Much like Bill Cosby, when I was a child I thought my name might actually be “Dammit” or “Jesus Christ,” because folks were always screaming those things at me. Put that down, Dammit! Jesus Christ, where are your pants?!
That sort of thing.
And when I grew up and had a baby, I thought an awesome name for her would be “Weapon X.”
No last name, just Weapon X. Then at school, they’d have to call her that and it would be badass. I’d come in and say, “Hey, what seems to be the problem here? I have her birth certificate here and I’d like you to please address her by her legal, given name.”
Got vetoed – no big deal. She’s still pretty badass. It’s cool.
Similarly, back in 2008 when Sarah Palin stormed onto the political scene like a giant pitcher of Kool-Aid wearing moose antlers, an admirer of hers in Tennessee named his daughter Sarah McCain Palin, without checking with his wife. Surely there can’t be a law against naming your kid after a hilarious nut, but this article explains that the wife actually did have a year to fix it, if that’s what she wanted to do.
I couldn’t find anything as to whether or not they kept the name. Who knows?
But it turns out that biological mothers are not the only ones who can veto your child’s name. Here’s an article about it called New Zealand Releases List of Banned Names, and don’t worry, it’s not just about New Zealand.
In it, for instance, we learn that right here in America – where in 2008 an Illinois bus driver was allowed to change his name to In God We Trust – a judge struck down an attempt by a New Mexico man to change his own name to Fuck Censorship.
All sorts of hilarity going on in that little tidbit. For example, the grownups at CNN don’t think you can stand seeing the word “Fuck” so they show it as “F— Censorship.” I didn’t even know what the hell they were talking about. Why couldn’t the guy change his name to Fred Censorship?
And then it turns out the guy’s real name was Variable – what made him think he could change it, I wonder?
This is the same country where Prince was born, and we were cool with naming him Prince and cool with him changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol, even though it meant that Warner Bros. had to send out a mass mailing of floppy disks (already funny) because there was no typesetting or font for the symbol he had pretty much invented by jamming two other symbols together.
Cool, said America. Just don’t name yourself Fuck Censorship, that’s all.
Interestingly, in New Zealand, they wouldn’t even have been allowed to name him Prince. It’s a title, and they wouldn’t want anyone to confuse him with the actual Prince of New Zealand or the Prince of Wales, or whatever. They’ve denied Justice (BS – you could always say Justice was coming, like in Tombstone), King, Prince, Princess, Lord, Duke, Major – goodness, New Zealand. What’s going on over there?
You want to name your kid Lucifer? Too bad. Christ? Nope.
Messiah? T:2? No, and no.
How about Mafia No Fear or any hiphop-type variations of the word “Justice”, like Juzztiz – No.
Name your kid something normal, that’s what New Zealand, home of an actual, working Hobbit town says.
New Zealand seems to have the most extensive rules on the matter, but they’re not alone:
“Sweden also has a naming law and has nixed attempts to name children “Superman,” “Metallica,” and the oh-so-easy-to-pronounce “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116.”
Like that last one’s not easy to pronounce, just sound it out. Brifsixclimpkickqulib Eleven Thousand One Hundred Sixteen. Just call the kid Briff, don’t worry about it.
Whoa, here’s another article about banned names, also from CNN, which says that in Germany, you must be able to ascertain the baby’s gender by his or her name. I guess that’s for budding online relationships or something. So no Pats over there, no Leslies or Jeans.
And hold on, Denmark has everybody beat. They really do take it to New Zealand’s extreme – you get a real list of 7,000 names and you’re choosing from that. Exactly what kind of crazy baby-naming bullshit do you think was going on in Denmark to make that law necessary?
Luckily, here in America, you can pretty much name your baby whatever you want, the court only steps in and shuts down “Fuck Censorship” if you’re trying to call yourself that as an adult. It’s a very odd line of reasoning – you can name someone else anything that floats your boat, but if you’re the one who has to actually walk around with that name the rest of your life, they’re going to have to restrain you, so you don’t offend people.
I wonder what they’re going to do when the thwarted Mr. F. Censorship decides to have a baby of his own. Can the Man stop him then, here in a world where George Foreman can name five kids George Foreman? We’ll have to wait and see.