Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

Bear Blu is not the name of a child. It is the name of a dog or a beloved doll. But no boy-child can grow to manhood saddled with that name and not have some severe psychological problems.

Obviously, a celebrity gave birth to this monstrosity of a baby name. I’m sure the kid is cute and all, but just because you once, long ago and far away, starred in a movie called Clueless doesn’t mean you have to act that way the rest of your natural born life. Yes, people, Alicia Silverstone just announced that she named her son Bear Blu. No E. While I do not believe every child must be given a Supreme Court worthy name, I do believe that creativity and originality only go so far in real life.

Of course, most celebrities seem to live in their own little world where “real” life has very little impact.

For example, the habit of naming children after the place where they were conceived seems like such a pretentious way to announce to the world where you had sex. Only in Hollywood would you wind up with names like Brooklyn, the lesser borough of the Bronx, Paris, Ireland, and Moroccan. Though, in the latter case, the celeb in question is not referring to the country but to the room in her home decorated like the country so it’s both tacky and affected. In the real world, you would get a lot of boys named Ford or Dodge and girls named Volvo. Following this trend to the likeliest conclusion and the sheer number of people who sleep on Swedish furnishings, the world may soon be overrun with children named Ikea.

I realize that celebrities by their nature crave attention. It’s the reason they saddle their offspring with such awful names as Moxie Crimefighter, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor (double points for being misspelled], and my favorite, Kal-El. Your child’s name shouldn’t be an inside joke that only the fans at Comic-Con can understand. Trust me, I know from whence I speak. Let’s all remember that while my daughter’s name is both lovely and Germanic, it is also the name of a character from my favorite sci-fi show that just happened to be a vengeance demon.

Twee is also really big in celebrity baby-naming. As the lovely Emma Thompson recently defined it, twee is whimsy without wit. For example, naming the children in your family Buddy Bear Maurice, Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, and Petal Blossom Rainbow is twee. It’s also moronic, although I do appreciate that most of them have a decent middle name they can use if they choose not to become strippers or pot dealers. Bluebell and Apple also fall into this category. The only witty celebrity baby name I ever heard is Tu Morrow. Hee. That’s just awesome. The worst? Jermajesty. That’s just wrong.

A famous last name as a first name also seems to be a trend that manages to overthrow both gender bias and common sense. Being named Monroe or Harlow is a lot to live up to, especially if you want to live past 40. Hopper is a terrible name for either sex, as is Chaplin. All of these actors/actresses have first names. What is wrong with Dennis or Charlie, Marilyn or Jean? And as a throwback to Nicolas Cage (who chose his own stage name based on a comic), couldn’t you have just named the kid Luke instead of Kal-El? Clark is less common than the equivalent Jor-El but at least your kid won’t be beat up in kindergarten.

Then there are of course, the “cool” names. Rocket, Rebel, Racer, Rogue, and Rhiannon all belong to one family – a family, I imagine that has a hell of a time finding a babysitter. There are “historical” names like Homer, Ptolomy, and Herm├ęs. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs deserves a double smack in the head for naming his African-American daughter after the Confederate outlaw Jessie (sic) James. Musicians are not exempt from dumb baby names, but I figure they are on so many drugs that their kids will never be normal, so an abnormal name works just fine for them.

There are a world of names out there beyond John and Jane. Go to any bookstore and you will find baby name books for every country, race, creed, and religion. But just think about this – if, when you call out your child’s name – a dog comes running or an adult bursts out laughing, then perhaps you should start from scratch.

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