Thursday, April 27, 2006

Appendix A - Offensiveness

First off, a welcome to all new readers! Keep your suggestions coming - I am hoping to compile the list of bad celebrity names sometime this weekend. (There are a bazillion pages online with partial lists themselves, but why not have our own?)

In the mean time, I've been thinking about the basic naming principles I laid out in my last post. I realized almost as soon as I posted that I had missed the most important of all: don't be offensive.

You'd think this would be a simple thing for people - after all, who wants to name their child something disrespectful, right?

Wrong, apparently.

Let's start with the worst:
Adonai Vita. I hope I don't really need to explain on this one.

I feel like I am always running into people who want to give their child a Native American name (or worse, an "Indian" name). "Are you Native American," I ask. The answers vary, but are usually either A) "I am 1/64th Cherokee" or B) "I like weavings and think wolf legends are cool." When I get the very rare c) "as a matter of fact, I am!", I give them free license. Pxwpexwsshn is somewhat unfortunate for non-Salish speakers, but is not by nature a bad name. But A and B families should proceed with caution. And by "proceed with caution," I mean "lay the hell off!" "But Chenoa Dakota Tareva-Chine means 'dove friend with beautiful eyes' in Indian!!" No, no it doesn't. It means "I am a white person who wishes I were 'tribal,' so I went on the internets and stole these 'names' from indigenous groups who would not recognize them as names!" But frankly, even if they didn't already mean "I am a poser," isn't it just a little wrong to appropriate Native American names "because they're cool?" First, we annex their lands, then we kill off their food supply, then we attempt to re-educate their population... then we decide that their tribal names are cute and spunky monikers for our kids? My apologies to Dakota Cheyanne, but don't her parents have a lot to answer for!

(What's even worse than this, of course, is when Dakota and Cheyenne turn into Dakoda and Shyanne. Recently, one woman on a board I frequent actually thought "Cheyenne" was the trendy version of Shyanne. OOPS!)

Many of the BabyNamesWorld links are down this week, so I will have to content myself with promising a full report on India, Asia, Zaire and Kenya as names for next time... Guaranteed: less talk, more names.

Random name of the day: Royal Blu.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm abnormally retarded...But I don't understand the Adonai Vita thing. Please explain.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger TurabianNights said...

Adonai is the name readers substitute for the name Yahweh in Hebrew texts like the Torah. It means (approximately) "Lord" or "my Lord." It's a "God name" like Jesus and Mohammed, in one sense, but it's much holier as a word. It's nothing a Jewish family would ever use on a child, sort of like how we would never use "Lord God" or even "God" as a name. Poor taste doesn't even begin to cover it, honestly.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunches.

Friday, May 26, 2006 11:23:00 AM  

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