Monday, December 19, 2005

Naming Names, Epithetically

The Slangwhanger-in-Chief's sainted mother told him never to call names. Yet she was wrong, at least insofar as the naming function is an important part of politics. Think of the soon- to- be- defeated Rep. Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH).

It is, after all, an ancient human practice to characterize the names of prominent figures with revealing modifiers. One such tradition is revealed in the Homeric fixed epithet, most creatively translated for Odysseus:
The many-wiled Odysseus
The myriad-minded Odysseus
The schemeful Odysseus
The cool tactician Odysseus
The resourceful Odysseus
The nimble-witted Odysseus
and also well-known through the forms of the rosy-fingered dawn, the wine-dark sea and the grey-eyed Athena.

As we approach what some consider the Year of Our Lord 2006 [now there's an epithet for you], it is time for this blog to settle upon a few Homeric epithets to use for those who appear frequently in public discourse. The list is, of course, suggestive rather than exhaustive.

The Execrable
Administration Division
The Lying, Spying and Torture Administration
The Untreated Alcoholic Preznit W.
The Mendacious Sack of Excrement Dick Cheney
The Unbelievable Condi Rice
The Imperially-Impelled Don Rumsfeld
The Worn-out and Useless Karen Hughes
The Discredited Scott McClellan

Bipartisan Congressional Leadership Division
The Acutely Ignoble Bill Frist
The Inert Puppet Dennis Hastert
The Obnoxious-Repulsive Tom DeLay
The Vastly Overinflated Ted Stevens
The Batshit-Crazy Dan Burton
The Oleaginous Rahm Emmanuel
The Too-Clever-By-Half Steney Hoyer

Bipartisan Presidential Timber Division
The Doomed Hillary Clinton
The Flaccid Joe Biden
The Irredeemable John Kerry
The Hapless Al Gore
The Hypocritical John McCain

Weird Outliers Division
The Serial Fabulist Ahmed Chalabi
The Invertebrate Bud Selig
The Utterly Shameless Judith Miller

Washington Post Division
The Administration Shill Bob Woodward
The Deeply Evil Fred Hiatt
The Coyly Defensive Deborah Howell
The Oblivious John F. Harris
The Easily-Deceived Chris Cillizza
The Dim and Distant Howard Kurtz
The Invariably Half-Right David Broder
The Dyspeptic and Condescending George Will
The Notoriously Drunken Jim Hoagland
The Wildly Skewed Charles Krauthammer

Broadcast Division
The Supine Tim Russert
The Fat, Dumb and Harpy Rush Limbaugh
The Increasingly Irrelevant Bill O’Reilly
The Always-Ignorable Hannity & Colmes

The Kudo-Worthy
Print Division
The Always-Indispensible Nation
The Operose and Farraginous Mark Morford
The Texas Observer's Indefagitable Lou Dubose
The Indomitable Robert Scheer
The Stalwart Daniel Schorr
The Must-Be-Read Murray Waas
The Relentless Sydney Schamberg
The Irrepressible Molly Ivins
The Never-Unsurprising Guardian

Blogosphere Division
DailyKos' Expert Skewermeister ‘Hunter’
The Pert Blogista ‘Wonkette’

Broadcast Division
The Irreplaceable Keith Olbermann


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