The Corner

Name Game

Derb: Thank your lucky stars that you don’t have a ridiculously common name. In college, there was another John Miller in my dorm. When I got to Washington, there was a John Miller in Congress. There’s a baseball broadcaster with my name. And if you’re interested in my book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France, going to and entering “john miller” in the search box isn’t the best way to go about it. I haven’t written a tour guide of New Orleans, a driving instructor’s handbook, or Darling Judi: A Celebration of Judi Dench (which isn’t to say I don’t consider her a fine actress). I am not now nor have I ever been a professional golfer. Furthermore, I have no plans to take up professional golf. My middle initial is “J,” which alleviates some confusion but hardly all of it. When the Miller kids were born, I proposed first names like Conan and Elrond and Ichabod. If I had known you back then, I might have proposed Derb as a first name. I doubt my sensible wife would have gone for it, but I still might have tried.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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