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.
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on November 10th, 2008 at 4:44 pm
I don’t know about Paltrow & Martin, Moses is as odd to me oin a kid as Apple is. A tiny bit more usable, but not by much! Am I the only one who was midly disappointed by Henry from the Moders? Phineas (however she speeled it) is a favorite and Hazel was charmingly refreshing when she announced it, but Henry? Wow is he whitebread boring!
Spike Lee, like Woody Allen is one I really don’t think cares much about what people think and just picked what pleased him.
And I’ll bet we don’t hear what little Pilot’s sister’s name is ’til she starts school. I’ll bet he’s tired of defending their choice(s)! (not that I’m fond of them, but hey, he can have the badly/oddly named ones, I’ll take the good!) 😆
on November 10th, 2008 at 11:47 pm
I immediately thought of Pilot’s nameless little sister when I saw this headline!
We mere mortals seem to go the opposite direction – we realize that our first child’s name is too popular, and try to choose something less ordinary the second (and third and fourth) times around. We know a Connor with a little brother named Ronan and a Bella with a little sister Ida. I’m not sure if that’s namer’s resource, as much as we’re just surprised to realize that our favorite names are shared with so many other parents!
on November 11th, 2008 at 1:58 am
Much like Verity, I immediately thought of the inverse; specifically Tom and Nicole. Together they have a Conner and Isabella, with their new partners they have Suri and Sunday! Fun to consider either way.
on November 11th, 2008 at 11:30 am
Yes, I was thinking about those examples going the other way, but the blog was getting too long.
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