Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Life of Brian. Why Brian?

Russian version here.

There was a programme today about our brain. Contrary to the popular view, the brain apparently keeps on developing when other parts of the body start losing its youthfullness.

I've probably reached that stage, because it's only now that I asked myself: why Brian in Monty Python's Life of Brian is called that and not some other name?

I flicked through numerous dictionaries and sites and couldn't find anything idiomatic about Brian.  Nor in the reminiscences of the members themselves. Monty comes from a fictional dodgy bookie. But what about Brian?

I started asking around and immediately got a surprising reply: Brian is stupid. As in a school teaser. To call someone Brian is to call them stupid. It looks like it's a specifically British middle-class usage, and probably also generationally restricted to those who are now in their late 40s-mid 50s.

There is a Stupid Brian in the British TV sitcom My Family. He turns out to be not that stupid when it comes to practical matters, just like fools in some folk-tales.

Let me know if there is more.

Here's Brian trying to join the People's Front of Judea:

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