January 27, 2015

l'Etat Say: Nutella? Banane!

Unlike other third world nannytatorships like Germany, New Zealand, and Scandinavia, France does not maintain a list of approved baby names. It merely grants "civil control officers" of the state the unchecked authority to veto your baby name choices. You can name your kid anything you want in France, unless some clerk decides it's not in the kid's best interest.

And so one couple who had a girl in September was recently informed that,

"le prénom « Nutella » donné à l'enfant correspond au nom commercial d'une pâte à tartiner. Et il est contraire à l'intérêt de l'enfant d'être affublé d'un tel prénom qui ne peut qu'entraîner des moqueries ou des réflexions désobligeantes. »

[The name "Nutella" given to the infant corresponds to the brand name of a (ridiculously awesome chocolate hazelnut) spread. And it is contrary to the interest of the infant to be saddled with such a name which can only lead to mockery or disparaging thoughts.]

And another couple, who had a girl in October, was told that they were equally not at liberty to name their kid Fraise, which is French for strawberry:
« le prénom de Fraise...sera nécessairement à l'origine de moquerie notamment l'utilisation de l'expression ramène ta fraise, ce qui ne peut qu'avoir des répercussions néfastes sur l'enfant »

[The given name Strawberry will necessarily be the source of mockery, notably the use of the expression, 'Bring your strawberry,' (the equivalent of 'Get your butt over here') which cannot but have adverse repercussions for the infant.]

I guess coming from the United States, where we're free to name our kids Adolf Hitler if we want to [though true, they might get taken by Child Services later], I just don't see what the problem is.

Actually, I think the problem is that these French officials have combined an unnecessarily bleak view of humanity, where mockery is the norm, with a deluded self-regard that their forcing a conformist name over the wishes of the parents is somehow going to save the kid from a life of bullying. Given the chance, kids will always find a way.

« Nutella », « Fraise »: le tribunal de Valenciennes refuse les prénoms de deux bébés [lavoixdunord via dt reader nathan]
Previously, I mean, seriously, just listen to Strawberry Saroyan: Strawberry, Apple. Apple, Strawberry

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