Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

One weird bit from a New Republic post on McCain's choice of Sarah Palin (it seems to be credited to professor Alan Wolfe, but surely he wouldn't say something that is without evidence):
Sarah Palin named two of her children after witches, once took drugs, and refused to sign a bill forbidding domestic benefits for gay couples.
It's unclear where this "witches" claim is coming from, although I suspect it's due to this post from Andrew Sullivan:
A reader plumbs the weirdness: "Willow" was Buffy the Vampire Slayer's best friend and "Piper" was the eldest sister on the series Charmed played by Shannen Doherty. The governor obviously has a penchant for television shows of paranormal female empowerment.
Alas, one problem for this theory is the timing: Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't start airing until 1997, whereas Sarah Palin's daughter Willow is described as being 14 years old. I don't know whether she turned 14 this year or will turn 15 later this year, but I'm pretty sure that 2008 minus 14 equals something before 1997.

Otherwise, that's a great theory . . . whenever a public figure's child has the same name as anyone who has ever been on television, you can be 99% sure it was in deliberate homage. (I look forward to the blog posts at The New Republic informing us that Barack Obama named his daughter Natasha after Natasha Fatale.)

23 Comments:

Blogger josh said...

Huh.

Funny thing is, in Alaska (born and raised, lived there for 28 years, in WA now) Piper and Willow are very popular names.

I knew several (including a cousin named Willow.) There is also a town up there named Willow, and a very common personal plane in AK is the Piper Cub. I am not sure what float plane she has, but there is a very good chance is it is a Supper Cub or otherwise.

Just some thoughts.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Jon Stueve said...

and according to the people interview:

Where do your children's names come from?
TODD: Sarah's parents were coaches and the whole family was involved in track and I was an athlete in high school, so with our first-born, I was, like, 'Track!' Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. That's where I grew up, that's where we commercial fish. Willow is a community there in Alaska. And then Piper, you know, there's just not too many Pipers out there and it's a cool name. And Trig is a Norse name for "strength."

5:21 PM  
Blogger RebeccaH said...

There is also this tidbit, concerning her other daughter's name. I'm sorry, are Palin's detractors stretching a bit?

5:22 PM  
Blogger Zimri said...

Sullivan pwn3d

5:28 PM  
Blogger Beldar said...

WRONG, wrong, despicably and shamefully wrong. Witches my ass.

You really need to read Kaylene Johnson’s biography of Sarah Palin. The youngest, Trig, was born after it was published, so I don’t know the whole story of his name, although I’d place a large wager on whether the “Van” just before the family surname is a pun on “Van Halen.” As to Track and the daughters, from pp. 39-40 of the book:

"Meanwhile [in 1989], the couple had started a family. The Palins named their first child, a boy, Track, after the track and field season in which he was born. Sarah’s father jokingly asked what they would have named their son if he had been born during the basketball season. Without hestitation Sarah answered 'Hoop.'

"Between babies, Sarah worked short stints at TV stations and at a utility company. The Palins first daughter was born in 1990. They named her Bristol after the ocean where they fished. Willow was born in 1994, named after willow ptarmigan, Alaska’s state bird. Their youngest daughter, Piper Indy, came in 2001. She was named after the Piper Cub that Todd flies and the Polaris Indy snowmobile Todd drove in the first of his four victories in the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a grueling 2000-mile run from Wasilla to Fairbanks by way of Nome."

6:13 PM  
Blogger Porkopolis said...

From the People Magazine interview with Governor Palin:

Where do your children's names come from?
TODD: Sarah's parents were coaches and the whole family was involved in track and I was an athlete in high school, so with our first-born, I was, like, 'Track!' Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. That's where I grew up, that's where we commercial fish. Willow is a community there in Alaska. And then Piper, you know, there's just not too many Pipers out there and it's a cool name. And Trig is a Norse name for "strength."

6:34 PM  
Blogger Buford Gooch said...

Well, to my wife's chagrin, I did name my daughter after Natasha Fatale.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Xrlq said...

