Sunday, January 25, 2015

Meldrim Thomson, Jr - Wandering Ruminations.

If one goes to look up Meldrim Thomson, governor of NH in the 1970's, by checking Bing Images, one gets a curious result. There are pictures of Mel, but also of David Souter, Louis Wyman, and my pal Chuck Douglas. If you click through, they are not just in there because they are associated with the Governor, which frequently happens on image searches.  It is actually Souter's photo in the sidebar at Bing. There are web sites with pictures of the others, identifying them in the captions as Thomson. Bizarre.

David Souter was Attorney General under Thomson, which was part of why John Sununu recommended him to President George H W Bush as a reliably conservative SCOTUS nominee.  Or, if you believe the scuttlebutt of Concord lawyers, it was how Senator Warren Rudman convinced Sununu, even though Rudman knew otherwise.  But Souter looks nothing like Thomson.

Louis C. Wyman, governor of and Senator from NH at least looks a bit like him, and was a Republican of the same era.  Louis is no close relation of mine, BTW, though our family joked that when I was a boy.  I learned a few years ago that my mother once dated his campaign manager. Yes, NH is a small state, and was smaller then. But you'd think that would make it easier to keep people straight, not harder.

Chuck Douglas, once Congressman from NH, and a member of the very small church in Concord we went to until it closed, looks even less like any of them - and is later in the political picture of NH. How someone thought he was Mel Thomson is just strange.

If anyone were to be confused with Thomson, I would have predicted William Loeb, publisher of the very conservative Manchester Union Leader.  He was a big Thomson supporter, and they were often on the dais together.

Thomson came up because Grim over at Grim's Hall was commenting about a politician in Georgia being away without explanation.  It reminded me of Mel, who had strong ties to some very right-wing groups, and was much involved with national and international issues.  He would therefore go places like Panama or South Africa while he was supposed to be working in NH.  Conservatives did love him, but in NH you had bettah attend to business heah, mistah, and not go gallivantin' all ovah creation.  It's not like there were import international trade issues that needed on-the-spot addressing. I think it was all the attention-seeking that eventually did him in up here.


Christopher B said...

My wife is consistenly misidentified by Facebook's "tagging" suggestions as her sister even though they don't appear to be significantly similar in facial features to my eyes. My wife is relatively shy about uploading and tagging herself in photos but less so about doing it for her sister, neices, etc. I sometimes wonder if this (along with probable mis-identifications in other photos) has confused the FB database as to exactly who is who.

I wonder if something similar might be going on with those photos. There are likely a lot more photos of Mr Thomson with those folks than Mr Thomson alone. This might confuse Bing's algorithm, which is likely similar to FB's, especially since neither of them are probably that sophisticated. If they are largely relying on 'crowd sourcing' identification then the errors might be come self-perpetuating as people unfamilarly with NH politics post the wrong picture for Mr Thomson. My guess about Mr Loeb would be that he's sufficiently famous to have a significant database of correctly identified pictures, and probably to have some effort put into ensuring that the wrong picture doesn't come up under his name.

Michael said...

Need to correct one fact - Louis Wyman was never governor. Meldrim was not a popular figure at UNH while I was there. He and the Union Leader weren't fans of the state university. Mentioning Louis Wyman reminds me of two things - his razor close finish against John Durkin for Senate in 1974 which resulted in a new election - and his consolation prize when he lost - a seat on the NH Superior Court. I may have appeared in front of him once or twice.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You are correct. He was a Rep before the Senate, not the governor.

Bill and Mel weren't fans of a lot of things, and a lot of folks weren't fans of them. "Polarising figure" summed it up.