September 6, 2007

Great Man Of Venzuelan People Wants To Name All The Babies Hugo

Gee, was it really only January when the NY Times wrote about Venezuela's crazy foreign-inspired naming tradition as a sign of populist empowerment after centuries of classist oppression by the ruling elites?

And now for no apparent, compelling reason, the government of Hugo Chavez, the increasingly belligerent fascist-in-a-Che-shirt, is proposing to restrict parents to a list of 100 government-approved names. 100!

“I need to know how they would define those 100 names,” said Jhonny Owee Milano Rodríguez, a congressman representing Cojedes State. “For example, why not 120? This seems arbitrary to me.”
Ya think? Still even better is the reassurance that, "The measure would not be retroactive."

A Culture of Naming That Even a Law May Not Tame [nyt]
Previously: Power, Kooky Names, To The People in Venezuela

Related: the NYT mentions novelist Roberto Ocheto, who railed against Venezuela's "unnatural" naming traditions in a 2000 article for La Nacional. It's tough to autotranslate the whole thing without mucking up the names, though, so bring your Spanish game. [robertoecheto.blogspot.com]

3 Comments

What a freak. I'm glad I don't live there.

Next thing you know everybody can only wear gray clothes...

I'm having flashbacks of the Woody Allen movie "Bananas". Remember the scene where the South American dictator gives his proclamations?:

"From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!"

not that it matters, but according to babynamewizard, Hugo is WAY up in name frequency since the 80s (I think their database is US and UK). I wonder if we could rig a system to determine how many names are in common usage in the US? Its hard to think of 100 names I know and/or want to use. Not that it should be legislated, just sayin.

[the government-approved lists in countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, etc. have several thousand names. 100 would become a bureaucratic nightmare; there's be thousands, 10's of thousands of people with the exact same name. It'd make the whole "5 Jasons in my class" thing pale in comparison. -ed.]

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