This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Name Game (or, "There Oughtta Be a Law...")


Don't particularly like 'em. Don't particularly trust 'em.

Not in this country. Not in any country.

I mean, what the hell, a great percentage of them start out as lawyers, right? And what does that tell you?

However, having said that, I must add that while I ordinarily resent the intervention of the government -- meaning the government in this country and the government in everybody else's countries -- in a great many instances... there is one law that needs to be passed as soon as possible, in virtually every country on the planet:

Celebrities Should No Longer Be Allowed to Name Their Own Children.

(And by "celebrities" I pretty much mean actors/actresses and musicians, and other so-called creative types.)

No, really. Look at the freakin' evidence. Just when we thought the worst "crime" Ashlee Simpson would ever be guilty of would be lyp-synching on Saturday Night Live or being an Owen Wilson lookalike, she names her baby "Bronx Mowgli Wentz."

Chris Rock says that a dad's number one duty is to keep his daughter "off the [stripper] pole." ("I mean they don’t grade fathers, but if your daughter is a stripper you f***ed up.”) No. Your primary job as a father -- and as a mother as well -- is to avoid purposely doing anything which will make your child's life rougher than it's gonna be anyway!

It pretty much started in the psychedelic sixties, and wasn't confined so much to famous people. I'm sure that, due to a bunch of over-eager nurses who were taking notes as hippie mothers-to-be were being wheeled into the delivery room, there are more than a few birth certificates proclaiming the arrival of "Ohwowiamsostonedman Johnson," or something similar.

And there are more than enough people out there who want their children to have unique names, although quite often, they achieve that uniqueness by taking a relatively normal name and changing a letter or two.

School Administrator: We'll be more than happy to enroll your daughter, Mrs. Smith. [staring at paperwork on desk] Umm... Three "Z's" and a "Q?" How do you pronounce that?

Mrs. Smith: "Ann."

But I digress.

The following is a list of names I cribbed from somewhere on the 'net. The original list was longer than what follows. I only used the names which 1) I think are kinda stupid or 2) names I have a comment or two about, after the list. Here goes:

Apple: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Audio Science: Shannyn Sossamon
Aurelius Cy: Elle Macpherson and Arpad Busson
Blue Angel: U2's The Edge and Aislinn O'Sullivan
Bluebell Madonna: Geri Halliwell
Fifi Trixibell: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates (also parents to Peaches and Pixie)
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily: Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence
Hopper: Sean Penn and Robin Wright
Jazz Domino: Joe Strummer
Jermajesty: Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza (previously married to Jermaine's brother Randy)
Kal-El Coppola: Nicholas Cage (Kal-El is Superman’s original birth name)
Memphis Eve: Bono
Moon Unit: Frank Zappa, also father to Dweezil and Diva Muffin
Moxie CrimeFighter: Penn Jillette (also father to Zolten)
Pilot Inspektor: Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
Sage Moonblood: Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack (also parents to Seargeoh)
Satchel: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

And my snide little notes?

"Apple" is usually the one people think of first when this subject comes up. However, looking at some of the others on the list... Apple doesn't sound so bad.

"Blue Angel" and "Memphis Eve" are the children of musicians who gave themselves weird names, too -- or did you think U2's guitarist is holding onto a birth certificate that actually says "The Edge?" -- so what the hell did you expect? Besides, in their own ways, I think both names are kinda pretty.

I have nothing against "unique" names. What I object to are the ones that are the equivalent of pinning a "Kick Me!" sign on the kids' backs as you send them off to school.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. "Jermajesty?" What the hell were they smoking? Cute play on words, but as an actual name? How about "Jerdadscareerisoverkid?"

"Moon Unit." Hello? Frank Zappa's kid? Again, what the hell did you expect? The man lived in his own universe, fer cryin' out loud. (And that's a compliment!) Slap "Zappa" onto the end of any outlandish name you want, and I, for one, will buy it. (" 'Anally-Probed-By-Aliens Zappa?' That works. Cool.")

