Editor’s Scratchpad

What’s in a name?
A lot, actually

Hawaii has its first female governor, who's known as Linda Lingle. Her family is proud. But Lingle isn't her family name. Technically, she's Gov. Linda Cutter Cockett Lingle. A couple of ex-husbands are getting name recognition. Doesn't seem quite fair.

And if she marries again, will she change her name? All that government stationery changed at public expense?

The problem, now that women are achieving high office -- and divorce is so commonplace -- is the Western practice of the wife taking the husband's last name. It can become baggage. But if a woman keeps her maiden name, it makes it difficult to name the kids, if there are any.

No one's figured out how to get around this problem. It just seems strange that a person of accomplishment, such as the governor-elect, will assume office tomorrow under what is essentially an assumed identity.

Of course, Lingle can call herself whatever she wishes. She can be Gov. Lingle, or Gov. Linda, or Gov. Moon Unit if she wishes. Whatever fits best on a bumper sticker.

Burl Burlingame

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