August 1, 2008

Why Can't They Just Call Her Talula And Be Done With It?

It's Internet-old news, this case in New Zealand family court where a custody dispute for a 9-year-old girl included the judge's order that precludes the parents from naming her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. [Horse out of the barn, Your Honour, she's nine!]

I'd have posted about it sooner, but I've been waiting for the court to respond to my request for a full copy of the judge's published findings on mockable baby names. It ain't coming. So here's an unpersuasive selection of names, as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Number 16 Bus Shelter
Benson and Hedges (twins)
O.crnia [changed to Oceania at the judge's order]

and the following unregistered [i.e., not officially recognized?] names:
Fish and Chips
Masport and Mower
Yeah Detroit
Twisty Poi
Keenan Got Lucy
Sex Fruit

Sex Fruit, I understand, but what's wrong with Benson? And why is Brooklyn fine, but Detroit is not? And I've even heard from readers in Seattle who know a kid named Shelter. Frankly, the judge and/or the NZ government seems like a meddler. Whatever brings a kid into his courtroom, I'm sure being called Stallion is the least of his problems.

Anyway, it turns out Eugene Volokh is a fan, an armchair litigator of odd name law. He did a brief roundup in Slate of various cases, with a little background and legal reasoning for each. No babies mentioned, but in 2003, at least three PETA activists changed their names to some totally random URLs they don't even own. Crazy.

Talula Does the Hula a no-no name: judge [ via dt reader ponch]
Talula Does the Hula From HawaiiAnd other names so weird that judges forbade them. [slate]


Good stuff, I love this!

I'm pretty sure that "Yeah Detroit" entry is a plant from Jim.

They just took these names from the New Zealand PBK catalog!

Seriously, besides a lifetime of monogramming frustration, what complaint could Talula... have?

Benson and Hedges is cigarettes, isn't it? Now that just opens up all kinds of possibilities for twins and marketing... Bartles and Jaymes, anyone? Smith and Wesson? Heh. Whatever happened to that family that wanted to name their kid a long-ass string of characters that was pronounced "Albin"? :)

D'oh, forgot--from Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby's sons Walker and Texas Ranger. Heh.

That kid's all grown up now. I figured unless they're conjoined twins, it's not harmful to name your kids Jack & Coke or whatever, just stupid.

Mike Hunt is a classic.

I knew a lady who named her kids Leather and Suede, I also knew a guy named Harold Dick.

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