Monday, October 18, 2010
A meshugaas in our community. Why do Jewish parents give their kids weird names?
We have long wondered why so many Jewish parents think it is “cool” to humiliate and discomfit their children by subjecting them to outlandish and peculiar names. And this, despite being Jewish – which gives them twice as many opportunities to find a respectable 'normal' name for their newborn – from the vast array available for Australians and Jews.
Week-after-week birth notices in the AJN include strange, weird, odd, bizarre and sometimes absolutely idiotic names embossed upon the life of a tiny innocent baby who will have to hide, explain or change it at some stage(s) of his/her life. Why are so many parents subjecting their offspring to such an unnecessary burden? Isn't life complicated enough for the young ones? Why add to their issues?
One wonders if and what those parents were drinking or smoking when they came up with the inspiration to tag their child this way.
Here's our message to all new parents: You have a meshugaas for nutty names? Fine. Change your own and that of your spouse. But please, leave the little kids alone!
And what about all those 'androgynous' names, where one cannot make out if the newborn is a male or female!?
Meanwhile to give you some of idea of the unusual names acquired by the newest members of Melbourne's Jewish community, here's a selection from the most recent edition of the AJN: Sienna, Coco, Winter Star, Hudson, Eden-Eddie (for a girl), Eden Mikey (for a boy).
We invite readers to add their favourite strange names from future and past issues (especially Sydneysiders, as we rarely see that edition of the AJN), via the comments area.
We found that the following article, by one of our favourite journalists, Lawrence Money of The Age, very pertinent to our theme. (BTW, what's a sensible chap like him doing at THAT paper?)
Welcome to the nutty name generation
Lawrence Money THE AGE
When playing the nutty name game, spare a thought for the one who will carry it for life.
'IS THAT a misspelling or did your parents make a blue?'' I asked Micheal, a waiter at Melbourne's RACV Club. He glanced at his brass name badge and smiled a smile that told of a lifetime of torment. ''Parents,'' he said. ''I think mum must have still been feeling the effects of the anaesthetic.'' Micheal was not sure if his mum wanted ''Michael'' but he's been Micheal for 30 years now, a veritable pioneer of the nutty name generation.
Thirty years ago nutty names were an oddity, now they are almost compulsory. You get your nutty spellings of standard names (Filip, Robburrt, Peetar) and then you get your nutty spellings of nutty names (Gharddio, Wawldogger, Mooneigh). You can only imagine what waiters' name badges will look like when this generational wave comes through.
Look, it's understandable, I guess. Excited first-time parents, enthused by the latest name fad. But they don't appreciate that here is a decision that will stretch on long after they themselves are gone. That poor 50-something Lillbetgh Smith may feel some small animosity at the funeral of her dear papa after half a century of hell and a possible 40 or more to go? (Why, dad, why??)
Years ago as In Black and White columnist on the old afternoon Herald, I found that nutty names were of a different nature. Rather than crazy spelling they were often vocationally weird. For example, the systems manager of the Melbourne Fire Brigade in the early 1980s was a bloke named Bernd Pohl. Mr Oosting was a Dutch-born beekeeper in Tasmania. I came across a bloke named William Clyde Main, a Ringwood sewerage contractor. He was listed in the Yellow Pages as W. C. Main. [More here]