Morning name: The Right Honourable The Lord Rees-Mogg

… as Baron Rees-Mogg of Hinton Blewitt was to be properly addressed (from 1988 until his death in 2012). Before that, he was just William Rees-Mogg, of The Times:


From Wikipedia, some snapshots from a life:

William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg (14 July 1928 – 29 December 2012) was an English journalist and public servant. He served as editor of The Times (1967–81), chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, and vice-chairman of the BBC.

… He criticised, in a 1967 editorial entitled “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?”, the severity of the custodial sentence for Mick Jagger on a drugs offence.

… Having been High Sheriff of Somerset from 1978 to 1979, he was made a life peer in 1988 as Baron Rees-Mogg of Hinton Blewett in the County of Avon [and so was then properly addressed as The Right Honourable The Lord Rees-Mogg]

… Writing in The Times in 2001, Rees-Mogg, who had a house in Somerset, described himself as “a country person who spends most of his time in London”, and attempted to define the characteristics of a “country person”… By [that time] his liberal attitude to drugs policy had led to his being mocked as “Mogadon Man” by Private Eye. [Mogadon is a trade name for the hypnotic drug nitrazepam] The magazine later referred to him as “Mystic Mogg” (a pun on “Mystic Meg”, a tabloid astrologer) because of the perception that his economic and political predictions were ultimately found to be inaccurate.

Rees-Mogg was a Roman Catholic, with five children (including a daughter who writes novels under the name Emma Craigie and two children active in Conservative politics).

(Private Eye continues to report seriously on official misconduct of all kinds and to produce over-the-top satire of public figures, though it no longer has the prominent place in British consciousness it once did.)

Mogadon Man and Mystic Mogg are entertaining plays on Rees-Mogg’s name, but in my mind he was always the Cat Man of Fleet Street: William Rees-Moggie.

American readers might not recognize the noun moggie. From NOAD2:

Brit. informal a cat, especially one that does not have a pedigree or is otherwise unremarkable. I have three other cats (two moggies and one Bengal/Tonkinese cross). ORIGIN late 17th cent.: variant of Maggie, pet form of the given name Margaret.

(The name Maggie brings with a crowd of associations: Maggie Thatcher, Maggie the Cat from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Stephen Crane’s Maggie, a Girl of the Streets, the fine actor (Dame) Maggie Smith, the 2015 post-apocalyptic horror drama film Maggie (with Arnold Schwarzenegger!), Maggie Gyllenhaal, the linguist Maggie Tallerman, Maggi noodles, the Three Magi, a possible sister Maggie to Molly (“Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!”) Malone in Dublin’s fair city, …)

Back on moggie, Mark Liberman’s 3/13/16 Language Log posting “Cat phonetics” has a nice section on the word. And then there’s the cartoon The Moggie Brothers. The 2004 announcement on the Moggies site:

Introducing a brand new cartoon strip called The Moggie Brothers by cartoonist Paul Wilcox from Nottingham, United Kingdom.

It’s about two streetwise cats, and their hilarious world where anything goes.

They haven’t been given names yet, but you can tell them apart, one has a white tummy. From time to time they will be joined by some of their friends from the block where they live.


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