Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Boy's names: Pushing the Envelope

Time, February 13, 1956

Felix Houphouet*-Boigny is the first Negro ever to hold Cabinet rank in France.

* "Houphouet" is a Baule word meaning "pit for excrement". His father's parents, desperate when their first four children died in infancy, adopted the tribal custom of giving the fifth child a name indicating that he was unloved, unloveable and worthless, to divert the evil spirits that had taken the first four. The local sorcerer recommended Houphouet. "It worked," said Houphouet-Boigny, who, like all his descendants, must forever bear the name which saved his father.

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