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Name Of The Year First Round: Bulltron Regional

Graphic: Kristen O’Callaghan

Vinay Pimplé doesn’t need your sympathy.

Many of our NOTY candidates have overcome the challenges brought on by their magnificent monikers—bullying, bigotry, baristas unable to spell their names on a cup—but even among that crowd Vinay has exceptional grit. His family’s name, properly pronounced to rhyme with Vinay as pim-PLAY, was subject to poor transliteration by an pockmarked imperialist, forever blemishing them with an acneiform association.

At 10, Vinay lost his vision. Despite being blind in a world built for the seeing, Vinay participated in theatre and found academic success. After a master’s degree in India, Pimple popped up at Rutgers for a PhD in English literature. In time-honored tradition, he dropped out, learned to code, and set off to California. Not content with these credentials, he went on to law school at Berkeley and became a fixture on the face of the Richmond, Calif., community: volunteering for adult writing programs, working as an immigration attorney, and donating gallons of blood.

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Pimplé spread to politics seemingly by accident. When longtime city councilman Tom Butt became mayor in 2015, Pimple was appointed to the seat once occupied by Butt’s you-know-what. He found himself caught between factions of the Richmond political machine torn over corporate development and gentrification. At one heated hearing about housing, activists brought signs reading “Vinay is a Pimplé on Tom’s Butt.” That night, a councilperson shouted in his face and mocked him for his blindness.

Pimplé squeezed out the term, but last November, the comedonally-named commissioner fell nine votes short of a second stint on City Council. Now, as the Bulltron Regional’s seven-seed, he has a chance to avenge last fall’s fiasco. To take his place in naming history, he will have to pop past Ionosphere Torres, a Maryland mom accused of falsifying her address to send her children to D.C. Public Schools. The voting for Vinay Pimplé vs. Ionosphere Torres, as well as the other seven Bulltron Regional matches, is below.

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For updates and more from Name of the year, follow us on Twitter. Got a nomination for 2020? Send it to nameoftheyear@gmail.com.

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