Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Hoot Owl, Mar 7, 2008.
Mar 7, 2008
We've had this topic before, and have closed the thread, because it always ends up appearing that people are making fun of ethnic names.
It is also a worry that privacy could be invaded.. since someone with a very strange name could be listed on here...and what if their parent just happened to google that strange name? It would bring the parent right here... reading that a teacher thinks that the name they chose with love and care is an "all time worst" name.
I read the story When Joe Lewis Won the Title a few weeks ago with my students. It's main theme is that every name is special and has a special story. Even though some names might be "different or unusual", someone's mom or dad gave them that name. Each of my students researched the meaning of their name and asked their parents why they were given that name. We then talked about our names were special, just like us, and made lots of text to self connections. It was so cute reading their writings! Anyways, my student with a very different sounding name...actually had great meaning behind it, he was named after his grandfather who was a boxer in the Bahamas!
My first thought was exactly what RainStorm said, this topic is just too controversial for this forum. Probably best left for a non-public arena.
Mar 8, 2008
For interesting reading on this topic check out the book:Freakonomics- there's a chapter on names.
Mar 9, 2008
I believed the worse name from that book is Sh*thead...pronounced "sha-theed."
I find it fascinating that parents are naming their kids Raistlin after Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance chronicles...dude is not a role model!
I have a friend named Odana after the princess from Star Trek's "The Mark of Gideon"...and a student named Kestra after Deanna Troi's sister from Star Trek:The Next Generation. If the generational trend continues, ten years from now I expect to be teaching Kira, River, Delenn, and Chiana.
Mar 10, 2008
I won't comment on kids' names for the reasons mentioned above, but adults may be fair game
Interesting names sometimes catch my eye when I'm reading really monotonous textbooks. Within the past week, I've seen citations for "Schmuck & Schmuck" and "Goodenough." No kidding. In the more distant past, the one that I recall most clearly was Edwin G. Boring. I mean, a fellow with a name like "Boring" should NOT be writing textbooks...
Speaking of Star Trek names....It's kind of a "tradition" in my aunt's family that they name their pets after the characters of star trek or star wars....one of my cousins is named after one of the actresses in star trek...anyway...when the other one got pregnant it was a joke that the baby should be named after a star trek character....Turns out my cousin ran across the name Ryker and loved it with that spelling. I love it! It's unusual.....not a worst name
My DH loves this series! He had collected all the books and read through them at least twice. If you knew my DH, you would know that's quite an accomplishment.
I had a friend who's brother is named Damien. When ever they got into a fight she would always say well at least mom didn't name me after the Devil. I also have seen a child with the name that means archangel of death. Why would a parent name their child that?
I LOVE that idea!! I may just have to steal it!!!
All time worst name was a girl named after a certain part of the female anatomy beginning with the letter v. True story. School nurse used to work in the remote mountain regions of Kentucky.
Everyone has heard of someone who knew a second cousin's best friend's wife who worked at a hospital where a baby was named Female (pronounced fa-MAL-lay). But did it ever really happen?
What about the famous e-mail story of the twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello because their mother craved Jell-O in the hospital? Was it true or just urban legend?
While they are certainly interesting and sometimes racially provocative stories, these are nothing more than urban legend. The stories were just that- stories.
So how did this come about? Here are the facts about the myth:
Fact #1- Some of these stories are born out of racism.
Female's mother, in most versions of the story, is a poor, African-American mother who unwittingly thinks her child has been named by the nurses after reading her identification bracelet.
Eczema is the name of a little girl whose African-American grandmother thought it was a beautiful name. She calls her Exy for short.
Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Nosmo King (no smoking), ******, Syphilis, Enamel, et cetera are other names given to the unfortunate offspring of either poor indigents or African-Americans. Sometimes the players are white Southerners, sometimes foreign nationals but the implication is clear: they are ignorant. These stories, like rumors, were passed along to make others feel better about themselves, their station in life, and their education.
Fact #2- Some of these stories are born out of regionalism.
I know you have heard that Southerners are not known for a high IQ. Midwesterners speak funny. New Englanders only like their chowder and fish. New Yorkers are busy and rude. Californians have strange ideas about saving the earth. Texans all wear big belt buckles and talk with a twang. The list goes on and on... No matter where you live in the United States, there is regionalism. It doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Out of it is born our loyalties toward sport teams. But sometimes it is a bad thing, especially when stories lump one group of people together and label them with unflattering and untrue statements.
