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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Another Trygve

posted by on September 4 at 10:23 AM

State Rep. Jamie Pedersen and his partner Eric welcomed their son last week, and I tossed up a post about the happy news—and the SGN’s “Victory in Europe!” treatment of it—on Slog yesterday. Jamie and Eric chose the name Trygve for the kid, and their choice drew some comments. It’s a cool name—hey, what boy won’t want to be known as “Trigger”—but I’ve never encountered the name anywhere else before.

Until late last night. I’ve been reading William Shirer’s Berlin Diary. Shirer, of course, is the author of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a huge, sprawling book about the Nazi Germany. (ECB just finished reading it for the first time.) Shirer was a correspondent for CBS—hired by Edward R. Murrow herself—who lived and worked in Berlin in the years leading up to the war. Unlike Rise and Fall, which was published after the war (ka-duh), Berlin Diary was published in 1941, when the Nazis were pretty much winning the WWII. It’s fascinating reading. Shirer was in Austria during the Anschluss, for instance, and reading his description of Vienna as the Nazis took over—homegrown Nazis and German imports—will make it impossible for you to enjoy Sound of Music ever again.

But this is what leapt out at me last night: In his diary entry for October 29, 1939, Shirer takes a looks into “what Germans are reading in these dark days.”

Among the three best-sellers are: (1) Gone With the Wind, translated as Vom Winde Verwehlt—literally ‘From the Wind Blown About’; (2) Cronin’s Citadel; (3) Beyond Sing the Woods, by Trygve Gulbranssen, a young Norwegian author. Note that all three are by foreign authors, one by an Englishman.


So from never having encountered the name Trygve before to encountering it twice in the same day—once in the Seattle Gay News, once in William Shirer’s Berlin Diary. I’m not sure what it signifies, but it spooked me.

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And don't forget Das Nummer Eins on the Nazi Berlinerzeitung Best Seller Liste:

1. Eugenics and You: A Love Story

Posted by New Yorker | September 4, 2007 10:30 AM

I've never ever run into anyone who's heard of my middle name. Poor me.

Posted by Michigan Matt | September 4, 2007 10:41 AM

There seems to be a resurgence of Norwegian, Swedish, Irish and Celtic names in Seattle these days.

The days of John, Mike and Dave seem to be over -- at least for now. Move over for Kalen, Kielan, Torfinn, and Ryder.

Posted by Just John | September 4, 2007 10:57 AM

Trygve B. Pedersen (born July 26, 1884 - died August 14, 1967) was a Norwegian sailor who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

He was a crew member of the Norwegian boat Stella, which won the bronze medal in the 6 metre class (1907 rating).

Posted by iwanttobealion | September 4, 2007 10:57 AM
Posted by David | September 4, 2007 11:02 AM

There's a word for that -- when you notice an oddity that was always there, just because something called your attention to it. It's related to the psychological phenomenon where people think there's more accidents or babies born because the moon is full.

Understanding common fallacies and logical errors would make The Stranger a better paper. A less inaccurate paper, I mean. A less grossly inaccurate paper, I mean to say. Write a letter to "Ask Science," and learn all about it.

Posted by elenchos | September 4, 2007 11:05 AM

You've never heard of Trygve Seim? Shame.
Surely one of the greatest saxophone players alive today.

Posted by Katia Roberts | September 4, 2007 11:20 AM

You know it's interesting: I'm reading The Rise and Fall for the first time this summer as well. Seems to be something a lot of people are suddenly looking at.

I suppose the ongoing collapse of the PNAC is bound to evoke those sorts of images in peoples minds.

Posted by Judah | September 4, 2007 11:28 AM

hey Dan, read some history: Trygve Lie, first secretary general of the United Nations, who ushered in the fine tradition of brilliantly named UNSGs, including Dag Hammarskjold, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and, of course, myself.

