WHAT’S IN A NAME?
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” said he. True. At least in my case, because I’m sure I would have showered regularly and splashed on a little cologne occasionally, even if I wasn’t called Rose.
But if my parents had named me for a more hostile flower — say, the carnivorous Venus Flytrap or the poisonous Plumeria — would I still have been agonizingly passive and shy throughout my childhood, adolescence and even young adulthood; or would I have become more aggressive and assertive — qualities which, as Rose, I didn’t develop until my 40s?
It’s not such a far-fetched possibility. If I had been born today to celebrity parents, I could indeed have been called Venus Flytrap or Plumeria — which would have been much kinder than some of the wacky names celebs saddle their kids with.
I think it started over three decades ago when singer/musician Frank Zappa named his son Dweezil and his daughter Moon Unit. Shouldn’t he have been reported to the Society Against Cruelty to Children? Dweezil, in itself, is bizarre enough; but it’s similarity to Dweeb makes it even more offensive. Or maybe not. The Dweezil in question here, who is following in his father’s musical footsteps, claims that what he himself describes as his “goofy’ name is an advantage, since people always remember him because of it. I haven’t heard what Moon Unit thinks of her completely senseless moniker, but since she never changed it when she became legally of age to do so, I assume she doesn’t hate it. Why not, only heaven knows.
There were many periods during which celebrities’ offspring were blessed with normal names — Deborah, Alan, Wendy, Steven … in fact, so ordinary and familiar were the forenames of the era that when Judy Garland named one of her daughters Liza, the “Z” instead of an “S” was considered pretty avant-garde.
Later came Sonny and Cher’s daughter, Chastity. Wasn’t that asking for trouble? The only way she could live that down was not to live up to it. Though maybe it worked in reverse, because I’ve never read about Chastity Bono’s sexual indiscretions. At least not with men.
These aberrations pale, however, when compared with the latest rash of outlandish names today’s stars inflict on their kids, including:
Shiloh-Nouvel Jolie-Pitt — Why would Angelina and Brad name their baby after a Civil War battle and then complicate it with all the hyphenated additions? I’ll give you odds she’ll probably be in college before she learns to spell the whole thing. And when she marries, will she drop the Jolie-Pitt or keep it and append her husband’s surname with yet another hyphen?
But Shiloh (even with all the hyphens) isn’t as bad as Audio Science, the child of actress Shannyn (why not Shannon?) Sossamon. Maybe she’ll call her next kid Video Technology.
Then there’s Banjo, the son/daughter (who knows which?) of actress Rachel Griffiths. Will she name a future child Bassoon or maybe Xylophone?
Singer Toni Braxton named her children Denim and Diezel. Could be worse, I suppose. She could have chosen Burlap and Regular Unleaded.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Apple may some day have a sibling named I-Mac or Pomegranate (depending on whether Mom chooses to go the high-tech or fruit route).
The names Dixie Dot and Bibi Belle, issue of British TV personality, Anna Ryder Richardson, might raise a rebel flag in Georgia or the Carolinas, but I’m sure they raise eyebrows across the pond in Trafalgar Square and Notting Hill.
Do you suppose Live Aid founder Bob Geldof and Paula Yates (another UK television personality) named their children Fifi Trixiebell, Pixie and Peaches Honeyblossom for the poodles or Shih Tzus they would have preferred?
Maybe God’iss Love, daughter of rapper Lil’ Mo, was named after her mother — they do share an apostrophe. Is she called God for short? Does the name mean Goddess Love (a huge potential problem when the kid hits puberty)? Or is it simply a misspelling of God is Love?
Other kids who are destined never to win the Scripps Spelling Bee are Pilot Inspektor, son of actor Jason Lee, and Reign Beau, daughter of actor Vin Rhames. And a boy who hopefully will not let his name (or his mother’s occupation) determine his future profession is Pirate, son of Korn frontman Jonathan Davis and his porn star wife, Deven.
And wasn’t director Robert Rodriguez tempting fate when he named his sons Rebel and Rogue?
Jermaine Jackson dubbed her daughter Jermajesty, possibly an attempt to carry on the royal dynasty initiated by brother Michael, who named not one but both of his sons Prince Michael. Now there’s an identity crisis just waiting to happen. It’s hard enough for siblings to share toys; expecting them to share the same name is disastrous — as if they won’t have enough trouble trying to live down their father’s reputation.
Clearly, chef Jamie Oliver must have been guzzling the cooking sherry when he named his children Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo.
You probably think I made all these names up. Not true! I found them all documented in an Internet search … speaking of which, I’m surprised that no one has yet named a child Google or Yahoo.
Come on, People! Think! These kids are going to have to go through school… play with other kids … grow up and get jobs … How are their names going to sound in the classroom, in the playground, in the boardroom? How will they look on a degree, on a resume, on an office door? Won’t these children’s career choices be limited? I foresee serious problems, unless they aspire to join Barnum & Bailey or become rock stars or strippers. Let’s face it. Would you want your first-grader to be introduced to spelling by Miss Reign Beau or Mr. Pilot Inspektor? Would you trust your root canal or gall bladder surgery to Dr. Daisy Boo? Would you buy stock in a company headed by CEO Peaches Honeyblossom?
These crazy names will haunt their owners all their lives — and beyond. Fifi Trixibell is going to look pretty silly on a tombstone. (I’m sure glad mine will say Rose instead of Venus Flytrap.)
Rose Mula's new book, If These Are Laugh Lines I'm Having Way Too Much Fun, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through online bookstores, and from Pelican Publishing 800-843-1724.)
Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.