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 chatterbox@slate.com. 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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?