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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Game of the Name

Now, here's a nutty story coming out of the country known as France.  And believe me, I use the adjective "nutty" quite literally in this case.

Recently, a couple in Valenciennes, France became parents to a baby girl and both decided to give her a name that was rather unique to say the least.

The name chosen?  Nutella.

I am almost positive that billions of us all over the planet know what Nutella is.  It's a hazelnut spread that has a hint of chocolate flavour mixed with it, and it has become a breakfast staple for quite a few families.  Nutella can go on bagels, toast, crepes, pancakes...who knows, maybe there's Nutella ice cream out there somewhere.

I'll admit it.  I like Nutella.  But only sparingly.

The point is this.  As a consumable, many people love it.  As a baby name?  France hated it.  They hated it so much that they actually banned the couple from giving the child the name of Nutella.

According to French government, the reason why the parents could not name their child Nutella is because they felt that naming a child after a trademarked breakfast spread would lead to "teasing or disparaging thoughts".  So, as a result, the child's name was shortened to "Ella".  No word on whether the parents will plan on calling her Nutella as a nickname yet.

So, what do you think?  Are you on the side of the parents or the side of the French courts?

Honestly, I can see both sides of the argument.

Sure, naming a child after a chocolate-hazelnut spread is probably not something that everyone does, but there are worse things that the parents could have named her.  It's not like they named her "Skippy", "Smuckers", or "Cheez Whiz".  If I didn't know that Nutella was a food item, it would make a rather unusual, but beautiful name.  Mind you, kids could call her "Nutty" as a cruel nickname, but Nutella as a name isn't the most terrible one I've heard.

Gwyneth Paltrow named her child "Apple", for heaven's sake.

On the other hand, some parents should be banned from even naming their children in the first place.  Take a case that came out of New Zealand for example.  I don't know exactly what this set of parents were thinking when they named their child, but a few years back, a nine-year-old girl had her name legally changed from her given birth name.

That name?  Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. 

Yeah, isn't that considered child abuse in some nations?  I mean, If they had just stopped with Talula, that would have been perfectly fine and still would have been a relatively unique, but normal name.  Why they added those additional five names onto it, who knows?  Maybe they got high off of some Cheez Whiz, I don't know.

Interestingly enough, other names banned from New Zealand include "Yeah Detroit" and "Sex Fruit".  But surprisingly enough, "Number 16 Bus Shelter" made it through.

Remind me never to allow a New Zealander to name my child if I ever have one.

DISCLAIMER:  I am sure that not everyone in New Zealand gives their children awful names.

I'm not totally against having the freedom to name a child a non-traditional name.  Some parents when left to their own devices can come up with some fantastic names that may or may not be found in baby name books.  I mean, I don't think that a potential name should be banned because it happens to be the name for something else.

I mean, what if the world started banning names that contained a colour?  Would that mean that Rose McGowan, Scarlett Johansson, Blu Cantrell, and Violet Affleck would have to change their names?  I mean, Scarlett and Violet are beautiful names.  On the other hand, I wouldn't go crazy with the Crayola colour scheme and name a child "Periwinkle" or "Macaroni and Cheese".

Numbers, on the other hand, should NEVER be considered for names.  Yes, it was cute to see "Six" on "Blossom".  But "Six" was a fictional character.  In the real world, you would have to 86 the "Six".  No kid would also appreciate being named "Zero".  And don't even get me started on the number sixty-nine being appropriate for a child's name...

And then there's the whole idea of a non-traditional name gaining in popularity.  Prior to 1990, you would be hard pressed to find anyone with the name of "Nevaeh" (Heaven spelled backwards).  Would you believe that Nevaeh was the 25th most popular name for girls in the year 2010?!?  Now, I remember being frustrated with being one of six Matthews in my second grade classroom circa 1988.  Now in 2015, there might be more than one Nevaeh in a classroom?  Unbelievable.

I just hope this doesn't kick off a trend.  Maybe we'll now see names like "Yoj", "Wobniar", "Htrae", "Noom", and "Thgilrats".

God help us all if that ever happened...though admittedly, Wobniar isn't the most horrible name out there...

Oh, who am I kidding? 

I guess that when it comes to names, you really should use your best judgment.  Ask yourself the following questions before you proceed.

1.  Can you say the prospective name without laughing?
2.  Does the name sound like a cleaning product?
3.  Does the name sound like something you would use a cleaning product on?
4.  Is the name one of the seven words that the late George Carlin used to say?
5.  Does the name sound like the solution to an algebraic equation?
6.  Is the name found on the Periodic Table of Elements?
7.  Is the name the same as a mobile phone, laptop computer, or video game console?

If you answered no to all of these questions, you're good to go.  Unless of course you want children named "Bobo", "Javex", "Soap Scum", "@#$%", "Square Root", "Hydrogen", or "XBOX".

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