Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Name That Child!

The whole subject of celebrity children’s names is a subjective area and one that is entered into with a fair degree of trepidation. It’s much like catwalk fashion, the rich and famous choose names that the rest of us then amend and adapt for our own use. Musicians have always led the field when it comes to crazy names. Although Moon Unit Zappa seems to have inspired no one….yet.

One of the enduring urban legends concerns Jefferson Airplane/Starship partners and lovers, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner. They had a daughter in 1971 and when a nurse asked Grace what the baby was called her response is was that has caused the confusion. “I noticed a crucifix around her neck and spontaneously said, ‘god. We spell it with a small g because we want her to be humble”." In actual fact when it came down to it they named her China. A few years earlier Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas named her daughter Chynna - she later formed Wilson Phillips with Brian Wilson’s daughters, Carnie and Wendy. So even then things were being ‘normalized’ as names were passing into every day use.


r morris said...

When I lived in France, I thought it was strange that the French government had an official list of names for boys and girls and that any child born in France had to be named from that list. However, giving people the freedom to name their own children is fraught with peril.

In addition to the strange names such as Moon Unit (or her brother Dweezel), there is a cutesy new trend to give your kid a name with a totally offbeat spelling. Since I know my wife never reads my blog, I can go ahead and tell the story of her brother and sister-in-law's oldest daughter, who is now five. The name 'Georgia' is a pretty name, very fitting and time-tested. However, to be 'unique', they changed the spelling to 'Jorja'.

Cute, but how many times in that poor girl's life is she going to have to spell her name for people. Half a million? What's cute about that?

Parents need to think about the benefits or detriments of a name to a child. Should a parent be able to name a child "Adolph" or "Beowolf" or "Judas"?

It's up to parents to consider these things when they name their children. A child is not a cute little toy, like Paris Hilton's chihuahua.

Richard Havers said...

Wise words as always Mr. Morris. The former Mrs H. and I gave our daughters three names each so that they could change them around if they were none too impressed by our first choice.

Charlotte Lucy Eve and Eleanor Victoria Sophie.

Mind you I have to admit to making a small bid for Cressida for our first born but my ex's good sense put paid to that.

It's not just kids. Someone I know said they were going to name their dog Trevor! With our first Springer we were having trouble coming up with a name and I half-jokingly suggested Rhonda (it's a Beach Boy's thing) and the current Mrs. H said something along the lines of - "Don't be so daft. She's a Springer it needs to be Wuthering Heights or something."

"Bronte." I replied in a flash, thus redeeming myself and the dog.

r morris said...

We thought long and hard about our kids' names. We wanted them to reflect their background, be easy to spell, and not be dated.

Our oldest, Nicole Elaine, is probably kind of a flub, because Nicole is French and doesn't really go with Morris, which is English and Irish. Ah, well, it's nice enough--live and learn.

Our son, Matthew Christian, has a name right out of the Bible, can't go wrong there as it is commonly used. Christian was my Austrian grandfather's confirmation name

Our youngest is Brianna Marie. I think we did well on this one. Brianna goes great with Morris, sounds very Celtic. The Marie was a compromise between a Protestant mother and a Roman Catholic father.

Incidentally, my grandfather was named Robert William Morris, my dad is named Robert Gemmill Morris, and my name is Robert William Morris. It could get pretty confusing, so all but my grandfather dumped the Robert and we each have a new version. My dad is 'BOB' and I'm 'ROB'. I have not used my full name Robert my entire life.

I love the name Bronte for a dog.
Maybe someday you'll have a Heathcliff?

Richard Havers said...

She had a Heathcliff and they begat India!

Heather Yaxley said...

The poet, Billy Childish, named his son, Huddie after Lead Belly, the Blues musician.

I have a lightbox of the poem that Childish wrote on the birth of his son in my office from an exhibition I organised with Ford and Breakthrough Cancer in 2000. It is really moving.

Richard Havers said...

Huddie is OK in my book, despite being slightly offbeat.

Heather, it's great to see you write Lead Belly's name as two words, that's the way he liked it. Too many people make it into one word.

baby names girl said...

There has been much talk about the latest celebrity baby naming choices. It should be noted though that unique and made up names are a national trend not limited to the celebrity world.