G is for George

I have a useful template for devising hilarious statements about people whose names can also be used as nouns for other things. For instance: Alan Partridge is not a real partridge; Dr Liam Fox is not a real fox; Bob Crow is not a real crow; Edward Tufte is not a real squirrel; you can’t use Frank Zappa to adjust your television.

George Osborne has been in the news, right, because he is like the chancellor, of the exchequer. He does chancelling, yes, in a chancel, isn’t it? He lives in London, I expect, because that is usually where the politicians live.

The thing about him is, you can’t say “George Osbourne is not a real Osbourne”. Even if you can, it won’t make a lot of sense, because an “Osbourne” is not a thing beyond the context of being a surname. So my useful template is useless here.

He does look a bit like a badger, such that even though his surname isn’t Badger, it would be helpful to remind people that he isn’t one. But there is another thing about him: “George Osbourne is not a real George.” By which I mean that his real name is Gideon George Oliver Osbourne.

“George” Osbourne is a liar. He’s been lying to us. Because when someone says their name, it’s expected in Western cultures that the first name is followed by the last name, and that’s that. Osbourne has not met those expectations. But it’s clear that he doesn’t like the “Gideon” name, so what’s a man to do?

I’ll tell you what a man’s to do. Moments ago, into my face fell a book that had been written by Somerset Maugham, who is someone who writes books. But it was not by “Somerset Maugham”; it was by “W Somerset Maugham”. From this fact, we can learn several other ones. We learn that Somerset is not his actual first name, that instead it’s one beginning with W (probably Walt, Willie or Wendy). But we also learn that, just like the chanceller of the exchequer, he prefers his middle name. And that’s fine, since he has the decency to include the first initial, which serves as a helpful indicator that there’s something else there. So why shouldn’t Osbourne do the same? Why not “G George Osbourne”?