed Gary Hart’s affair on the good ship Monkey Business.

(b) Novelist Katherine Taylor (no relation to Paul) shares a name with a New Yorker writer who I think may also have libertarian sympathies (and my Katherine Taylor refuses to heed my unsolicited advice to solve this problem by using her middle name).

(c) Libertarian-conservative columnist Robert A. George (a friend of the first David Bernstein above) must occasionally distinguish himself from Catholic-social-conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George (and indeed, one night my boss was having dinner with Robert A. while her husband was dining with Robert P.).

(d) Arkansas state rep Dan Greenberg has a name so common he once discovered a website for distinguishing between Dan Greenbergs, which must have been a bit eerie — even, or perhaps especially, to a sci-fi fan like Dan — once the initial amusement factor wore off [UPDATE: And Dan notes that his sister, as it happens, married a third David Bernstein -- and Dan led me to make a couple corrections in this entry].

(e) Andrew Sullivan is not, as you might think, a famous libertarian blogger but rather a young staffer at ABC News who works with my old boss, John Stossel, which must create occasional confusion.

However, I know of only one other Todd Seavey (though I’m sure there are still more out there somewhere…waiting), a timber company president in Maine (unsurprising, since the Seaveys radiated outward from New Hampshire over the past four centuries). I half-hope that someday an angry green will say to me: “No wonder you’re against so many environmental regulations — you’re a timber company executive!” That could increase my credibility in some circles. Watch out for me, baby — I fell trees. Probably a lot more lucrative, too.

ADDENDUM: Oh, and my boss, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, has more than one counterpart, including another Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, at the Centers for Disease Control, who sometimes happens to issue opinions opposite to my boss’s. And while Michael Malice rarely gets confused with the obscure professional wrestler by the same name, perhaps that will change after our Malice’s upcoming book about ultimate fighting champ Matt Hughes gets released — but more on that momentous event in January…

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