"Alas, one problem for this theory is the timing: Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't start airing until 1997, whereas Sarah Palin's daughter Willow is described as being 14 years old. I don't know whether she turned 14 this year or will turn 15 later this year, but I'm pretty sure that 2008 minus 14 equals something before 1997."

Alas, one problem for YOUR theory is that the movie came out in 1992. I don't know whether Willow Palin turned 14 this year or will turn 15 later this year, but I'm pretty sure that 2008 minus 14 equals something after 1992.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Xrlq said...

Then again, I've been told that the Willow character didn't appear in the movie. No, I'm not going to rent it just to find out.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Shannon played the eldest sister Pru. Piper was played by Holly Marie Combs.

Just FYI.

7:54 PM  
Blogger halojones-fan said...

All we have to do is see if she names her next kid "River".

What? She's not pregnant? My God, this is an EMERGENCY! We NEED TO KNOW whether she's naming her kids after fictional characters! I volunteer to do the sad duty. Once more into the breach, as it were.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Wacky Hermit said...

Clearly, in a fit of prescience, my parents very cleverly named me Sarah after the first female GOP VP nominee, thirty[something] years before she was nominated. Maybe my dad just didn't like the name Geraldine?

This kind of stuff is trouble with a capital T, which rhymes with P, which stands for POOL!

8:50 PM  
Blogger Norman Conquest said...

Willow is a town in Alaska.
Piper is for the family aircraft. Bristol Bay is an Alaska spot.
Trig is named for a family member.
Track is named for where he was conceived -- Sarah is a runner.

http://beltwayblips.com/story/the_kids_names/

9:12 PM  
Blogger Purpleslog said...

Heh...the lesson here is: don't look to Andrew Sullivan for objective reporting.

9:18 PM  
Blogger John Burgess said...

Using the logic of the 'Willow' example, then could it mean that OB is named after, well, you know who?

Or maybe he's named after Obi (Wan Kenobi)...

10:38 PM  
Blogger DonC said...

Come on, everyone knows that Natasha is "Ah Satan" spelled backwards.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Shegetz said...

Bristol could be named after the bay, Bristol Bay. Willow could be named after a small Alaskan town by the same name. And Piper could be named after the aircraft company (the piper cub is a mainstay for Alaska bush pilots). The origins of the names Track and Trig, on the other hand, completely escape me.

-An Alaskan

2:39 AM  
Blogger Bob Hawkins said...

"Piper" was played by the incomparable Holly Marie Combs. (Shannen Doherty played "Prue.") I'm faintly surprised that Andrew Sullivan didn't catch this.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Exactly, XRLQ -- there was no "Willow" in the 1992 movie. (I knew this only from checking IMDB . . . .)

6:28 PM  
Blogger Milhouse said...

I don't see the problem with timing. After all, if Dorothy Rodham could name her daughter after an obscure Kiwi who would climb Mt Everest five years later, then why can't Wacky Hermit's parents have named her after Sarah Palin, or Palin have named her daughter after Willow Rosenberg? Hey! That makes her both prescient and cool — how can that be a bad thing?

9:08 PM  
Blogger Michael Drake said...

I find the claim that Palin deliberately named her child "after a witch" preposterous, but anyway, the choice of the name 'Willow' for a character in a series about witches isn't exactly arbitrary. From Wikipedia:

Robert Graves in his 1948 The White Goddess, in discussing the willow which was sacred to the Greek goddess Hecate, connects the word to a root *wei- which connotes bending or pliance, by saying: "Its connection with witches is so strong in Northern Europe, that the words 'witch' and 'wicked' are derived from the same ancient word for willow, which also yields 'wicker'." This confounds English and Scandinavian evidence, since the weak root in English has no connection with willows, and Old Norse has no word for "witch" cognate to the English.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Raffi said...

In any case, isn't it just as likely that Palin named Willow after the great 1988 fantasy movie of that name? And what does that say about her politics?

10:50 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I salute Michael for citing Robert Graves, & add that Palin's devotees are the most goddess-deprived religious demographic in America, & their spiritual hunger for one, however misguided, is astonishing.

2:06 PM  

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