Saturday, February 24, 2018


Funny Business


Mark Fraser

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This was from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. One wonders then why he did not make Romeo the woman and Juliet the man. They might both have smelled as sweet but one can imagine a little boy growing up with the name Juliet and other little boys mocking him with, “Wherefore art thou Juliet” and other hurtful things. He would certainly have no problem denying his father (and mother), refusing his name and giving up the Montague without a problem.

It is a pity that Johnny Cash was after Shakespeare’s time. He had a song about “A Boy Named Sue” that would have taught Shakespeare a thing or two about names and their impact on people, especially boys. Boys will be boys if they have boy names. They will be very angry and take out their anger on the world if they have girl names. As the song goes, “My daddy left home when I was three/ And he didn’t leave much to ma and me/ Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze./ Now, I don’t blame him cause he run and hid/ But the meanest thing that he ever did/ Was before he left, he went and named me ‘Sue’.” Poor Sue, “It seems I had to fight my whole life through./ Some gal would giggle and I’d get red/ And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head,/ I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named ‘Sue’.”

I figure that the only thing worse than Folsom Prison or being named Sue, is giving a boy a name like “Jean”. Not the French name “Jean” pronounced “Jah” but “Jean” pronounced “Jean” like in Levi’s blue. My own experience growing up in Trinidad is that any name can be distorted with intent to humiliate but “Jean” as a boy-name is enough to make you sue, your parents particularly.

I first met Jean Holder when he was at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and found out that despite his exalted position and the power he wielded as Director General, he did not pronounce his name “Jah”. Later on, discussing how tough it might have been for a youngster growing up in Barbados or any other country with what we would call a “girl” name, one of my colleagues made the point that it leaves people with a lot of anger and many needed psychiatric attention. Looking at the suave Jean Holder in action I told my friend that I was sure this particular jean did not need a shrink. He was pre-shrunk.

Jean then became the chairman of LIAT. This is at best challenging and, as these days demonstrate, very rough almost as tough as the life of the boy named Sue. LIAT is falling apart One Piece At A Time and it has created a Ring Of Fire for itself. Instead of Sunday Morning Coming Down, it is not going up. Twenty-five Minutes To Go and the incoming aircraft is still stuck somewhere else. The airline is not Busted but bust.

Still LIAT has attacked Sir Richard Branson for “liking” a letter that humorously but accurately dissects the airline’s operational incompetence. Now LIAT is upset with the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for criticising them. Increasingly they are Cash-strapped and it is becoming clear than Holder and Brunton are more like Sparrow’s Jean and Dinah than Sue, round the corner posing and although you already “ketch them broken” they still making a row.