As I mentioned previously, white Southerners sometimes star in the ignorant baby naming stories. Sometimes it's narrowed down to certain areas of the country. But however it is presented, the inference remains the same: they are ignorant.
Fact #3- Some of the names are real...now.
I know some of you are champing at the bit to tell me of who you have met with those names. I know! There are some that do have these strange names...now. What matters is that these were stories first and actual names second. I do not know why it's so funny to give your child these names after hearing the story but there are some who do want to turn an urban legend into truth. And there are some who truly do not know the meaning of the name.
Here are some that are reported to be truth:
Ima Hogg- She was real! She was the daughter of Governor Hogg of Texas.
Nosmo King- This was not an instance of ignorance. This was H. Vernon Watson's stage name.
Mark Lemongello- He was a pitcher for the Houston Astros.
Shanda Lear- She was the heiress to the Lear Jet fortune.
Ronly Bonly Jones- R. B. Jones only used initials for his first and middle names. When filling out paycheck forms he had to give more than one initial. So he filled out the forms: R (only) B (only) Jones. And his check was made out to Ronly Bonly Jones. (Readers Digest, 1958.)
Thomas Crapper- Though vastly over-exaggerated as the inventor of the flushing toliet, he was a real 19th century plumbing engineer.
Espn- There have been at least two people reported to have this name. It is pronounced Espen.
Trout Fishing in America- Again, this is not an instance of parental ignorance but a man who thought it would be fun to change his name to his favorite book title.
As a teacher, I did come across many unusual names but none quite to this level of legend. What all this boils down to seems to be a case of which came first: the chicken or the egg? You will find that most of these were stories first, designed in some way to degrade a certain people group, and used as actual names later.
Laura Wattenburg of The Baby Name Wizard
Okay. I had to do it. I went to the US Census database and downloaded ALL female and male names from the 1990 census.
Mind you, the 1990 census is the only one listed. There were hundreds of thousands of first names. The old standbys where there.. Mary, Catherine, James and John...
I put this data into a search file, and searched for all the ridiculous names .. such as Lemongello, S**thead, Female.
There was not one single instance of these as first names in the 1990 census. Funny... I first heard the Lemonjello and Orangejello jokes when I was in High School.. that would be sometime in the 1970s! And yet, 20 years later, there is not one single person in the US Census with those as a first name.
Wake up people! They are urban legends. Yes, some ignorant people since then have named their children strange things they've heard in urban legends... but don't keep passing on myths about "someone you know a person who knew a person named...."
The A**swipe thing was a VERY old joke on SNL back in the 80's! I still remember laughing at it.
Yes, there are some very strange "for real" names out there.
If you've seen it on an official school form, whoopee for you! Why would you want to embarrass a child by putting their name on the "Worst names" list? If you google this topic, the posts show up!
And if they are just urban legends (which 90 percent of them are)... why are you spreading a myth?
PS. - My mother's strangely misspelled name, did appear. Her mother only had a 3rd grade education, and misspelled her name on the birth certificate.
Mar 11, 2008
Rainstorm, I came across the names Orangejello and Lemonjello in an email that was floating around, so I knew those weren't real.
We seriously considered naming our son (if and when we have one) ESPN. The sports channel did a story on babies named after them and they interviewed at least 6 families. Some had baby girls, others had baby boys.
How do you do a search on that website?
I tried to find Peekaboo and didn't find it on there.
Rodgers & Hammerstein said it best, in this song from South Pacific:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!
There is no such thing as inborn prejudice. Every bit of it is environmental; we are TAUGHT to believe certain ways by the people around us. And after a certain age, we should all have the wit and intellect to know that. How sad that so many people thrive on it, rather than strive to eliminate it.
Whenever I hear someone say "I can't help it; it's how I was taught to believe," or some such variant of it, I want to scream. Because, you know, we can ALL "help it" if we really wanted to.
When my niece started kindergarten in Indianapolis, she came home that first week and told her mother that she'd made a new best friend.
Her mother said, "Darling, that's wonderful! What is her name?"
My niece replied, "Shan'iqu'a."
Her mother asked, "Is she black?"
My niece answered, "I don't know."
You see? It's all TAUGHT!
