Ed Driscoll

What's in a Name?

At Power Line, John Hinderaker spots this telling passage regarding “Barry’s Imaginary Girlfriend” from his college days:

It was striking to me that when Genevieve met Obama he was a 22-year-old college graduate, but hadn’t yet figured out what his name was. In high school, he had generally been called “Barry,” but by this time he apparently was looking for something more formal:

She called him Bahr-ruck, with the accent on the first syllable, and a trill of the r’s. Not Bear-ick, as the Anglophile Kenyans pronounced it, and not Buh-rock, as he would later be called, but Bahr-ruck. She said that is how he pronounced it himself, at least when talking to her.

I find that very odd. Think how fundamental a part of you your name is: when you were in elementary school, did you have any doubt about what to call yourself? At 22, Obama was still trying out names.

And even as late as age 37, he may have still be trying them out. Note that in the 1998 poster and press release for the “World Premiere” of “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky,” uncovered in Andrew Breitbart’s last article, the future 44th president was billed as State Senator “Baraka Obama.”

Was that a typo, or was Barry/Barack/Baraka still taking new names out for a spin?

Related: “So What Else Did Obama Fake in his Memoir?”