"Satchel." Spike Lee named his daughter after the baseball pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige. Woody Allen named one of his kids "Satchel" as well... but his child was a boy. Maybe it's an unusual name, but when it's done as a tribute to someone who already had the name himself (even if it was a nickname), can you really fault it?

I skipped one in the alphabetical run-down in order to save the "best" for last: "Moxie CrimeFighter," Penn Jillette's daughter.

I really hope Penn Jillette and his "baby mama" -- I don't know if she's his wife, girlfriend, or what -- aren't the type of parents who use a child's full name when they admonish him or her in public.

One of the reasons I cherish my own mother is that she never did that to me. She stuck to the first name. If she'd screamed "David! Michael! Lynch!" every time I acted up when we were out somewhere, I know I'd hold a grudge, and probably a permanent spot on some therapist's couch.

And I'm one of the ones who likes his middle name.

Besides, what would you think if you heard some pony-tailed, beefy silo of a man screaming "Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette!" at the top of his lungs?

"Hello, 911? There's some lunatic in WalMart yelling about soft drinks, superheroes, and razor blades! I think you'd better send the police and/or an ambulance!"

Why do I feel so strongly that in twenty years or so, we're going to be hearing about a frightening number of oddly-named adults being arrested for physically abusing their parents?

Thanks for your time.


  1. Ha! Very well done. Of course, you might have suspected what's coming next from me: I LOVE (love) the name "Moxie Crimefighter." How much stronger could you make a little girl than to name her that? Moxie!

    Your points are very well taken, but here's an asterisk or so:

    1) I've had a belly full of Britneys--which is worse, the overused name or the bizarre name?
    2) Okay, okay. If the bizarre name is still worse, there's always this. On the battlefield known as the playground, roving bands of wolverine children (well, not even that...any basic normal mischief-maker) can pervert ANY normal name and turn it into a horrible, horrible curse. A good, basic name doesn't ensure much anyway. Karate lessons are always good.
    3) And: Yesterday I JUST read this story...which kinda fits right in with your post:

  2. "How much stronger could you make a little girl than to name her that? Moxie!"

    Yeah, but aren't you making her strong the same way the father did in "A Boy Named Sue?" And even allowing for "Moxie"... "CrimeFighter?"

    1) I'd lean toward the bizarre name being worse than the overused name, but we have to find some use for "a belly full of Britneys!"

    2) "[C]hildren... can pervert ANY normal name and turn it into a horrible, horrible curse." Precisely. Parents should remember that, and thus, "avoid purposely doing anything which will make your child's life rougher than it's gonna be anyway!"

    3) Great thinking there, Mr. & Mrs. Freeborn, naming a daughter "Wild." Can't wait to see her hit her teenage years!

    I'm also a bit concerned about the "parent who remains involved in Girl Scouts even though his three daughters are well into their 20s."

  3. I caught the GC reference, tho' you did alter it quite a bit. Bravo work, David( clapping hands )! FZ may have been a trifle upset. You know how he was on about his kids names. But they do work well in his universe.

  4. Mmmm...I continue to see your point, but I'm standin' by Penn anyway. "Moxie" is spunky-sounding and cute, and I'd rather have a Moxie Crimefighter than a bevy o' Britneys any day. (Practically speaking, I betcha they just call her Moxie. As you note, Crimefighter is a bit of a mouthful to use to call someone in to dinner.)

    I maintain: Life can be equally rough for a kid regardless of whether she is called Mary or Hedgeblossom. In fact, sometimes the Hedgeblossoms have an easier time than the Marys, strangely (I'm thinking of kids I knew in school with unique names)--perhaps because they care less about what people think from the get-go. Like: "You're gonna make fun of my name? Whatever." But: It all depends on the individual child and, most importantly, whether the child has good parents--which goes far beyond their choice in names. The Zappas? I betcha they were great parents. Their kids all seem pretty cool.

    Note: I'm not crazy about the name Fifi...too poodle-y.

