I am completely fed up and wish to protest a subtle form of discrimination which permeates North American society. While concerted efforts have been made to eradicate bias against individuals on the basis of race, creed or sexual orientation, no one has addressed the blatant and defamatory of people named George.
“Georgism” is rampant in the media. Despite the Father of the American Nation being a George, American movies, books etc. consistently depict George’s as figures of fun and derision. When was the last time you saw a romantic or heroic lead named George? No, he is usually named something like Brett, Josh, Jacob or Cliff.
This insidious process of brainwashing begins at a very young age. Who hasn’t been regaled with tales of a chimpanzee named “Curious George”? Also, remember the cartoon “George of the Jungle”, starring a mentally challenged Tarzan clone who keeps swinging into trees?
As we grew older we could watch the Newhart Show and catch the antics of a big, stupid, handyman named, you guessed it, George. More recently we find a George on “Seinfeld” who is dumpy and not overly endowed in the smarts department. Did anyone see the movie Outbreak? What is the name of the wimpy little records clerk that Dustin Hoffman so efficiently bullies? George, of course!
Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the name George. The world is full of Georges, Giorgios, Gyorgys, Jorges and Georgs. Most of them seem to be over the age of 50 from a time when the phenomenon of Georgism was not rampant. Being in my 50s (for a little while longer anyway) I was one of the last of this wave of Georges. Checking the under-40s in my practice I found scads of Jasons, Jeffs, Colins, Michaels, Darrens and Gregorys but very few Georges.
All right, you say, but how does this affect you really? A name is just a name after all.
Well, do you know how many people say to me “Gee, you don’t look like a George?” My wife passed on a blind date with me because she pictured a doctor named George as being “old and gray”. Now, there is certainly nothing the matter with this, and while I may be getting a little thinner on the top and a little fatter on the bottom, the fact remains that she then dated a guy two years my senior (not named George), for six months before we finally did get together.
The final irony to all this occurred a few months ago when I was paging through the family Bible and came across a birth certificate for a “Timothy Burden” who was born the same day, month and year as me. I called up my mother and asked “Mom, did I have a twin brother?”. “No,” she explained “we originally called you Timothy but after we brought you home from the hospital your great Aunt Beulah talked me into renaming you after her dear late father.”
Thanks a lot, Aunt Beulah! You deserved your name.
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