By Bob Groeneveld
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
William Shakespeare placed that profound observation on the lips of fair Juliet as she bemoaned the unlucky parentage clash between herself and handsome Romeo.
I’ll give old Bill his due, as far his rosy take on nomenclature applies to Romeos and Joes and, yes, perhaps even Ralphs and Eddies.
But when it comes to Donalds, a whiff of something else – something decidedly less palatable than your average rose garden variety smell – has been increasingly messing up the air of late.
Just as Donald Duck has been anointed the annoying fool to offset the wisdom and/or pleasantries of his amiable colleagues within the company of the Disney menagerie, Donald Trump seems to have been appointed to a similar position among American presidents… and now Donald Cherry reveals himself the chief purveyor of annoyances within the Canadian sporting establishment.
Okay, Cherry’s recent intolerant poppy-immigrant indiscretion is hardly a revelation to those who – tiring of his intolerant rantings – stopped taking him seriously decades ago.
But Donald Trump didn’t appear out of nowhere, either.
Inexplicably, like the duck, both Trump and Cherry have accreted solid fan bases that they were able to cement in place through years of carefully, yet thoughtlessly doing and saying things that normal people found abhorrent.
That they have peaked within a similar time frame – decades after Duck’s heyday – is probably purely coincidental.
But what is it about Donalds, anyway?
What is it about the name that the makes people branded with it so prone to being dimwitted jerks capable of attracting huge followings of like-minded simpletons?
Intrigued, I did some deep research in keeping with the culture that has spawned the Donalds of the Trump and Cherry persuasion and encourages their controversial personalities to fester among us.
I googled “Donald”.
I added “meaning” to bypass the pages and pages of Trump buffoonery that naturally arose from my initial query.
The result raised the level of intrigue… and also added a tinge of despair.
It turns out that Donald is probably a linguistic bastardization of the Gaelic name Domhnall.
Why Domhnall evolved over time into Donald, and not into Dumb Nail which seems both semantically more similar and certainly more apropos, was not explained in any of the information Google found for me.
What struck me as at least a tiny bit frightening, in light of Trump’s disturbingly influential position on the world stage, is that Domhnall means “ruler of the world.” That’s hardly a harbinger of a rosy future.
Less historical entries in the Urban Dictionary express a more palatable view of the world’s ruling-class Donalds, particularly of the Trump and Cherry varieties. According to that august source, Donald has become a euphemism for any selfish, intolerant a-… no, I shouldn’t say it in a family newspaper.
Hmmmm… Who would have thought, in contemplation of Shakespeare’s sweet-scented rose, that a Cherry blossom by any other name might smell as foul?