They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
(I originally posted this on The American Catholic, and I thought the Literary Mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)
As I slave away in the law mines, I take my flashes of amusement where I can find them. One thing that has often amused me is the bizarre names that people these days often curse their children with. I often find when questioning the mother that the name was from some television show, film, video or song, often with a spelling variant to ensure that the child will be a special little snowflake and have his or her name misspelled for the remainder of the time God allots the child in this Vale of Tears.
Naming kids after a fictional character has always struck me as bizarre: real people always being so much more interesting than two-dimensional fictional puppets.
An example of the drawbacks of naming a child after a fictional character has been illustrated this week by an interesting little literary-morality tempest being played out this week. Harper Lee, a one book wonder, To Kill a Mockingbird, has released another book, Go Set a Watchman. The story behind this book is perhaps more interesting than the tome itself. Ms. Lee, 89 years old, lives in an assisted living facility, and is perhaps in her dotage. Go Set a Watchman was written in 1957, the year of my birth, before To Kill a Mockingbird. It was rejected by a publisher at the time as showing promise but not ready for publication, an accurate assessment I think. That the book is now being published 58 years later might cause some to suspect the motivations of those now in control of Ms. Lee’s affairs, since for more than a half century she made no effort to have this early work published. No doubt a book about the behind the scenes machinations that led to the publication of Go Set a Watchman will be forthcoming eventually, doubtless not written by Ms. Lee, alas. More on this below the fold, with spoilers in regard to Go Set a Watchman. (more…)