LIKE MOST RIGHT-THINKING Americans, we too were befuddled to learn that Gwyneth Paltrow, who we understand is an actress, and musician Chris Martin recently named their first-born child "Apple."
Now, this was not merely because the infant weighed in at 9 lbs. 11 oz., and hence was more worthy of the name "Grapefruit." Rather, it was because we couldn't figure out why Mr Martin and Mrs Paltrow, who are reportedly both of sound mind, would give their child such an odd appellation. Fortunately, though, the good people at the Microsoft Corp. have given us a bit of perspective in this regard. Thanks to them, we now understand that in the strange parallel universe in which celebrities exist, such a decision was neither outlandish or impetuous. For in comparison to other celebrities' choices, "Apple" doesn't fall too far from the tree.
Anyway, here's Microsoft's list of the worst celebrity baby names ever:
10. Rumer Glenn, Tallulah Belle and Scout LaRue, daughters of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
9. Jett, son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston
8. Diezel and Denim, sons of Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis
7. Prince Michael, Prince Michael II (AKA Blanket), and Paris Michael, children of Michael Jackson
6. Speck Wildhorse and Hud, sons of John Mellencamp and Elaine Irwin
5. Pilot Inspektor, son of Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
4. Tu Morrow, daughter of Rob Morrow and Debbon Ayre (seriously)
3. Audio Science, son of Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton
2. Moon Unit, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, Dweezil, and Diva, children of Frank Zappa
1. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom, and Pixie, daughters of the late Paula Yates (Tiger Lily's dad is the late Michael Hutchence; Bob Geldof is father to the other three)
Now we know folks will have myriad opinions on which of these names is the most appalling. For instance, it is bad form to name one's child after a cheap clothing material; and if one must name one's child after a motor fuel, one ought spell the name of the fuel correctly. Still, we would argue that the worst is unquestionably No 3, Audio Science.
You see, the trouble with that particular name is that it is adaptable to any profession. It is the equivalent of a librarian naming his son Dewey Decimal, or a plumber naming his daughter Roto Rooter. Speaking personally, we can say we very much like the name Benjamin; and are quite glad our parents did not instead name us Fundamentals Tracking, Zero Coupon, or General Ledger Kepple. Buying Opportunity Kepple would have been right out too.
Now, we know the traditional complaints about odd names for children. The other kids at school will tease the badly-named child mercilessly; the badly-named child will get into fights; the badly-named child will get into trouble with the law, etc. But we do not consider those things to be the worst outcome associated with an unfortunate name for a child.
The worst outcome, rather, is this. The Apples and the Moon Units and the Pilots of this world are now permanently saddled, as if a neon sign was placed over their heads, with an advertisement proclaiming that their parents are idiots. That, we think, is a horrible thing.
It's not just that every child wants and needs deeply, in his or her heart, to be proud of his or her folks. We live in a society which has come to prize intelligence above all other traits, because intelligence usually translates into earning power and hence social status. As such, in later life -- when these children begin their careers and start their own families -- their oddball names will prove a handicap. Now, that may not matter if the children in question have parents whose names everyone recognizes. But we can assure you that we -- and, we would submit, most folks -- haven't any idea who Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton are. Given that, you think Audio Science would get a job at Sotheby's?
Well, certainly Tu Morrow wouldn't. All the European buyers would blink rapidly upon hearing her name, make stilted conversation and break out into a cold sweat. Then one of them would, out of habit, call her Vous Morrow and that would be the end of everything. The end result is that the buyers would get their Faberge eggs from Christie's.
Of course, we realize the celebrities' children may have worse troubles than an unfortunate name. For one thing, they'll grow up in the public's eye, something which we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. It is hard enough being a kid without feeling as if the whole world wants something from you. But in many ways, as their unfortunate names would seem to indicate, they will have to do quite the job at raising their parents. And that, like their names, goes strongly against the natural order.
(link via Allison Barnes)Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 21, 2004 12:25 PM | TrackBack