Thursday, May 04, 2006

What's in a Name?

OK, I've had enough with the cynical exploiting of the fact that Stephen Colbert is the number one topic in the blogosphere at the moment. I've said all I need to about Stephen Colbert. Just because mentioning Stephen Colbert means that new people might find my blog I'm not blogging about Stephen Colbert today.

Stephen Colbert.

What I really want to blog about today is how some parents make me angry because of the stupid names they choose for their kids. Now, a lot of people will say names are a personal thing and there is no right and wrong. To a degree, they're right. Names are personal - for the kid. I have a simple rule when choosing kid's names: will it get the kids beaten up at school? This is not even a recent problem - anyone remember Johnny Cash singing "A Boy Named Sue"? If you can't honestly answer that the name isn't going to result in noogies and swirlies for years on end, then you're staring down the barrel of a cheap-ass nursing home. Kids will get their revenge, it's only a matter of time.

But if you really want to make me angry, spell a name wrong. My daughter has a traditional Irish name that a lot of people seem to have a real fetish for spelling wrong. They don't spell it "differently", they don't spell it "creatively", they aren't being "individual" - they're wrong! I could spell "chair" as "Khaiyre" and that wouldn't make me creative - it would make me a bad speller.

It's bad enough calling a kid Salange, Jayleen or Shaniqua (all real names of people I've met) but spelling names wrong is opening up a world of pain. These sorts of names don't make your kid "memorable" to people, at least not in a good way. People don't remember made-up names and they don't remember how to spell misspelled names. People will end up having conversations about that go "And how about whatshername, you know, Weirdy McWeirdname."

And you get to look forward to a lot of christmases alone wondering why your kids never visit. It's because they're in bars abusing their stupid fucking parents for ruining their lives. And they're looking for the shittiest, most disease ridden nursing home in the world to lock you away in.

To end on a light note: have you ever met someone with a funny name and you realise the parent probably didn't consider it was funny? Because their parent's minds weren't as twisted as yours? I went to school with a girl called Kerry Hunt. If that isn't funny to you, look up spoonerism on Wikipedia.


Dr. Nazli said...

Oh you are irredeemable Mr Angry!

You will appreciate this: I am not too pedantic, relying on spell check, but when one has a Persian name like Nazli, one soon realizes that spell check can be serious trouble!

Actually I went to school with a boy called "Office" and a girl named "Punish". No spoonerisms here ;-)

pigeon weather said...

Oh those Irish names. My neighors have a little girl name Aislinn. That's pronounced Ash-lynn. Who is ever going to spell that right?

Fulumirani said...

Oh but come on! My real name is NOT Fulumirani, but I do have an unusual Bengali name and I never got beat up. I was just happy that the teacher didn't mix me up with the eight other Sarah's and the twelve other Mike's in the class. True, there were pronunciation issues that caused some flushed cheeks but I GOT OVER IT. No rat-infested old folk's homes for my dear parents. I just insist that a name has some sort of significant meaning--that won't lead to slit wrists in the future.

So all in all, unusual names are fine by me!

thanks for the read,

Fulumirani ---> aka, Shoilee.

Mr Angry said...

Dr Nazli: no prizes for guessing what the spell-check suggested for your name. I have actually had "quirkiness" and "kinkiness" suggested for my name, so maybe the spell-chekc knows something about me.

Tom: Yes, Gaelic is fun, although my daughter's name is much more straightforward.

Shoilee: I am all for ethnic names. I used to get upset at pop stars with names like Sade (shar-day) and Siobhan (shiv-awn) thinking they were pretentiontious. Then I realised I was being a bit of a cultural imperialist, asserting there was only one way to pronounce things. I do think it's silly when people invent names they think sound exotic which are plain dumb.

zenstar said...

i'm just going to mention 3 names here, two of which you'll probably know and one that is uniquely south african...
1) moon unit
2) dweezle
3) fullgentsroom

Mr Angry said...

Zenstar: At least Zappa had an excuse - he had severely damaged his brain with drugs.

Michelle said...

Sometimes it seems that parents don't really think when they name their kids. They're going to be in school for about 15 years, it seems mean to do anything that could possibly make it more difficult than it will certainly otherwise be.

It can be difficult though, it might be easy to just pick a typical name that everyone knows, everyone can spell and every second kid in the class has, but as a Michelle, I grew up with at least 2 other girls of the same name in every class or group I was ever in, I wished my parents had given me a Czech name, something like Jana, Dana, Hana, one that everyone can learn easily enough.

Blueprincesa said...

Yeah... sometimes parents who give their kids names like "Tiphany" seem a bit pretentious, too.

beatnikzblog said...

this topic is an all time fave of mine- simply cuz I know how frustrating and annoying it gets when people even with decently adequate IQ pronounce AND spell my name in 10 different ways. The only version they miss out on is the original one.

Here's a funny incident- Once a friend and I went to watch the 1st day 1st show of some movie,n on our way back, a journalist caught up with us and asked us the reviews. I, for one, was very glad to do so, simply in the hope of seeing my name the next day in that newspaper. No prizes for guessing what happened the other day- the lady converted my name into that of a male's!! So i always make it a point to spell first and then pronounce my name- its S H U B H I u fuckers!!

Mr Angry said...

Michelle: I think that simple rule: will this name get your kid beaten up? doesn't occur to some parents. Ethinc names are always good, I work with a Greek girl who has cousins name Toula. Soula and Roula.

Blue: Yeah that sort of thing seems kind of sad and desperate.

Beatnik: Make sure to actually say to them "spell it right u fucker!' - you need to get their attention