Baruch Obama?

Note to wingnuts: Knowing the meaning of your own name is not “elitist.” Not even if the meaning is “blessed.”

David Brody of Pat Robertson’s Christian(ist) Broadcast Network, who says he “grew up Jewish,” is shocked &#8212 shocked! &#8212 that Barack Obama knows the meaning of the Hebrew word baruch, cognate with the Arabic or Swahili barack.

Maybe he should lay off the “blessed” rthetoric a little, right? I mean the last time I checked, the “elite rap” was hurting him.

Glenn Reynolds, who (unlike Brody) comes by his goyische kopf honestly, apparently agrees.

No, really, fellas. Knowing the meaning of your own name is not “elitist.” Not even if the meaning happens to be “blessed.”

Actually lots of people, not all of us Jews, think that knowing stuff is sorta cool. Why does the contemporary right wing place such a high value on ignorance?

Footnote Yes, “Baruch” is a perfectly good Hebrew name, as in “Baruch Spinoza.” Though I must admit that to my ear the Latinized “Benedictus” is more euphonious.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: