October 11, 2005

Womble Hopper Hall

There's a famously camp sculpture on the University of California campus in Berkeley, a delirious life-sized brass depiction of a couple of half-dressed muscular football players entwined in a heroically homerotic pose (par for the course with American football, of course...). I walk past it several times a week on my way up to Telegraph Avenue.

It's one of local sculptor Douglas Tilden's better-known works, produced for the University in the late 19th Century (Tilden was a man who deserves his own statue -- totally deaf, he became the first native Californian sculptor to establish a reputation for himself outside the state). As it says on the Gay Bears site, it delights and amuses knowing sophisticates now -- but that's not the point for me. On the base of the statue there's a list of names:
Craig Whipple Greisberg
Cornish Athearn Pringle
Womble Thane Hall
Kaarsberg Smith

Hill Whipple Greisberg
Cornish Athearn Pringle
Womble Hopper Hall
Kaarsberg Smith
Given my ... thing ... about American names, and without a clue what the statue was celebrating, I was never in doubt these were real names -- canonical American names, even -- and quickly adopted the name "Womble Hopper Hall" (occasionally "H. Womble Hall") as a pseudonym (yes, I have a lot of them, as many as the different personae I use for the different roles). I liked the idea that he had a brother, Womble Thane Hall, and Kaarsberg Smith sounded like a useful name to keep in mind for other projects, too (very masculine sounding).

It took me literally years to crack the code... (I've never been the sharpest tool in the toolshed).


At 9/18/2006 6:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I give, What *is* the code?

just walked past this statue today, wanted to speak all the names outloud, googled "womble thane hall" and found your post....

At 9/19/2006 4:35 pm, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

Not much of a code, really -- just twenty-two ordinary names I thought were eight splendid names...

At 9/19/2006 6:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm -- doh! (i didn't get it either. sheesh. thanks)

yrs for big long names with lotsa consonants....


At 11/27/2009 9:09 am, Blogger Jenny Jo said...

I looove this statue. I searched on "womble hopper hall" looking for the list of names you kindly provided, as I wanted to use them as inspiration for some fictional American names. I laughed when I saw your post, because I always looked at it exactly the same way. I think "Cornish Athearn Pringle" is my favorite. Old Cornish Pringle...what a guy!

At 11/27/2009 5:49 pm, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

Yeah, what a guy! "Cornish Athearn Pringle" always sounds rather upper-crust Back East to me :-).


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