Sein Dopelgänger

Not a typo. The man in question is the elusive David Dennison, a pseudonym of the notorious American sociopath Helmet Grabpussy (who is generally referred to on this blog as [REDACTED]). And his Dopelgänger is the distinguished David Denison, Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics at the University of Manchester (on the other side of the Atlantic).

There’s the 2-n DD and the 1-n DD, and they are laughably, horribly, distinct. The 2-n DD is a creature, the 1-n DD is a teacher. (Apologies to Ogden Nash, llamas, and lamas.)

Multiple tips of the hat to Larry Horn, who wrote to David Denison (with a copy to me) on March 26th, with the hot news about David Dennison. And followed that up yesterday with a wonderful Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon on BoingBoing on the 17th (and the Dopelgänger label).

From the first e-mail from Larry, a link to a New Yorker piece “Does Stormy Daniels Have a Case Against [REDACTED]?” by Amy Davidson Sorkin on 3/7/18, which began:

“[REDACTED] a.k.a. DAVID DENNISON” is the first named defendant in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, in California, in which Stephanie Clifford, who is also known as Stormy Daniels, seeks to have what the suit refers to as her “Hush Agreement” over an affair with [REDACTED] declared invalid. That agreement is between “Dennison,” or “DD”; “Peggy Peterson,” or “PP”; and “EC LLC,” all of which, it notes, are “pseudonyms whose true identity will be acknowledged in a Side Letter Agreement.” (Both documents are helpfully included as exhibits to the suit, although Dennison’s true name is blacked out.) The agreement is dated October 28, 2016, eleven days before the Presidential election. The problem, Clifford says, is that [REDACTED], or Dennison, or DD, or whatever one wants to call him — let’s say the [POTUS] — never delivered a copy of the agreement with his signature on it. And so she no longer has to hush.

In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Clifford had been paid a hundred and thirty thousand dollars for her silence — money that made its way to her via Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for the Trump Organization. Cohen has acknowledged paying the money but said that it was a “private transaction,” that neither [REDACTED]’s company nor his campaign “was a party to the transaction,” and that neither reimbursed him, directly or indirectly.

Larry wrote:

Note in particular the first line.  Yes, [REDACTED]’s pseudonym for the non-disclosure agreement (which he crucially failed to sign or initial when the NDA was drawn up just before the election) was David Dennison.  On the bright side, you’ll be reassured to know that a search for “David Denison” [n = 1] still brings [you] up as the first hit.  Still, I imagine it may have been disconcerting to discover that [REDACTED] is partial to substituting David Dennison’s name for his own (or, of course, vice versa, depending on factors we don’t need to review here) on Hush Agreements regarding with his dalliances with porn stars.  You may wish to ready yourself for office in case your alter ego is forced from office in the next month or two.  (More troubling would be the prospect of the other David Dennison attempting to conduct research on English historical linguistics…)

From that Wikipedia entry on the linguist:

David Denison FBA (born September 1950) is a British linguist whose work focuses on the history of the English language.

He was educated at Highgate School and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he studied Mathematics and then Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, and he earned his doctorate at Lincoln College, Oxford. He was Smith Professor of English Language & Medieval Literature at the University of Manchester from 2008. Since March 2015 he has been Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics. He is a past president of the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE).

Denison served from 1995-2010 as one of the founding editors of the journal English Language and Linguistics. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Languages at Uppsala University. In 2014 he was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the United Kingdom’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.

Selected publications:

D. Denison (ed.). Analysing Older English. 2011. Cambridge Univ. Press.

R. Hogg, D. Denison (eds.). 2006. A History of the English Language. Cambridge Univ. Press.

B. Aarts, D. Denison, E. Keizer, G. Popova (eds.) 2004. Fuzzy Grammar: a reader. Oxford Univ. Press.

D. Denison. “Gradience and linguistic change”. In Historical Linguistics. 1999. John Benjamins.

D. Denison. English Historical Syntax: Verbal Constructions. 1993. Longman.

On this blog, Denison is known primarily through his work on the development of argument structures for the verb substitute (summarized on this Page here).

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the 2-n Dennison front, there’s Dennison IL, Dennison MN, Dennison OH, and Dennison Township in Luzerne Couty PA. The Avery Dennison Manufacturing Co.


Avery Dennison Corporation is a global manufacturer and distributor of pressure-sensitive adhesive materials (such as self-adhesive labels), apparel branding labels and tags, RFID inlays, and specialty medical products. (Wikipedia link)

And innocent men named David Dennison — as in this People magazine piece “The David Dennison Who Shares Donald Trump’s Alias Is Really Confused: ‘Who Came Up with My Name?'” by Diane Herbert on 3/7/18:

David Dennison loves playing jokes and making people laugh. But on Tuesday, he found himself in the unusual position of being the brunt of many wisecracks when porn star (and alleged former Donald Trump mistress) Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump — and revealed the former reality star went by the pseudonym “David Dennison.”

“Yesterday I started getting a deluge of people telling me on Facebook, in texts, some coming from people I haven’t spoken to in years that I am the alias for Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels,” says Dennison, a 58-year-old importer of automotive accessories from Mendham, New Jersey.

“I would love to know who came up with my name,” Dennison says. “If you are going to use an alias, isn’t John Doe or Fred Smith better than David Dennison?”

And before him, an American politician:

David Short Dennison Jr. (July 29, 1918 – September 21, 2001) was an American politician of the Republican party who served in the United States House of Representatives [representing Ohio’s 11th district] from 1957 to 1959. (Wikipedia link)

Then there’s the world of 1-n Denisons. Denison IA, Denison KS, Denison TX, Denison WA, and Denison Univ. in Granville OH. Denison Mines, a Canadian mining company. And also in Canada:

David F. Denison, OC is a Canadian businessman and the Chairman of Hydro One. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. (Wikipedia link)

Plus the Denison smock, a combat jacket:

(#2) Canadian Sniper Sgt Harold Marshall wearing a Denison smock

The Denison smock was a coverall jacket issued to Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents, the Parachute Regiment, the Glider Pilot Regiment, Air Landing Regiments, Air Observation Post Squadrons, Commando units, and other Commonwealth airborne units, to wear over their Battle Dress uniform during the Second World War.

The smock was initially worn over the paratrooper’s webbing equipment, but under his parachute pack and harness, as its primary purpose was to prevent the wearer’s equipment from snagging while emplaned or during a jump. It was equally useful for camouflage and as a windproof garment that provided a method of carrying ammunition or equipment. Contemporary photographs show that airborne troops preferred to wear the smocks under their webbing once they had landed. (Wikipedia link)

Then back in the land of 2-n notoriety, Ruben Bolling’s Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon of the 17th:

(#3) Get Cohen on the Phone!


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