Banned Baby Names: From V8 to Superman
A file photo of a newborn on a cot in the neo-natal ward of the Delafontaine hospital in Saint Denis near Paris on March 19, 2013. Some governments hold that babies should not be given names that could cause them suffering in life, and ban parents from using unusual names. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
If they ever wanted to change their names they can do it. It only costs about $15Frank Zappa
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Banned baby names: Countries all over the world have prevented parents from inflicting names on their children that could cause suffering, but many strange ones have slipped through the cracks.
New Zealand’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has denied names such as: V8, Mr., Lucifer, Fish and Chips (twins), and “Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii,” according to CNN and Yahoo.
Most of the names, and a slew of other unusual ones, were blocked at the time of birth. The latter moniker of “Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii,” initially passed, however, and was later changed by a judge during a custody battle for the 9-year-old girl who bore the name.
“It makes a fool of the child,” said the judge, according to Yahoo. Former Pope Benedict XVI spoke out in early 2012 against parents naming their children after celebrities, fruit, and sports cars, reports Yahoo.
Some unusual names that passed New Zealand’s scrutiny include Benson and Hedges (twins), Violence, and “Number 16 Bus Shelter,” according to CNN.
In Denmark, rather than banning names, parents are given a list of about 7,000 names to choose from. Any names not on the list need special permission, according to Yahoo, and ethnic names, unusual spellings, and compound names are forbidden.
In 1996, Swedish parents who wanted to protest Sweden’s naming laws tried to name their child “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116,” (pronounced Albin). This name, along with Metallica and Superman, has been denied in Sweden, but Google was allowed, reports Yahoo.
Musician Frank Zappa garnered attention when he named his four children Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.
In a 1975 interview with Scott Cohen of Circus Raves, Zappa commented on the unusual names and the psychological impacts on his children: “Well, first of all, I knew that they were going to be unique anyway because of certain other attributes, so why not have a name that goes with it?”
“They all like their names and the kids at school do too,” Zappa said. “They don’t make fun of them; in fact, most of them are jealous of their names. … They’re having a good time. Besides that, if they ever wanted to change their names they can do it. It only costs about $15.”
Cohen asked Zappa if he would have named Moon Unit the same had she been a boy, since the name does not denote her sex.
“No, I would have named him Motor Head,” Zappa replied.
In Germany, the name Miatt has been rejected for not clearly denoting sex, according to Yahoo.
In Italy, a judge stopped a couple from using the name Venerdi (Friday in Italian), in association with Robinson Crusoe, because the child may be mocked, and because the character Friday is associated with “subservience and insecurity,” reports Yahoo.
In the song “A Boy Named Sue,” by country singer Johnny Cash, Sue grows up hating his absentee father for giving him the name.
When Sue meets his father as an adult, he’s ready to fight, but his father says, “I give ya that name and I said goodbye, I knew you’d have to get tough or die, and it’s the name that helped to make you strong.”