Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

It’s three names
and you’re out

YOU knew the president was finally in big trouble when the news media jackals started using all three of his names.

It's like, as soon as you go to trial, your middle name is dragged out of the closet, dusted off and thrown over you like a moth-eaten overcoat.

When Clinton was having his little fling with Monica Lewinsky, he was just plain old Bill Clinton to the media. Suddenly, he has burst into full flower: William Jefferson Clinton. As names go, that's a biggie. It's heavy as a wheelbarrow full of rocks. It also contains the faint odor of past presidents (which I suspect was intentional). It adds weight to the proceedings, just in case Mr. and Mrs. Middle America don't understand that what is happening now is a Big Deal. You'll know Clinton is in even bigger trouble when they start adding "Esq." to his name. That will be the kiss of death.

Criminals always have three names, such as James Earl Ray, John Wayne Gacy and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Makes them seem more evil, I think. The nice, quiet guy who lived next door might be named Joseph Hackforth. But once he's arrested, he's suddenly Joe Bob Hackforth, the loner serial killer.

It kind of makes you want to you ditch your middle name. You know, just in case you screw up down the road. One day, everyone's calling you Chuck, Charley or Chas and then all of a sudden there's some big guy in a suit at your front door asking for "Charles Gustavus Memminger."

Gustavus, there's a sinister middle name. You don't see the name Gustavus pop up much, except on the witness list at war-crime trials in The Haque.

Could be worse. My parents might have named me Lincoln Washington Memminger. How'd you like that baggage? Lotta pressure with a name like that. Let's face it, you're either going to become president or, well, a loner.

WE haven't heard Monica Lewinsky's middle name. Yet. Women have to be careful using their middle names. Strippers and wanton women are principally known for using three names, like Gypsy Rose Lee, Mary Lou Retton and David Lee Roth.

The media generally don't give female criminals three names. It looks weird. Lizzy "Ray" Borden. Leona "Wayne" Helmsley. Imelda "Bubba" Marcos. It doesn't work.

The media probably won't use Monica's middle name because she is more of a snitch than an infamous criminal. She may end up being responsible for bringing down a president. So you could say she's sort of a presidential assassin, but not with the usual choice of weapon.

The media use nicknames for snitches instead of middle names. Like, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. I don't know what Monica's snitch nickname would be but I've got a lot of ideas. And just about all of those would make Larry Flynt blush and so are unprintable. The nicest ones that come to mind are Monica "The Stain" Lewinsky and Monica "Harmonica" Lewinsky. Or maybe Monica "Creep Stalker" Lewinsky.

There's a lot of speculation that Hillary Rodham Clinton might dump the caboose on that name train as soon as William Jefferson Clinton is out of office. She'd be just Hillary Rodham. Unless any more women come out from under WJC's bed. Then a homicide might ensue and she could become Hillary "Lizzy" Rodham. ("Lizzy Rodham took an ax and gave William Jefferson Clinton 40 whacks ...")

You have to wonder if William Jefferson Clinton would be in so much trouble now if his parents had just named him Maurice. No middle name. Just Maurice Clinton. Car salesman. No one named Maurice will ever be elected president. Or Gustavus, for that matter.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or

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