Solstice fun: Brown and Whitman's birthday personalities

The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

I’m probably going to get into all kinds of trouble for this post, but seeing as today is the summer solstice, and I have hay fever, now (as I wait for the antihistamine to kick in) feels like the perfect moment for fun with politicians’ personalities, beginning with California’s gubernatorial candidates, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.

“Many people have long suspected, as astrologers believe, that the day you were born affects your personality,” states the dust jacket of The Secret Language of Birthdays (Penguin, 1994). This weighty 832-page tome claims to be a guide to personality based on “psychology, history, numerology, tarot and astrology.”

So, what light, if any, does this tome shed on Brown and Whitman?

We learn that Brown and the Buddha were both born April 7, a birthday this tome characterizes as The Day of Enthusiastic Belief. (William Wordsworth, Billie Holiday, and Francis Ford Coppola apparently also emerged on this day)

Whitman, who was born August 1, shares a birthday with Yves St. Laurent, Jerry Garcia, Moby Dick author Herman Melville and Claudius 1, (who became Roman emperor after Caligula’s murder), a day the Secret Language of Birthdays characterizes as The Day of Original Style.

“It is not uncommon for April 7 people to reach a point in their lives when they can spiritually progress no further and have to make a very big change,” states the tome, which actually includes Brown in its list of famous April 7 folks. “If April 7 people pass through this crossroads, well, they are capable of even greater success in their life. They may feel less impelled to throw themselves at the world, and instead allow the world to come to them.”

“April 7 people do well in public positions in which they can inspire others to higher achievement through their own example,” the tome concludes. “They should continually work toward being realistic in their view of everyday life, and must not be carried away by illusions. They should also avoid reacting in an angry fashion if their expectations are not met by others.”

As for Whitman and other August 1 people, the tome claims that, “Not content with the knowledge that they are the best in what they do, they must force others to this realization either through the quality of their work or the sheer persuasiveness of their personalities. They may suffer many setbacks, frustrations and disappointments along the way, but rarely give up on their endeavors.”

‘Those born on August are not the easiest people to get along with,” the tome warns. “Since they themselves are the only boss they tolerate, they are generally unsuited for jobs where they must work with superiors…Those born in August 1 are often caught up in the middle of a swirling world of controversy. No matter what they do, they seem to arouse the interest and sometimes antagonism of others.”

Okay, well there you have it with the fun stuff. And now that the antihistamine finally feels like it's working, I’m ready to enjoy some politically meatier stuff at Politics Verbatim, a website California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting just launched “to hold California's two major gubernatorial candidates accountable in the most straightforward way possible: by collecting and categorizing the promises, proposals, arguments and attacks that they make on the campaign trail.”  (But don't forget to watch out for the personalities behind the promises: They could just be each campaign's (not so) secret weapon.)