Nathan Thornburgh wrote this piece on Yahoo about Barack Obama’s middle name, which happens to be Hussein, which happens to be the last name of some guy we didn’t like. It also, by the way, happens to be the name of the former king of Jordan (an amateur radio operator, as my Dad would tell you) and the name of the guy who directed the first episode of Doctor Who back in 1963.
(Okay, okay, because you all want to watch it, the YouTube link is here. Really, it’s a stunning and spooky piece of 1963 television with lots of nifty visuals and cool ideas and it kicks off the whole modern telvisiual mythos of Doctor Who quite well and there’s a police box in a junk yard and you don’t care moving on.)
The Yahoo article is entitled “Why Is Obama’s Middle Name Taboo?” My take on it is this: if you’re the sort of person who might conceivably vote for Obama, it’s fine to refer to him as “Barack Hussein Obama.” If you’re a sweaty, high-strung conservative with a talk show who shouts a lot and you pronounce it “Barack HUSSEIN Obama”, it’s not. Like most things, it’s all in the inflection.
By the way, I found this awesome picture of Barack and his mom from the mid-60s: