Initially, I delayed writing about Margaret Laura “Mila” Hager’s name until I found out that Margaret was Henry Hager’s mother’s name. That clue got me started on the path of trying making sense of the name and the smoke and mirrors that surrounded it. The name and the cover story struck me as a mystery to be solved. If you read my first post, you’ll notice I figured part of it out as I went along. Now I realize a key clue was right in front of me, and I initially missed its significance. Fact is, I was almost as faked out as everyone else.
Let’s start at the beginning:
1. Jenna and Henry Hager named their daughter Margaret Laura “Mila” Hager. That’s the name they announced to the news media.
2. They claimed they had named her after their mothers, Margaret Hager and Laura Bush.
3. However, they said they would call her “Mila” (a name they put in quotation marks as though it were a nickname like Elvis “the Pelvis” Presley). But — no matter what it says on the child’s birth certificate — for all practical purposes, her name is Mila.
4. They also said that Mila was a combination of Margaret and Laura. But if that were true, they would have picked the name “Mala,” which is a short form of Magdalene. Since many still believe that the biblical Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, the name “Mala” could be problematic. Also, “Mala” is the female form of the Spanish word for “bad” or “evil,” and since Spanish is widely spoken in the Bushes’ home state of Texas, a name like “Evil Hager” wouldn’t do.
5. Fact is, Mila is a short form of Ludmilla and other Russian and Slavic names with a “-milla” suffix. And the most famous Mila at the moment is Mila Kunis, a beautiful and talented film star who was born in the Ukraine, is known for her roles in movies like Friends with Benefits, Black Swan, Date Night and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and was voted Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.” That’s all A-OK with the younger generation like Jenna and Henry, but it’s not exactly the “Mom and apple pie” image that the two Georges, Barbara, Laura and the rest of the Republican Old Guard are likely to warm up to.
6. And this leads me to believe it is quite possible that Jenna and Henry decided to name their daughter after Mila Kunis and subsequently came up with the charming “cover story” that they had named her after their mothers.
7. And if this is true, they may have conned Mila’s grannies and they certainly faked out their tradition-bound families and fans by announcing that the baby’s name is Margaret Laura (on her birth certificate) but that they (and everyone else) will henceforth call her Mila, claiming it is a combination of the two names. No, it’s not! (This turns out to be the clue I didn’t fully appreciate in my first post about this name.)
8. Mention Margaret, and I think of the late Margaret Thatcher, with her permanently pouffed hairstyle that is suddenly all the rage in the weeks after her death. Funny, I don’t remember the go-getting yuppie women of the ‘80s sporting Thatcher hairstyles back when Thatcher was in power. They would have thought it laughable.
9. Mention Laura, and I think of the gracious, lovely and long-suffering Laura Bush.
10. Mention Mila, and I think of Mila Kunis. Don’t you?
11. So, who are Jenna and Henry kidding? To some extent, their families. And, to a large extent, the gushing press and the Republican Party. And the lady who wrote me an angrily worded note wondering why I wasn’t touched by the poignant gesture of naming Mila after her two grandmothers.
12. Truth is, I wasn’t quite as touched as my critic was, because I don’t believe Mila was named after her grandmothers.
13. I think Jenna and Henry named Mila after Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive,” Mila Kunis!