Category: crazy baby names
When out-of the-box-named Ever Carradine, actress and member of a multi-generational Hollywood dynasty, recently gave her baby daughter the equally out-of-the-box-name Chaplin, it got me wondering—could there be an extreme baby naming gene that passes from generation to generation?
Frank Zappa’s kids’ names are the poster children for extreme starbaby naming: Moon Unit, Dweezil (actually Ian Donald Calvin Euclid on his original birth certificate when the hospital refused to register Dweezil), Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Are these sibs following the tradition? Kinda–though more cool than crazy– judging from their offspring so far:
Equally well known are the Phoenix (originally Bottom) family of nature names: River Jude, Summer Joy, Rain Joan of Arc, Liberty (originally Libertad Mariposa) and the brother first called Joaquin then Leaf and then Joaquin again. Among their kids’ names:
- Indiana August (Indiana in tribute to uncle River, who played the young Indiana Jones)
- Indigo Orion
- Rio Everest
- Scarlette Jasmine
And then there’s the Coppola clan, which includes Nicolas (nee Coppola) Cage, with their imaginative choices:
The four acting Baldwin brothers have pretty normal names, but not so some of their offspring:
Legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob (Robert Nesta) Marley had a convoluted family tree, with some eleven children, including Cedella (named for Marley’s mother), David (‘Ziggy’), Rohan and Ki-Mani. Among his interestingly-named grandchildren—although there are probably many more–are:
- Gideon Robert Nesta
- Joshua Omaru
- Judah Victoria
- Selah Louise
- Zion David
The fairly normally named ten-strong Wayans brood seems to have a penchant for vowel-ending names for their own kids:
The Jackson 5 + 5 configuration is almost too daunting to look at. For one thing, the Michael Generation names are actually a lot more elaborate than they would appear. “Jackie,” for example, was christened Sigmund Esco, Jr and “Tito” Toriano Adaryll, while Jermaine’s middle name is La Jaune. The baroque (and sometimes immodest) name gene is evident in some of their own child (and grandchild) choices:
So, creative, quirky or genetic imperative? You be the judge.
Don spent the past week poring over a quarter million names — yes, many of them pretty crazy — given to New York babies over the past few years. Examples include, with a New York theme, Harlem, Manhattan, and Bronx; with a sports angle, Jeter and LeBron; and with a religious bent, Rabbi, Priest, and Jesuskingoftheworld.
You’ve got your Sully, after the pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River, and your Matisyahu, after the hip-hop star. There’s a Royalty, a Success, and a Winner; a Tolkien and one poor boy whose name is Mudd.
And now Don is reaching out to find out YOUR unique New York baby name. If you are a New York City parent who’s given your child a distinctive baby name with a pop culture inspiration, Don wants to hear what it is and how you chose it. You can tell your stories here and/or contact Don directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-930-8656.
And sure, if you want to tattle on your neighbors who named their baby Keeno or just share a crazy New York baby-naming story, tell us that too.
Guest blogger Sachiko has a penchant for unusual names, and a talent for deflecting the criticism of strangers.
“You named that poor boy WHAT? That’s a terrible name! Shame on you!”
With those words, a nice old man in the hospital lobby turned into a mean old geezer, looking down on me and my newborn son, Musashi, where we were sitting in the mandatory wheelchair, waiting for my husband to pull the car around. I hugged my baby to my chest and scowled at the mean geezer until he went away.
Oh, wait, how about this one: The lady in the fabric store who whipped around and denounced me as an abusive mom for saddling my daughter with a monstrosity like — gasp! — Bronwen.
“She’ll never be able to write it!” Fabric Store Lady said. “And her teachers won’t be able to pronounce it.”
“Have you ever named a baby?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, proudly. “I have a son named Jody.”
This is what we’re afraid of, isn’t it, when we consider choosing out-of-the-ordinary names? That an unusual name will socially injure our babies. That the Baby Name Police will arrest us, and we’ll be defenestrated by the crusading extremists of the Orthodox Baby Name Church.
How scary this is depends on you. Me, I’ve never done well at culturally orthodox, even when I’ve tried. But I have friends, parents, and a husband who care deeply about that old moving target, Fitting In.
Mom: “What names are you thinking of for this one?”
Mom, grandly: “…RACHEL!” (pause) “Well, what do you think? Won’t you please use it? Please?”
And that right there was the best and most productive baby naming conversation I’ve ever had with an Orthodox Baby Name Church member.
My mom hates my naming sins, but at least she still has to love me, the baby naming sinner. Mean geezers and nosy fabric store ladies don’t.