December 27, 2004

Naming the dog.

In Canada, the biggest sitcom in years, according to the NYT, features a family that has a dog named bin Laden. I read this out loud, and John says, "Does that mean they like bin Laden or are they trying to insult bin Laden by giving that name to a dog?" I say I don't know, and this leads to a discussion of how some cultures think it's insulting to be made the namesake of a dog. John remembers that people in India were offended when President Bush named his cat India, and that one man had said "How would he feel if we named our dog Bush?" I say, "Bush would probably think it was nice." John notes that Doc in "Back to the Future" named his dog Einstein, and that clearly was not intended to disrespect Einstein. I say, "Still, Bush ought to have people to advise him about things that happen to offend people in other countries."

For more on the politics of that Canadian sitcom, read the article ("The show's edgy satire and depiction of a poor family taking on the system seems to capture the mood in Quebec in these days of scandals"). I'm thinking the Canadian sitcom makers named the dog bin Laden as part of a pattern of inappropriate behavior by this sitcom family. And I'm thinking actual bin Laden fans don't think it's a compliment to name a dog after him.

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