I greatly appreciated Dr. Clyde Wilson’s fine article in the September issue (“Beginning With History,” Views) and located all of the works cited on the War Between the States.  They should be arriving at my politically incorrect home (I have a full-service shooting range out back and harvest deer and turkey on my property regularly) shortly.  Mine is probably the only home in the state of Michigan that flies a 10th Tennessee regimental flag out front (though it is a reproduction and probably Chinese-made).  I love my country and am disappointed with its educational decline even in my lifetime.  Keep up the good work!

        —Dr. James S. Bradford
Kalamazoo, MI

The Views on history by Clyde Wilson, Donald Livingston, and Roger McGrath made the September issue one of the best I have received.  This sort of analysis of history, along with top recommendations in books, is very helpful in my own reading and in the library I am building for my children.  I would welcome more of such essays dealing with various areas of history.

        —Ray Van Neste
Jackson, TN

On Naming Names

As always, Joseph Sobran sees the small details that reveal the larger reality (“Words and Power,” The Bare Bodkin, September).  I, too, had noticed that Americans were no longer naming their sons and daughters after saints but seemed to be choosing names in the manner of an upscale restaurant or a clothing retailer, searching for evocative names for red, blue, yellow, green, and brown.  “Loden, have you met our Taupe?”

The case of “Kate” is amusing.  Somehow it became the archetypal feminist name.  Cartoonist R. Crumb named the head of an imaginary band of feminist commandos “Big Kate.”  When Katie Couric first came to NBC she was Kathy Couric—cute and wholesome and therefore politically incorrect.  Next she was “Katherine Couric”—dignified but old.  Then she was “Kate Couric.”  This no doubt pleased the feminists but perhaps made Joe Sixpack uneasy.  Finally the dialectic yielded up its synthesis in the form of “Katie Couric,” which has so far encountered no antithesis.  (“Kat Couric,” anyone?)

Sobran points out that Jews haven’t succumbed as much to this trend and still give their children biblical names.  I think the reason is that Jewish parents are still proud of being Jews, even if the theological beliefs have dropped away, while Christian parents, perhaps unconsciously, want to distance themselves from the embarrassing fact that they are Christians, or that their parents were.   Perhaps a revival of Christian naming would help to make Christian belief seem respectable again.

        —Peter Henderson
Charlottesville, VA