From the Ridiculous to the Sublime
I have a theory which may have absolutely no validity, but I thought I’d share it anyhow. My thought is that some celebrities who give their kids really over-the-top names are so mocked and ridiculed by the media and other members of the the Name Police that they pick something much more ordinary for their next baby. Evidence:
No baby name has ever been more mocked than Apple, even though her Mom protested that it was chosen because it sounded so fresh and sweet and wholesome; when Paltrow appeared on Oprah she said she was taken aback by the “international outrage” it had caused. When her second child arrived, she opted for a venerable Old Testament name–Moses. There was a little grumbling about that choice too, but nothing like the Apple uproar.
The usual spelling of Phineas is tough enough, but when the Moders added those extra highfalutin’ Latinate letters, it really set off alarms (there probably would have been even more if they’d use the biblical spelling of Phinehas). Things calmed down a bit when they said they’d be calling him Finn (Phinn?). People weren’t that crazy about the name of Phinn’s twin either, dredging up memories of dumpy Hazel the Maid (though nameberry sees it as a soft and gentle old-fashioned choice). In any event, next time around they were taking no chances–this boy had the ultra-safe name of Henry.
Avid baseball fan Lee named his first child after the most famous Negro League player, Satchel Paige (birth name Leroy), just as Woody Allen had several years earlier. Only Woody‘s Satchel was a boy, and Spike’s happens to be a girl. The general consensis was that Satchel was quite a bit of baggage for a little girl to carry. When the Lees did have a son, they gave him the cool but common name of Jackson. Maybe after Reggie?
Most people didn’t care that there was a perfectly logical explanation for the name Banjo–they just dismissed it as another of those crazy celebrity choices–which they might not have done if they were Australian as Griffiths is. Banjo A.B. Paterson (born Andrew) was a famous Aussie poet and journalist who wrote the song ‘Waltzing Matilda‘. When her daughter was born, Griffiths opted for a safer Australian choice–no, not Matilda–but Adelaide, the name of the capital city of South Australia.