  5. What "GC reference?" (I assume you mean George Carlin.) I didn't write anything in that post that I can recall him ever saying, or else I would have just quoted him like I did Chris Rock. Maybe it's a routine I never heard? Clue me in, please. I don't want anybody thinking I'm re-working someone's stuff without crediting them.

  6. I'll bet the Zappas were great parents, too, and I don't think I said anything to insult him. In case I left ANY doubt, I was & am a fan of Frank Zappa, and -- not that he needed my permission -- I approve whole-heartedly of every name he gave to his kids. I would have expected no less from him.

    As far as little Moxie, I'm sure they don't use her middle name in ordinary conversation. The article just listed first and middle names, probably because most of the weird names are followed by equally weird middle names.

  7. I don't know, I named all my wee ones nice normal names. But some of the unusual ones work with girls. For some reason not so much with boys.

    Maybe we except different "pretty" names for girls.

    Most the different names I meet are older names. Pagan names. I heard one mom call out "Ares" once. I thought, was the god of war the best choice? She was pregnant with a baby in the pram and the tot running around. I didn't ask the other's names

    Maybe she was just a hippie, she was dressed like one.

    I thought I posted this in the AM. I forgot to hit enter. Duh!

  8. I am with Sparkle, Moxie is spunky.


    Let's see....

    Dragon warrior
    and little Dandelion.

    HA HA HA.

    ; P

    So there.

    Sparkle did put it well, children are cruel and they will find any reason to pick on others.

    Some of my kids got picked on, I got picked on, my very normal name got twisted. Some of my kids still get picked on. They find their way.

    It's funny most of us name ourselves something unique on line. I wonder if the unique named people just use their real names thinking no-one will guess.

    Remember in my mind there was 12 hours between my two comments.

  9. The Mrs. Smith part? GC-you can spell your name any way you want to;S-M-I-T-H but it's pronounced "Jamonfski",don't worry, all the letters are silent!

    Well not sure on the Slavic spelling but that's what it sounded like. Damn if I remember what album it's on, just the bit he did!

  10. I hate it when parents give their kids strange names.

  11. SubTorp: (thought I'd answered this already) 99.9% of the time, I give credit where credit is due. I'll say, "as Sam Kinison said," or "to paraphrase Dennis Miller," etc. I heard that Carlin routine you refer to a million years ago, but in all fairness to me, I think it's kind of a stretch to say that my routine was his, "altered a bit." I've actually been saying the "Ann" thing since the mid-90s, when a friend who swore she hated names with "CH" having a "K" sound came up with the names Zachary, Nicholas and Schuyler... which she changed to Zakkary, Nikolas, and Skyler! (And yes, I know the Carlin bit came much earlier than the mid-1990s. That wasn't my point.)

    If I seem overly sensitive on this point, just wait until someone reviews one of your poems by saying "It's obvious that you're a fan of Linda Lipschitz. I recognized her style immediately." And Linda Lipschitz is someone you've never even heard of! ;-)

  12. What no link? I guess I can google this Linda Lipschitz...

  13. I'm sure there are Linda Lipschitzes out there, but mine was made up for the sake of example. I didn't want to name a real poet because I myself wasn't suggesting your style is derivative of anyone else's! Dude, why do you always take what I say on Blogger so seriously? I know you in the real world; you have a great sense of humor. So, whuzzup, bro? Do I have to put a smiley face on the end of everything I write? Cake would never forgive me!

  14. Sorry David. But there are still some rough spots I'm working with. I guess I've not been in a fun mood, as of late. Call it a funk. Call it a dark, dreary Monday. To personal for here.

  15. No apologies necessary. I do know some of what's been going on. Besides, even if I'd been REALLY upset, "Come ooooon, seven!" would have more than made up for it!

  16. Then you have assholes like my mother who names me something like Keair and spends my entire childhood calling me Rachel Anne. Where the hell she even came up with that? I have no idea. None. Why she didn't name me something plain if that was what made her happy? Again, beats the shit out of me. What a freak! lol


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