Top "Charol Shakeshaft"!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Dec. 13 2005 6:02 PM

Top "Charol Shakeshaft"!

Wherein readers are invited to submit a name that comments on the bearer's occupation.

Since the New York Times is unwilling to stoop this low, it falls to me to express the regret every patriotic American must feel that when the Department of Education got around to assigning a study on "Educator Sexual Misconduct"—a report in which more than 40 percent of all student-identified wrongdoers were found to be women, their targets predominantly male—it gave the job to a scholar named "Shakeshaft."

The eerie tendency for people's names to express or somehow comment—often inappropriately—upon their chosen professions is a lifelong interest of mine. At the age of 11, I wrote Mary Ann Madden, proprietor of the New York Magazine Competition, to suggest a contest identifying people with such names. I forget the examples I cited and also the reason Madden gave when she wrote me back saying the idea wouldn't really work for New York. But I remember, verbatim, Madden's postscript: "Zoltan Ovary is a gynecologist in Manhattan. Honest Injun."

This was 1969, the year of Portnoy's Complaint and the American release of I Am Curious (Yellow). Still, the sexual revolution had not progressed to the point where an 11 year-old boy—even (if I may say so) an unusually bright one—could be expected to know what a gynecologist was. My mother set me straight—she may also have clarified my fuzzy understanding of what an ovary was—and I savored the thrill of being mistaken for an adult. I hasten to absolve Ms. Madden (who ended up running the New York Magazine Competition for an additional 31 years, retiring in 2000) of any suspicion that she engaged, however inadvertently, in Columnist Sexual Misconduct. Our postal liaison left no discernible psychological damage, and today some of my best friends are gynecologists.

In homage to Ms. Madden (and also, after a fashion, to Dr. Shakeshaft), I invite readers to submit real names that express or comment on the bearer's occupation. Please send entries (under the subject heading, "name contest," and with proper means of verification) to All entries must be received by noon EST on Dec. 14.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059


Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How in the World Did Turkey Just Get 46 Hostages Back From ISIS?

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.