My list of Bush appointees (and staff) is now up to about 1,700 from the State Department and USDA alone, and so far most of the latter is only from 2004 (via the '04 Plum Book), so I clearly have a ways to go.
But as I collect these names, it occurs to me that I don't yet know anything about the vast majority of these people: That will come at a later stage in the research. Still, it is philosophically interesting to me, the fact that I find myself becoming familiar with these names - these abstractions not yet tied to any specific person (at least in my own awareness). In fact, I find that some names have personalities of their own, and I seem to enjoy running into some more than others. (Can you tell I don't get out much?)
Some names just have a flow to them, or a quirky but appealing texture that gives them some kind of aesthetic value all to themselves. They're not mere designations for convenience, but characters that suggest something. I have no idea as yet whether the people behind them have any resemblance to the "feel" of their names - they could be great people with shitty names, or unholy pigs from Satan's asshole with beautiful names. Given the subject of my inquiry, I have to assume the bulk of them will lean toward the latter regardless of how pleasant I find their names, but for the moment it's fun to play.
Actually, some of them are quite entertaining. Here are some of the names I find myself taking pleasure in seeing (if you look them up, don't tell me anything about them - I want it to be a surprise when I get to that stage of the research):
Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat
Aurelia Erskine Brazeal
Miles Teel Bivins
Blanquita Walsh Cullum
Eli Whitney Debevoise II
William Stamps Farish III
Rockwell Anthony Schnabel
Constance Albanese Morella
Earl Norfleet Phillips, Jr.
Margaret DeBardeleben Tutwiler
I get a little thrill whenever I run into names like these, because I find them hilarious. No offense to anyone around here who might have a similar name, of course.
Anyway, I've also been cogitating on giving my project a name. I already know what the title of the book will be (assuming the ultimate publisher, knock on wood, agrees), but I think the process should have its own name. Just to indulge my inner 12-year-old, I'm thinking of calling the broader program "Operation ______," like it's some grandiose thing, and giving each stage of the process a name in the format "Project ______." This would let me call these diaries something more interesting than "Book Project Diary."
In fact, I've also been wondering if it would be worthwhile to start a website specifically to promote the process, disseminate information, and solicit documents from people who have already gone through the FOIA process. I suppose I should leave that decision until I actually have something to report other than the random brain farts that flit through my brain when I type funny names.
Book Project Diary 4: Jackpot
Book Project Diary 3: Carly Fiorina Pals Around With Halliburton Executives (& Other Musings)
Book Project Diary 2: Feeling Like A Schmuck
Book Project Diary 1: Awed By The Magnitude