What’s in a name?

Some parents have to be original at all costs when it comes to choosing a name for their children. But if they go too far and their choices border on child abuse, there are ways in which the Law can intervene. Here’s a little world tour of names rejected by local administrations.

 A little less than a year after the September 11th terrorist attacks, a Turkish couple got told they wouldn’t be able to call their son Osama Bin Laden in Cologne. In 2009, a New Jersey couple was unable to baptise their son Adolph Hitler. In Sweden, parents tried to protest against the rigidity of the national laws governing the list of officially approved names by calling their child Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116. It was vetoed by a judge, as was Metallica, Ikea and Q&A.

 New Zealand is one of the strictest countries when it comes to names. In New Zealand there is a Black List of names established to try to avoid any susceptible harm to be caused to a child. There are 77 names in total with gems such as: Lucifer, Anal, . (Full Stop), V8, Sex Fruit, Queen Victoria and also 2nd, 3rd or 5th (for parents who are really lacking imagination). In 2008, a family tribunal ordered that a 9 year old girl should be renamed. She was called: Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. The judge had cited the social handicap inflicted on children by the parent’s choices and given other examples such as: Number 16 Bus Shelter and Midnight Chardonnay.

 Twins seem to stimulate fertile imaginations. To be sure that their kids would have sea-legs, a couple from Brittany tried to call them: Port side and Starboard. As you do. In New Zealand, newborn twins have been named Benson and Hedges because it is every parent’s dream to have people evoking cigarettes when first meeting their children. Presumably. There is also a set of twins in England (where else) going by the names Fish and chips. In Belgium, a set of twin girls barely escaped being called Vagina and Clitoris; the parents were very upset by the interference of the law at the time.

 Still, some dubious to say the least, names slip through the net, law interference or not. There is an adorable little Google girl in Sweden, as Mum just loves the search engine. To thank Mark Zuckerberg and pay tribute to the social media’s important role in the Arab Spring, an Egyptian man has decided to call his first daughter Facebook. In the same vein, Israeli parents have named their daughter Like.

In the US and Great Britain people are rather tolerant when it comes to names. Frank Zappa’s daughter is called Moon Unit. Jason Lee’s son is Pilot Inspektor. It all makes Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter Apple sound totally reasonable.

Still, being mocked, laughed at, taunted, made fun of and even bullied because of your name has never killed anyone……..has it? 


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