Scaramuccia and Scaramouche

From the linguist who wrote Last of the Annamese:

When I read of the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci (nicknamed “the Mooch”) as White House Communications Director, I was struck by the similarity of the name to a stock commedia dell’arte character, Scaramuccia or, in French Scaramouche, a cowardly buffoon. “Scaramuccia” by itself in Italian means “skirmish,” and the character’s name is sometimes rendered “little skirmisher.” In English, “Scaramouche” means a rascal or scamp.

Early reports on the effectiveness of the revised communications system are not encouraging—see today’s Washington Post front page headline: “Message misfire follows overhaul.”

Given the current state of the Trump White House and the endless bickering between the president and the press, I can’t help but wonder if the name of the new Communications Director presages even more skirmishes.

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