Posted by U Thant | September 4, 2007 11:30 AM

By the way, it's "From Winde Verweht", translated as "Blown away by the wind"..."Vom Winde verwehlt" would translate as "The wind dialled a wrong number".

Posted by Scandinavian Name | September 4, 2007 12:27 PM

Berlin Diary is great. It's worth reading, in my (twister) mind, about every year or so. I wish it was a longer book.

Posted by brappy | September 4, 2007 12:38 PM

If you're enjoying "Rise and Fall," (which is actually a pretty flawed work) and "Berlin Diary," you should read "End of a Berlin Diary." It recounts Shirer's travels in Europe at the closing days of the War.

The most memorable line, to me, was when he got to Nuremburg: "It is completely gone!"

Posted by Dean P | September 4, 2007 12:40 PM

I'd be pretty pissed at my parents if they gave me a name that few could pronounce on sight. I'm not that crazy about Andrew for that matter.

I used to work with a cute gal named Xochitl (pronounced Sawchee) and while it is a totally rad name, it just caused never ending problems and questions that you get really bored with answering over and over and over again.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 4, 2007 1:06 PM

Albert Speer (Hitler's favorite architect) wrote "Inside the Third Reich" - equally fascinating.

Memory poorly serves, but I recall on the foreleaf of Shirer's "Rise & Fall..." a quote by Goethe:

"Ah, the Germans - so estimable in the individual and so wretched in the generality."

ps: there must be 100s of Trygves running around Ballard and Poulsbo.

Posted by KY. COL. of TRUTH | September 4, 2007 1:32 PM

At least they didn't name the kid Quisling.

Posted by Greg | September 4, 2007 2:46 PM

Another one of the occasional indications that Dan isn't a Seattle native. ;) I'm about Dan's age, and when I was a kid there was still a strong Scandinavian influence here, so there were still Trygves (mostly older) and Oles and Bjorns all over the place. In Ballard you used to hear lots of the older ladies chatting with heavy Norwegian or Swedish accents. I think that's disappeared over the last 30 years as the immigrant generations have passed on.

Posted by litlnemo | September 4, 2007 3:03 PM

I went to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I knew a Trygve, as well as Nels, Lars, Rolf, and more Marins and Karins than could fit into a 10' x 10' room.

My favorite last name from that time of my life was "Schwinghammer." Schwing!

Posted by leukothea | September 4, 2007 3:07 PM

The only Trygve I've ever known was my great-grandfather, a Norweigan who lived in Cleveland most of his life, who towards the end of his life said very little other than "uff da!"

I've entertained the idea of using Trygve for one of my (future) kids, actually. It's unusual without being ridiculously out there. It's really not a hard name to pronounce-- it's simply trig-vee.

Posted by zoe kentucky | September 4, 2007 3:39 PM

The first Trygve I met was Trygve Lode, on the usenet group (he hosts the group's webpage at has significant overlap with & alt.polyamory. I met one of my sweeties there, actually. :)

Posted by jenk | September 4, 2007 6:51 PM

Dan thinks Ballard is famous for taverns and the only reason he comments about a certain Trygve is because that certain Tryve had his picture in the SGN first.

Great name, second to Olaf for males in Ballard.

I live in Ballard, changing rapidly, all the old ladies mentioned above are dying off. Sounds flat around here now.

Posted by lee wong | September 4, 2007 10:25 PM

"By the way, it's "From Winde Verweht", translated as "Blown away by the wind"...

Well, strictly speaking, it is "Vom (not "From") Winde Verweht".

"''Vom Winde verwehlt" would translate as "The wind dialled a wrong number".''"

That would be "Vom Winde Verwählt (not "verwehlt")", and a better translation of that would be "Misdialed by the Wind"

Posted by Patrick | September 5, 2007 9:37 AM

Well,I knew that :), but phonetically, there isn't much of a difference here between ä and e.

Sorry for the From Winde...typo there.

Posted by Scandinavian Name | September 6, 2007 1:31 AM

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