Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge has been in the news a lot this week. These stories were all very serious issues that merit very serious discussion by very seriously-minded people. As I’m not a particularly seriously-minded person, however, I feel more comfortable turning my attention to something altogether more glib, trivial and frivolous.
Namely, so to speak, Lord Judge’s name.
It does seem slightly odd (to me, at least) that someone with the surname Judge ends up becoming the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. This would seem to support the theory of nominative determinism, whereby a person’s surname helps to influence their choice of career. If your surname is ‘Judge’, the theory goes, then you’ve spent so many of your formative years being referred to as ‘Judge’ that you’re going to be subliminally conditioned and/or subconsciously predisposed to pursue a career in the legal profession. Of course, with us human critters being the fairly complex engines of infinite possibility wot we are, things don’t always work out this way. Just ask Judge Reinhold from the Beverley Hills Cop movies.
Reinhold notwithstanding, Lord Judge isn’t the only example of nominative determinism. I first became aware it in the 1990s when New Scientist coined the term and it subsequently became a regular topic in the magazine’s Feedback section:
We recently came across a new book, Pole Positions – The Polar Regions and the Future of the Planet, by Daniel Snowman. Then, a couple of weeks later, we received a copy of London Under London – A Subterranean Guide, one of the authors of which is Richard Trench. So it was interesting to see Jen Hunt of the University of Manchester stating […]