Sunday, August 12, 2007

Onomatomanic outrecuidance...

onomatomania n. - preoccupation with words and names
outrecuidance n. - egomania; gross conceit
More naming-nonsense from idiot parents. Reuters reports, from Wellington, New Zealand that a couple want to call their newborn son Superman BUT only because their chosen name of 4Real has been rejected by the government registry,

"The Wheatons decided on the name after seeing the baby for the first time in an ultrasound scan and realizing their baby was for real."

Now on the face of it that's not too bad because names are made up every day and I've certainly heard a lot worse; in fact they could have called the baby Possibly-an-accident, Scan-looks-all-fuzzy or Where's-its-head...but the problem is they wanted to shorten it to 4Real i.e. with a number...the next even bigger problem is that just because they're not allowed to use a number they now say they'll name their son a life of being bullied could await the child just because of his parents stupid and stubborn conceit. "You're being a bit harsh" I hear you say...well I'm not: despite the name Superman they will continue to call their son 4Real; Pat Wheaton, the father, said he may appeal against the decision through the courts, but whatever happens he won't be budged on his choice. "No matter what, its going to stay 4Real,"... ..."I'm certainly not a quitter." No, I'm sure you're not but you sound like an arsehole.

Perhaps they should read about how names affect the child's development, education and job prospects. A couple of years ago a book called Freakonomics was published, written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; with the byline "A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" (they also have a Freakonomics blog on the New York Times). The book is very good and a fun read but the point is one of the chapters deals with naming children, "A Roshanda by Any Other Name - How do babies with super-black names fare?" quoted here on's one part of much interesting and wierd content but it is relevant to the Wheaton's and Superman: amongst other things it descibes two brothers with the names Winner and Loser; 'these days Loser and Winner barely speak'. Loser Lane went to prep school on a scholarship, graduated from college and joined the New York Police Department, he is known as Lou (nice!); Winner Lane has more than "30 arrests for burglary, domestic violence, trespassing, resisting arrest, and other mayhem." Seems the father (for it was he) mixed up in the names or maybe the names themselves drove Loser to better things and caused Winner's downfall...perhaps Pat Wheaton should reconsider before giving his son a handicap even before the child has taken his first breath.
In case you've ever wondered where some of the strange sounding/looking words I use in the post titles come from then go to the Luciferous Logolepsy "Dragging obscure words into the light of day"


Kenji Mouchard said...

Someone swallowed a dictionary for breakfast!

I feel that there is a danger that we subdue creativity by condemning such parents.

I think rather than criticise we should embrace the diversity of the language and ensure the progression and challenges that mixing the alpha with the numeric ensures.

However, my personal favourites are where the parents allocate names that in combination with their family name creates true comedy and happiness!

My favourites include Dick Trickle the most winningest driver; who was famous for smoking and drinking beer in his racing car not to mention his successes in the Bush Series of races! Who says you can not overcome premature handicaps!

Being new to this perhaps I should leave it there – but knowing of your interest in matters Venezuelan I thought you may see the humour in the an old article by Simon Romero who brings in many different facets to the naming and shaming! Worth a visit if only for the graphic!

Hope you are finding that pantometer I supplied you useful.


Span Ows said...

Kenji...what a fantastic article, missed it before but there are some great names there! "YesaidĂș and Juan Jondre — transliterations of "Yes, I do" and "One hundred."...ace! ...a few of my (Venezualan) sister-in-laws have some interesting names too, a couple not dissimilar to names quoted in the NOT Elvis Presley or Hitler!

However I'm not condemning the parents for their creativity, Forreal or something similar is fine...but 4Real...and then (maybe)Superman just because the father can't get his way!!

Span Ows said...

P.S. Re the know I'm addicted...more of my life goes to waste! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, perhaps we could use the names we use for ourselves online to name our offspring

4real ..had it been spelt fourreal would have been ok then they could shorten it after, bit like texting.

mad yes ...

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Span, why get your y fronts in a twist?! If the child doesn't like the name they are given they soon find themselves something else to use at even very young ages and later on they can change it!

I speak as the mother of two children who do not have traditional 'British' type names, (quite deliberately) although there are no numerals and who are both proud to have something a little different. Certainly their teachers never get them mixed up with others but some do have problems with the pronunciation of son's.

Span Ows said...

That's not a problem though Mags, it's not that the child can change it or use some other name or be proud of it (why shouldn't they be, they wouldn't expect good ol' dad to land them a sucker punch) the problem is how the OTHER children react.

baby boy names said...

Made up baby names are becoming such an international trend that it may just be that 10 years down the line such names will not inspire a wink. If most children are given off-beat names it may just become another norm.

Span Ows said...

"baby boy names"...just been to your site and left a comment. It seems we agree and as I have said above I am not against 'different' names; I'm against names that could adversely affect the child. I just cannot undertsand why, if they thought of the name because their baby was 'for real', then WTF can't they call the baby Forreal and be done with it.

Gavin Corder said...

Whats the pantometer?

I've always though Drew Peacock had been aptly named by his fond parents....

Span Ows said...

...being 'clean' names like Red Buttons always made me laugh!

The pantometer...something that measures many/all things...oooh you're itching to know...and it's not my pants as Mags hinted at (only kidding!)

It's Google earth...not new but new to me as a plaything :-)