Francis Di Domizio wrote:
Also didn't realize we had a candidate who is actually a Nimrod
... Who does that to their child? Other than 3 generations of this guy's family, I guess.
, according to the Bible, was a king in Mesopotamia. He's linked with the beginning of construction of the Tower of Babel, but mostly he's described as being a great hunter and warrior.
Up until the 1930s, this association "Nimrod = mighty hunter" predominated. To call someone a "Nimrod" in ca. 1900 America would be to call them a great sportsman or outdoorsman.
I think Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd managed to single-handedly turn this around. Fudd, of course, is portrayed as a hunter, but he's also a fool and a moron. So when Bugs refers to Elmer Fudd as a "Nimrod", it kind of shifts people's mental association of the word from "hunter" to "moron".
This is a bit of a problem for those of us in the post-Bugs-Bunny generation, because losing the older sense of the word cuts us off from some of the cultural capital we inherited.
For example, one of the most profoundly moving pieces of music ever written is Edward Elgar's "Nimrod" (Variation IX from the Enigma Variations)
. It's a standard
at British equivalents of US Veterans' Day ceremonies. Elgar used the title "Nimrod" as an allusion to his friend Augustus Jaeger, because in German "Jäger" means "hunter". Jaeger helped rescue Elgar from a bout of severe depression at one point. But to those of us who grew up watching Bugs and Elmer Fudd, it's hard not to laugh when we open a concert program and see this deeply moving theme stuck with the label "Nimrod".
By the time that Calvin calls Susie Derkins a "Grade A nimrod" the original meaning (a mighty hunter) has been totally obliterated, at least for Americans:
But in Britain, "Nimrod" still suggests a warrior or hunter. See, for example, the RAF's Nimrod
series of patrol and electronics-intelligence aircraft.