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Post What's in a Name? Richie Incognito
Created by John Eipper on 09/20/19 2:21 AM

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What's in a Name? Richie Incognito (Edward Jajko, USA, 09/20/19 2:21 am)

Since childhood so long ago, I have been like our late founder Prof. Hilton interested in and a collector of names.

My parents taught me how names identify national and religious origins (although the arch-Nazi Alfred Rosenberg has always been a puzzle). This held true in my years in dealing with the Middle East, where various countries have different naming systems or patterns and where, in the mixed societies of Egypt and the Levant, Christians are generally identifiable by their names. I find many Italian names interesting. I mentioned in a previous posting long ago that we all know Eugenio Battaglia in WAIS, and some years ago by coincidence my wife and I knew a woman here named Jeanie Battle. Piccolo mundo. I have long enjoyed seeing news about Ventimiglias and Trentamiglias and wondering whether I might see a Quarantamiglia or more.

Then came the San Jose Mercury News, our overpriced local newspaper, of yesterday morning (Sept. 19), with two articles in its Sports section. The first is about the "Greek Freak," a professional basketball player born in Greece to Nigerian parents. His Greek name is Γηαννης Αντετοκουνμπο. This is written in the newspaper as Giannis Antetokounmpo. Actual Greek pronunciation is Yannis Adetokoumbo. We'll see what happens to his name if he signs with the San Francisco Warriors.

The other article, about an addition to the Raiders football team, had a headline that made me look a couple of times, even though I'm not interested in the team, and then in the article to understand it:

Headline: "Incognito ready to make season debut Sunday"

Article, incipit: "Richie Incognito ... [will] start at left guard for the Raiders in their Week 3 road game against the Minnesota Vikings."

I wonder if this Richard Incognito has difficulty in getting an official ID, a driver's license or passport and if, when he has had to show his ID, he has been plagued with questions like, "So, you're traveling incognito?" Come to think of it, how does Mr. Incognito travel incognito?

JE comments:  Jeanie Battle and our own Eugenio Battaglia are what Spanish-speakers call tocayos--people who share the same name. But here it is once removed.  Cross-linguistic tocayos?  My dad was a life-long fan of opera, and he and I used to joke about the great Joe Green (Giuseppe Verdi).  Don't think I ever met a real Joe Green, however.

Who has seen other examples of the CLT (cross-linguist tocayo)?  Years ago I shared a photo of a perfect tocayo I met in the Bogotá airport:  John Emerson García.  Click here if you missed it.


Imagine if Richie Incognito had a neighbor named John Q. Public.  And don't forget the Doe family:  Jane and John.

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  • Racist Harassment in Miami: Richie Incognito (Henry Levin, USA 09/21/19 4:05 AM)
    I was surprised that Ed Jajko (20 September) did not find that Ritchie Incognito, a journeyman lineman, had a history with the Miami Dolphins in which he and colleagues harassed a black player and rookie on his team from Stanford using racist and disgusting threats which drove him off the team.

    It is amazing that any team would want Incognito, a large and strong body with a weak performance who has been hop-scotched from team to team:

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Incognito

    JE comments:  What a disturbing event.  The Wikipedia Incognito article glosses over his treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, but the Martin article goes into detail.  It appears that Martin has led a seriously troubled life ever since, including the posting of threats involving weapons on social media.

    For his part, Incognito has exhibited bullying behavior since his days at U Nebraska.  He's now 36--I'm also puzzled why any NFL team would want to deal with him.

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  • Giuseppe Verdi and (Mean) Joe Greene (Francisco Ramirez, USA 09/21/19 4:31 AM)
    C'mon, John! Have you never heard of Mean Joe Greene, an integral part of Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s?

    And Ed, unless you have inside info, the Warriors are the Golden State not the San Francisco Warriors, though they will soon be playing in San Francisco.

    Next, someone will write about the Dodgers and forget their Brooklyn roots.

    Immigrants from the Philippines and of a certain age know their American sports history.

    JE comments:  Mean Joe (real name:  Charles Edward Greene--how did he become Joe?) may not have excelled at opera like his Italian namesake, but he was an outstanding performer both on the field and in popular culture.  Greene's "Hey kid, catch" Coca-Cola commercial is on every all-time greatest list.

    Thanks, Chiqui!  I am mortified by my oversight.

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