Friday, April 22, 2005

On a President Who Renames

Occassionally, I hear about President's Bush's penchant for giving people nicknames when he meets them; I suppose this is some sort of power game that he plays in a way that only the Leader of the Western World can. Though I find it a little eye-rolling that he does this and does it frequently, I suppose it's harmless enough within the ovular walls of "Prez's" office.

It's when this sort of gamesmanship happens in a more public and ceremonial space that I think he has taken it a little too far. Take today's announcement of President Bush's new appointees to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When it comes time to announce his appointment of Admiral Ed Giambastiani, President Bush has this to say:
Today I am pleased to announce that I have nominated an outstanding military officer, Admiral Ed Giambastiani. (Laughter.) He shall be known as Admiral G. (Laughter.) Anyway, he's going to be the Vice Chairman. (Laughter.)
Granted, maybe "Admiral G." isn't so much as a nickname as a way to avoid pronouncing a tough name (I should sympathize, since I sometimes have to go by "Admiral W.," myself!) But, it's still something of a re-naming and one that places the burden on the Admiral to be easy-going and understanding at the botching and adjustment of his name. It's probably a big day for the guy, and he might have liked to hear his name done right for the occassion. And even if the Admiral's used to folks messing up his name, I don't think it's too much to ask that a President read a correct pronounciation of his name off the teleprompter at this fairly formal occassion.

So, whether this is one of President Bush's new nicknames because he's enacting some sort of power-play, or just a result of his poor pronounciation prep, I think that Bush could have done well to just get the name down right, once, and refer to him as "Admiral" the rest of the time. This seems like a better way to deal with a heavy name that keeps all the appropriate attention on the appointee, rather than the President and his habit for playing Adam in the Garden.


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