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Huh. I didn’t know New Scientist came up with the term. They certainly didn’t come up with the concept. I read a whole book about it, years before 1994. The author phoned people up whose names lined up with their professions.

Some people were like, “how dare you, sir! I chose my profession for the most serious of grownup reasons!” And some were like, “why yes, being born Lester Buttpeep did influence my decision to become a proctologist.”

My favorite personal example was the kitten I rescued on 6/6/06. Naturally, I named him Damian. The vet was like “lady, are you sure you want to do that?”

I’m confident Damian would have grown up to be a hellcat even if I named him Princess Pinkie Fluffybunny, but he was every inch a Damian.

Today, I ran across a real corker of an example in, of all places, New Scientist:

A few months ago, Dr Organ – Dr Jason Organ – was named the new editor-in-chief of the journal Anatomical Sciences Education. This added flesh to the nominative determinism tradition that is occasionally evident in body-parts-centric medical journals, starting (as far as Feedback is aware) with the publication Brain. Henry Head and Russell Brain were each its editor, at different times, Head from 1905 to 1923, Brain from 1954 to 1967.

Those heads of Brain achieved a sort of medico-literary ecstasy in the December 1961 issue of Brain. Readers could savour an article there titled “Henry Head: The man and his ideas”, authored by Russell Brain. It was Brain head Brain on Brain head Head, in Brain.

I almost had to draw a sentence diagram.

March 16, 2023 — 6:50 pm
Comments: 12