The Corner

Howdy, Pilgrim

In yesterday’s Impromptus, I had a little fun with names, including Pilgrim names, or Puritan names. A reader had earlier mentioned “Experience Bliss.” Another reader came back with “Thankful Clapp.” Here are some new ones:

Near Greensboro, Vt., there was a monument to two colonial-era residents, “killed by Indians and buried where they fell.” One was Constant Bliss. The other was Moses Sleeper. This was when I was a child — don’t know whether the monument is still there. But I remember thinking that “Constant Sleeper” would have been a great name.

Another reader writes,

My family has traced some roots to the Mayflower (as I’m sure many others have). [That was modest!] My great-great-ad-infinitum-grandfather was the first baby born to the Pilgrims in the New World. He was born onboard the Mayflower while it was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. His name was Peregrine White. His older brother was Resolved.

Marvelous. The reader followed up his note with a second note:

I might also mention my father’s paternal grandfather: Zebediah Ace Brady. My wife was never more pleased than when she found out we were having a girl — she was three times pleased, in fact. She feared that I would insist on using that name for a boy. I mean, how much more masculine can you be than to be called Ace? My wife has never bought into that logic. Guess I’ll have to bestow the name on a dog or something.

This isn’t a Pilgrim name, but it’s well worth knowing about:

Jay, you’ve reminded me of a name I ran across in New Glarus, Wis., “America’s Little Switzerland.” In the center of town is an obelisk put up to honor the community’s original settlers. They came from Switzerland in the 1840s. Among the dozen or so listed was a gentleman named Hilarious Wild. I wondered what his mother was thinking.

Let me do one more — a contemporary one:

Recently, someone showed me a school record for a kid named Nosmo King. When you run his name together, it’s No Smoking.

No, one more: A reader offered the name of a pioneer of free-market economics, and the father of fire insurance; an Englishman born in, or around, 1640. His name is given in various ways. But it goes something like this: Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon.

Beat that.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More