Monday, July 28, 2008

Evil anagram

I love language. As a kid, I used to read the dictionary for fun. I also was into word puzzles like the Daily Jumble.

As an adult, I developed a fondness for anagrams and palindromes. I’m pretty good at composing them. So recently, for kicks, I decided to do some anagrams of “Barack Hussein Obama.”

The first one I came up with was splendid. It is also... wrong. To wit:

Barack Hussein Obama = A sambo, a shiner, a buck

It started with “sambo,” you see. Because it’s 80 percent there in “Obama.” And then I saw the “buck.”

I knew “shine” was an old-timey insult. But after consulting the Racial Slur Database, I discovered that “shiner” was too. Boom, there it is.

On one hand, I was ashamed. I mean... I support Barack Obama.

On the other hand, this was too good not to share. He could be our first black president, and he’s got three old-fashioned racial slurs right there in his name!

I consulted an old colleague of mine, an expert on humor and a big fan of anagrams. I asked him why the anagrammatic art lends itself to such ignoble formations.

He responded: “Anagrammers are looking for funny, and funny is hostile.”

Yes! Just look at “Hillary Clinton” and imagine what you could do with a B... or a U. (I’d settle for one more T.)


bklyn6 said...

A sambo, a shiner, a buck

Where's the Soul Train Scramble Board when you need it? Ouch!

Maybe you can add that to this list. :P

You know, UBM, you might like

Thembi said...

Ok. "Shine" though? Hilarious. Whats sad is that I bet people said that in McCains day.

Hey UBM, Bet you didn't know that I'm an avid Scrabble player, hunh?

John Sidney McCain=

Jehad's Comic Ninny (I think that spelling for jihad is acceptable)
John's Acid Mein.

Thats all I got.

Daisy K. said...

John McCain = Jam conch in.

John Sidney McCain = Damn, enjoy chic sin.

George Bush = O' he buggers.

George Walker Bush = War geek ogre, blush.

Cindy Hensley McCain = Slimy, enhanced cynic.

Daisy K. said...

Oops, thought of some more:

Karl Christian Rove = Crankier lavish rot.

Nancy Pelosi = Sap on nicely.

(This is addictive!)

Antonio said...

I couldn't imagine coming up with anagrams. How do you do it? Do you just mess around with the letters until something works? How long did it take you to come up with the one for Obama?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ The Obama one took me about 20 minutes. I've always liked seeing words in other words.

And remember those puzzles as a kid where it would be a big block of letters and you had to find the words hidden inside -- horizontally, vertically and diagonally? I was into that too.

Just start moving letters around. It does get addictive, like Daisy K. say.

The fun is finding something naughty (like "buggers" in George Bush... nice!).

The summit is finding something that reflects a theme, and flows real nice.

Undercover Black Man said...

You know, UBM, you might like

Thanks, Bklyn6. Checked it out. Dug it. And now I've got a piece of art to use for my next African Music Weekend.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I should've read the Worldle FAQ first. BAM!

Thanks again, Bklyn6.

Undercover Black Man said...

Where's the Soul Train Scramble Board when you need it?

That's a time-release joke right there, Bklyn6. 'Cause I'm sitting up here at 2 in the morning picturing that... and I can't stop grinnin'...

bklyn6 said...

^ I should've read the Worldle FAQ first. BAM!

I like!

Wordle is a little addictive. :-)

Malcolm said...

Nuts... spend most of the day playing with anagrams.

Phoenetically correct, but one letter off:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton =

A shrill rant, too damn rich, lye on


Thembi said...

UMB, I did mine absolutely wrong. I was taking a nap and drifted into my deskchair and came straight to the comments section, then layed right back down like it never happened. I dont even remember it. Has my nerdiness really led to sleepwalking to participate in anagrams?

Lola Gets said...

Ok, now I feel really stupid. Ive never been good at these things.


Thembi said...

I keep forgetting to let u know I linked to this post here. Hope you don't mind!

Rosie Perera said...

Hey, you're good! You should come share your anagrammatic skills at the Anagrammy Forum, where a bunch of us anagrammatists hang out and submit anagrams and vote for winners in the monthly Anagrammy Awards competition. I've posted your Obama-gram there and given you credit for it.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks, Rosie. I only rarely indulge in the anagrammatical arts... but I'll check you guys out.