According to media stories, a couple have named their baby girl, born 24 November 2012, “Hashtag Jameson.” The media stories about this are mostly British, so I’m guessing the baby was born there. An Egyptian man has supposedly named his baby “Facebook” in memory of the role Facebook played in mobilizing people in the revolution that overview the Mubarak regime last February. And in the 2005 book “Freakonomics,” Steven Levitt told of an American couple who allegedly named their kids Orangejello and Lemonjello.
Others have disputed that these children ever existed. Levitt’s study of how names move around America suggests that names start off in affluent areas gradually “trickle down” to become popular in the middle class, like Madison. But one LA Times writer several years ago pointed out an academic study showing that the more unusual a child’s name, the more likely they were to end up in the juvenile justice system. It may not be the name that does it, tho. The lower the educational and social status of the parents, the more likely they are to give their kids strange names. And lower socioeconomic groups are over represented in the crime statistics.
Last year, a New Jersey couple who named one child Adolph Hitler , and another Aryan Nation, had all three of their children taken off them, immediately after the birth of the third. The authorities say it’s because of child abuse and violence, but the couple say it’s because of the names.
So what do people think? Do parents have a right to name their kid anything they like? Does the state have a right to protect a child from ridicule and abuse that it may get from having an offensive or ridiculous name? Does it have a right to prevent parents from giving the child a name that would offend many people (like Hitler). Does a child have a right not to have a name that exposes them to ridicule or abuse, and if so, who sticks up for the child?
I’d love to hear what you think.