Talula by Any Other Name.....
By Julie Levy ~ Posted Thu, 07/24/2008 - 1:19pm
Names fascinate me. The names of people, places, things, as well as linguistics and word origins in general, never fail to rouse my interest. I am always curious to know why a person was given their name or even why someone might choose to give their pet a particular moniker or to learn the history behind a word that we use on a daily basis.
So when I ran across an article titled Court: Girl Can't be Called Talula Does The Hula, I literally rubbed my hands together in glee as I clicked through to read the full article. And the article did not disappoint.
Someone in New Zealand actually gave their child the name Talula Does The Hula. How does one settle upon this as THE name for their child? Given that I am expecting and my husband and I have had numerous name discussions, I can honestly say that Talula Does The Hula completely confounds me on so many levels. I find it equally intriguing that New Zealand (as well as other countries, such as China) has laws in place that prohibit "names that would cause offense to a reasonable person, among other conditions."
To sum up Talula's situation, the New Zealand court made her a ward of the state, not only due to her name but also due to a rather nasty custody battle between her parents. "The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name, it makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily." I have a very hard time thinking that being saddled with Talula Does the Hula has not had massive effects on this girl's personality and overall development as a person (particularly after the aforementioned court battle).
As a classroom teacher for 10 years, I was exposed to my fair share of unusual names with Cie'Artise and Alpacino being a few of the more memorable. Although I'm not 100% sure about how I feel about the government superseding a parent's right to name their child (given our wonderful First Amendment privileges that we are so used to in this country) I also know that a name has a lot do with who a child is and that children are often cruel to their unusually named peers.
We as a society hear about the oddly named offspring of celebrities (Moxie CrimeFighter, Pilot Inspektor and Apple to cite a few of the most often discussed) while at the same time reading studies that statistically tie a person's name to their education and success levels. Given the amount of interest from our friends and family in the future naming of our unborn child, I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of pressure on a parent to pick a "good" name.
All of this being said, my husband and I have decided to not share the sex of our child and we are not sharing any chosen or potential names. This decision in itself has been met with a myraid of reactions, particularly from the grandmothers who all insist that they must know the sex of their grandchild and that they've also helped us by starting a list of names for us to consult.
So much attention and hubbub over names. And I still have so many thoughts......Does the name make the person or the person make the name? Would a rose by any other name still be perceived as the same rose? Is Talula Does The Hula still the same with her new name?
Other thoughts on our obsession as humans with names?