Bruce Dykes bkd at GRAPHNET.COM
Fri Jul 27 07:27:46 UTC 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 21:05
Subject: Re: "gomer"

> In a message dated 07/26/2001 6:02:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> douglas at NB.NET writes:
> > I suppose there's a reason for "Clem Cadiddlehopper" rather than "Clive
> >  Cadiddlehopper", for "Jethro" rather than "Jeffrey" on "Beverly
> >  Hillbillies", for "Li'l Abner" rather than "Li'l Alfred", etc.
> "Jethro" and "Abner" are both BIblical.  "Homer" is of course Classical
> (actually pre-Classical) Greek.  All three are recognizable to the average
> English-speaker as plausible given names but are not common enough that
> average person is likely to have met any number of people bearing those
> names.  All three of them supply humorous effect by the ironic contrast
> between the highfaluting intellectual quality of the name the the
> of the hick to whom it is applied.

I've chalked it up to nothing more than (not unfounded) Hollywood
stereotyping: "Appalachian hillbillies? That means they have biblical names.
Except for the attractive daughter, who has to have a doubled name like
Ellie May, or Daisy Lou, of course."

I say not unfounded, because in an environment where the family Bible may
well be the only printed matter in the household, used to teach reading, and
the center of social activities, it will likely be a source of names, too.
And I'm sure this all well studied and documented.

As well as the Beverly Hillbillies, you also have Mama's Family, and many
rustic episodes of The Twilight Zone to demonstrate Hollywood stereotyping
by name.

Even better though, you can read Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories,
set in rural Appalachia...


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