Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Mailman! Mailman! Mailman! Woohoo! – Dave

Hello, beloved BoFN fans! It’s true – at long last, your trusty postal person has returned for some good times. Today, I bring to you my longtime favorite-named international diplomat: former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Mr. Boutros-Ghali has been my fave UN SecGen since the moment I heard his name in high school social studies class – not for any real globally impactful reasons, but just because it was the most amusing anthroponym I had encountered in my then-short life.

My precious* Boutros

Just call me Boutros!

Despite the humo(u)r of this delightfully reduplicated name, I’m sure you’ll be as disappointed as I was to learn that his life and career weren’t nearly as funny. To add insult to injury, the odd collections of O’s and U’s means it doesn’t even result in a wealth of great anagrams (unless “Boil a ghost, sour turbo!” does it for you, that is). Nonetheless, the great series of tubes we know and love has pulled through again to find us some facts, as it always does.

How U doin?

How U doin?

Young Boutros was born in Egypt in 1922. His name translates into English roughly (and amazingly) as “Peter Peter-Precious,” and was passed down from his grandfather Boutros Ghali, who was Egypt’s Prime Minister from 1908-1910. Upon learning how to walk, Precious Pete quickly set his sights on higher things, like inspiring a satirical British sketch comedy news sign-off, being interviewed on Da Ali G Show, and becoming the first UN Secretary General to not be elected to a second term. All those accolades aside, he also did some more normal international diplomat-worthy stuff, like being a Fulbright Scholar and serving as Egypt’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. His actual time at the helm of las Naciones Unidas, served from 1992 to 1996, was marked largely by events like the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia, and possibly furnishing some $26M in weapons to the wrong team in the Rwandan Genocide… so Da Ali G show doesn’t seem like a such a bad laurel to rest on now, does it? Oh! And his wife’s name is Leia (though she’s not a princess), and he was also once referenced on Friends, in case none of those other things were American enough for you. You’re welcome.

As the lads on Chanel 9 Neus would say, Boutros Boutros-Ghali!




For Amb, Courtesy of Dave

For Amb,
Courtesy of Dave


About Mailman

I like funny names too.
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29 Responses to Boutros Boutros-Ghali

  1. Dave says:

    Yay! So glad you’re back!

  2. amb says:

    Dear Mailman,

    I heart the way you spell humo(u)r. And your Friends reference!

    Love, amb

  3. Liz says:

    crazy stuff–as I seem to keep saying in my BoFN comments,”who knew”? Thanks for the post mailman:-) Can anyone elaborate on the Friends reference? (talking to you, amb 😉 or of course, mm, author of the post!)

    • amb says:

      OK *amb does warm up stretches* Here we go: It’s a Phoebe thing.

      Phoebe goes on a date with a diplomat who doesn’t speak English, and Monica ends up doubling with his translator. The translator is so busy flirting with Mon that he stops communicating for Phoebe. Phoebe calls him on it when her name-dropping of BBG gets missed:

      Phoebe interrupting Monica and the translator getting friendly: “You didn’t say Boutros Boutros-Gahli!!”

      • Liz says:

        and the crowd goes wild…. (cheering noises here). Well done, amb! Don’t remember that part even a little bit, but sounds hilarious:-)

      • Dave says:

        Haha, I love the idea of you doing warm up stretches to explain a Friends reference. It should really be an Olympic sport, and I’m honored to know a potential gold medalist!

  4. Arto says:

    Boutros-Boutros Ghali! My childhood hero. Really, I think a large part of my funny-name enthusiasm started with Pete and that sign-off in the Fast Show, which was incidentally one of my favorite shows growing up. What a blast from the past that was. Mailman delivers yet again!

    • Dave says:

      Wow, it seems like everyone but me has an awesome Boutros Boutros-Ghali story! I am so out of the loop it’s beginning to look like a square! (Damn, that was a good line you came up with!)

      • Mailman says:

        This week’s new episode of BBC’s Top Gear also featured a BB-G reference, introducing one of the hosts as their Minister of International something or other, “Boutros Boutros-Hammond.” And apparently I missed/forgot about a Seinfeld reference…Dave, my point here is that it’s never to late to make a new awesome Boutros Boutros-Ghali story for yourself.

  5. Dave says:

    Just saw the Peter Peter-Precious part. I think that’s a great name for a kid!

    • Mailman says:

      Ah, thank you!! My favo(u)rite part of this whole process was actually when I saw the translations and pieced them together to realize what his english name would be. I giggled for…a long time. I’m so glad it wasn’t lost 🙂

  6. Dave says:

    “Boil a ghost, sour turbo!” – I love the “research” that gets done in the name of funny names blogging. I haven’t thought about applying anagrams, but I’ll have to start soon!

    • Liz says:

      you guys are making it hard to keep up;-) some of us are only beginners.

      • Dave says:

        That’s what makes Mailman so remarkable. This is only her second post. With the first one she broke the “Funny Cities and Town names” barrier and we set a record for hits that day (mostly related to Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragh’s Olympic coverage), and now with the second one she breaks the “Funny named UN Secretary Generals” and “Anagrams of funny names” category. That’s why I’ve been badgering the heck out of her to get back to posting. We’re taking quantum leaps forward 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Liz says:

          but mailman (who is neither mail nor man, if I remember correctly) has been around you and the gang longer than a newbie such as myself is what I’m saying. Am glad for the challenge though as that’s how you grow, yes? Why settle for mere leaps and bounds when they can be Quantum (-:

          • Mailman says:

            Thanks for the props, Liz 🙂 But rest assured, Enough time around these lads (and ladies!) and you’re bound to be a funny name pro, yourself!

      • Dave says:

        Little did you know, 12 hours from this post, you’d have written maybe the funniest FNITN ever. You’re meant to fly with the flock! 🙂

    • Arto says:

      Thanks to Amb’s pingback the other day, I remembered that I’d used that highly work-intensive method on my Judson C. Welliver post. Clearly it was too much research as I never did it again.

      • Dave says:

        Ahhh… so maybe Mailman isn’t the prime innovator. Still, a pretty awesome development!

        • Mailman says:

          I think I can play nice and give Arto some credit for “inspiring” my painstaking anagram activity. I would like to note that I insisted I actually create the one I was going to use before checking out any of the online anagram finders… they all came up empty though so I guess I outsmarted the internet!

  7. metan says:

    Ahhh, that name just rolls off the tongue… Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
    Well done, it has always been one of my favourite funny names!

  8. Welcome back, Dave. You have featured a name in this post that I have ALWAYS found funny. I suspect that when his parents were supplying a name for the birth certificate, they were trying the passed-down name “Boutros . . . Boutros” on their tounge for how it sounded, and that went on the legal record!

    • Dave says:

      It’s actually Mailman who returned after a 6-month absence! I’ve been around (though not as prolifically as I used to now that we’ve brought our new correspondents into town). Thanks for the welcome anyway, and your suggestion could be accurate. I know they used to have illiterate parents point at things in newspapers to choose names for their kids, but perhaps some other blips of the tongue went on the legal record as well!

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