Saying they chose the new names as a tribute to their Italian and German heritage, and to help with future business and political plans, identical twins Scott and Matthew Wurgler have changed their names to Sacco and Vanzetti Vandal.
You may (or may not) remember that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Massachusetts in the early 1920s. The case was controversial because the evidence was relatively weak and because of possible prejudice against Sacco and Vanzetti, who were Italian immigrants and anarchists, neither group being particularly popular among the non-Italian-immigrant-anarchist community which continues to rule America to this day. The two men were executed in 1927. The case remains controversial, although many believe the trial was unfair and that the defendants were innocent. August 23, 1977, was declared Sacco-and-Vanzetti Day in Massachusetts, which probably made everything okay as far as the executions and all.
The “Vandals” that Scott and Matthew apparently intended to honor were, as you know, a tribe that started out in Germany but then migrated through Spain to North Africa and Sicily. They sacked and looted Rome in 455, which is where we eventually get the term “vandal” as referring to a person who migrates from somewhere far away in order to come and break all your stuff. Which is also the meaning almost everyone would attach to the last name these guys now have.
So how this particular combination of names is going to help the twins in their future business or political plans is unclear, as the judge who did the name-changing pointed out. “If the applicant is using the name change to make a social commentary, it is a subtle one,” he said. “Most people won’t ‘get it’ without a short history lesson and a long social commentary.”
“Vote for the Vandals” maybe is not the best campaign slogan, but I look forward to seeing it one day.