Except that prejudice draws on one of the most important and useful tools in human cognition: the ability to sort and to make distinctions between this and that. The organism that cannot distinguish between "good to eat" and "not good to eat" is on a very short road to death. And the writer who cannot tell the difference between her own good writing and her own bad writing will call upon herself Mamacita's undying scorn.
I don't think the role of education is to teach us not to make distinctions. But I think a very important role of education is to refine our ability to tell when a distinction is merely a distinction and when it merits a value judgment. And learning that distinction and practicing it appropriately may very well be the work of a lifetime.
Sh*thead is real and recent. Check the citation in Freakonomics if you don't believe me.
I have read Freakonomics, and it CLEARLY states that this isn't real!
Unless you show me an actual birth certificate or school document with this name on it, I do not believe it.
If you read Freakonomics, you will see clearly that it treats it as a joke.... as the author does many things.
If you are talking about the online website, rather than the actual book, 90% of the website is a blog that ANYONE can post to. I would not consider that a reliable source, but any stretch of the imagination.
Velvet Bush lived in my dorm, on my floor, just a few doors down. Huge black girl with a giant 'fro. She sang like Mahalia, and was one of the funniest people I've ever met.
I had no idea that this would create such a stir. I started it because a child next door to me is (was) honestly named Dead Rick. I'm separating it, making it two words instead of one so mother doesn't Google & find it. The two words are put together as one but spelled as such. The name upset me so badly earlier in the year when I heard it and I feared for the child's well-being. He was expelled last week for the remainder of the year which breaks my heart. He's seven y.o.
A good friend of my father is named Richard Head. He's a short bald guy who's about the funniest person I've ever met. I think people who's parents give them names like this learn to laugh at themselves early on. In Rich's case, his parents didn't realize the signifigance of the name. His grandparents were immigrants at a time when last names were frequently changes if the immigration people couldn't figure out how to spell an ethnic last name. The parents, wanting their child to have an "American" name, chose Richard, not realizing what the combination could turn into given certian diminutives of the name. Note, however, the specific diminutive this particular person chose.
Dead Rick would the the most awesome name ever for a British comedic punk rocker with a half hour show, zany adventures, and a heart of gold.
Dead Rick is my next Guitar Hero/Rock Band character.
And, apparently before pulling the relevant records due to embarrassment, ancestry.com showed US Census data for a "Sh*thead Louise James" and a "Sh*thead Rogers."
I respect that many things are urban legend, but I have faith in humanity to act bugnuts bizarre. Never forget we live in a world with Moon Unit Zappa.
Not sure if this was intended to be a joke but I didn't get it and unfortunately I don't think I want to get it. .:|
This is a very controversal thread....many cultures can be offended.
I rest my case.
It's not a joke; it's an exchange between a mother and daughter, showing that the small child didn't even notice what her new friend LOOKED like, only that she was her friend. It was the adult who "needed" to know the minor details.
Ohh I see.
Interesting thread. I won't post any names either, and I wouldn't call them worst kid names, but I do know some names that make my skin crawl. You know, those names you'd never name your kids because you've met too many kids with problems that have that name? I have met several of those kids.
I have one this year. I definitely cannot say this student's name because it is very unique, but the first graders accidentally call the student another name that sounds similar to the real name and the accidental name really fits this student(not for the better)!
My cat's name is Damian(piggy backing off an earlier post). I love his name. He truly is the son of Satan, which is what his name means. His mom was really named Satan because she was a mean cat! Damian does not act like the devil's spawn though. He is just a great big baby!
One of my students wrote a short story about her cat. His name was Mr. Fluffybal*s.
That's why mine is name Mordred. He's black with silver traces, likable, regal, and occasionally bloody psychotic.
Mar 12, 2008
My cat is named Crash. She knocks a lot of things down. The other two have more normal names. Moxie (because Moxie makes Mainers Mighty). Moxie (the soda) really tastes like medicine, I wouldn't recommend trying it. And than there is Gabby. She talks alot.
I have cats named scout (son named him), Elijah (another son named him), DeMorgan (after the mathematician), and Lillith, after the character in the TV show "cheers". Lilly got her name because when she was an itty bitty kitten (still bottle feeding) my friend picked her up and she didn't like it one bit. So she jammed her front claws up my friend's nose. Definately a Lillith.
Lillith...LOVE IT!! The description of what your cat did is hilarious!