Dear Bruce: Do You Often Hear “It’s in the Bible” as a Justification for an Awful Name?

Dear Bruce,

Do you often hear “It’s in the Bible” as a justification for an awful name? A relative of mine named a daughter Tierza Joy. Tierzah is a biblical name. What do you think of it?

B.P.

Dear B.P.,

“It’s in the Bible” is used as a justification for good names and awful names every day of the week! Some of the best names ever and the worst names ever are “in the Bible.”

Tirzah (not Tierzah) has a Hebrew origin and means “she is my delight.” In the Bible, Tirzah is the name of one of Zelophehad’s five daughters who went to Moses to ask for their rights of inheritance, which he granted. Nice story! But saying a name is “in the Bible” is a dubious honor. Zelophehad, the name of Tirzah’s father, is also in the Bible. Jumping Jehosaphat! (also a biblical name) what an awful name.

Although Tierzah (or its root name, Tirzah) is a “strange” name that will be confusing to spell and pronounce, combining it with Joy as the middle name turns it into a private joke. “Tears o’ joy, get it?” her parents will say, smiling as they let friends and relatives in on the joke.

But friends and relatives might not think the name is quite so funny. They may have watched Kanye West on the “Tonight Show” mentioning to Jay Leno that he was thinking of naming his daughter North (West). The audience smiled nervously as they wondered whether West was just kidding or if he was really insensitive enough to give that joke name to his daughter. Turns out, he was. And the joke turned out to be on Kim and Kanye for picking the name that was voted “the worst celebrity name of 2013.” Unfortunately, the joke was also at baby North’s expense, because she’ll have to live with it.

Likewise, the name Tierzah Joy is also likely to make friends and relatives uncomfortable because the “joke” is initially at the expense of the baby girl, who is likely to be embarrassed by the name as soon as she is old enough to know what “embarrassment” means. She’ll want to change her name. Happily, her middle name, Joy, gives her a lovely fall-back name. But she might be so mad at her parents she throws both names out and starts over as Abcde (pronounced AB-seh-dee). Which is why using a name to document your wit is not a recommended baby-naming strategy. At first, the joke may be at the expense of the child. But eventually it may wind up also being at the expense of the oh-so-funny parents.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Bruce, I Noticed You’ve Been Writing A Lot About Nameberry; What’s Up with That?

Dear Bruce,

Q. I noticed you’ve been writing a lot of posts about Nameberry. What’s up with that?

A. I write about Nameberry’s articles for the same reason I write about notorious celebrity baby names. Let me explain:

People pay a lot of attention to what celebrities name their babies. I enjoy using outrageous celebrity baby names as “teaching opportunities.” I also like to use charming celebrity baby names for the same purpose, although I don’t find them quite as often. Why? Because many celebrities seem to care more about attracting attention to themselves by choosing outrageous names than picking names that will work well for their children over a lifetime. (As you may know, that’s my main concern.)

Nameberry seems to be one of the leading sources of baby-name advice. My impression is that one of their main concerns is the “fashion” aspect of baby naming. Many of their articles have titles such as “Baby Names on the Rise,” “Hot Baby Names,” “Cool and Unusual Baby Names,” and “Neglected Namesake Names.” In other words, they often write about “what’s hot” and/or “what’s not.” Many of the names they feature are “on the rise” or “hot” because of a celebrity tie-in (a rising actor, model, or athlete) or a media connection (a hot TV show or movie). And some of the names they feature are “neglected” or “forgotten” but are implicitly  ready for a comeback, based (I suppose) on a strong belief in their writers’ ability to influence or predict naming trends in the future (aka hubris).

I read Nameberry’s articles because I’m curious about how pop culture affects baby-naming trends. I think their writers are very good at discovering and disseminating information about the latest trends. However, I’ve noticed two practices described in some Nameberry articles that disturb me.

1. Nameberry implies that “hot” names and names “on the rise” are appropriate for use without considering their meanings or the suitability as role models of the celebrities, athletes, TV shows or movies connected to the names. They ignore the fact that many celebrities have personal or professional lives that may become“train wrecks” in the future which could damage the impression made by their names. And they ignore the fact that many TV shows and movies have bizarre plot twists and sequels that could change/damage the impression made by the names associated with them.

2. Nameberry implies that dusty old esoteric names, which before the article was published were “rarely used” or “forgotten by time,” are now ready for use as a name for your child (immediately after the name has been featured in a Nameberry “neglected names” article.) More specifically:

Nameberry’s “Names on the Rise” articles suggest that rising names are implicitly worth considering. But when pompous titles such as Major, King, Messiah, and Prince showed up among the fastest-rising names on the Social Security Administration boys’ list in May, I felt the need to warn parents that those titles placed an impossible burden on their children. They’re not kings or messiahs and they never will be. Nameberry didn’t discuss that issue.

Nameberry’s “Hot Names” articles focus on celebrities in the news and implicitly suggest that the heat celebs with these monikers generate in the media make the names worth considering for your children. But notice what happened to the appeal of names such as Paris, Britney, Lindsey, Miley, and Lance after bad news about such-named celebs hit the media. I feel the need to warn parents to avoid names of current celebrities with whom they’re currently smitten. One scandal (drinking, drugs, sex, domestic violence or worse) could forever wreck the names’ appeal and hurt your child’s self image in the process. Nameberry seems unaware of this risk.

Nameberry’s “Cool, Unusual Names” articles feature names that were selected for ten or fewer children in the previous year. The clear implication of these articles is that because rarely chosen names have appeared in a “Cool, Unusual” Nameberry article, they’re suddenly “cool”—as if by magic. I’d argue that these names have been rejected by the American public for good reasons, which I’m happy to spell out if doing so warns parents away from choosing oddball names such as: Hebe (a name bigots use to bad-mouth Jews), Leda (a woman who, in Greek mythology, was raped by Zeus, who took the form of a swan), or Carola (a German name that’s difficult for Americans to pronounce—see my “Dear Bruce” article about this name). These are some of the “cool, unusual” names that Nameberry recently recommended.

Nameberry’s “Neglected Namesake Names” article (I’ve seen only one) features esoteric and obscure names that seem to come from a different century—when they might have been less unattractive than they are now. When Nameberry dusts them off and features them in an article, the implication is that they’re now ready for use. I feel the need to let parents know that their children are likely to be embarrassed or teased for having such “lost in time” names as Effa (a four-letter word that calls to mind another four-letter word that starts with “f”), Gerty (a name that rhymes with a word for excrement that starts with “t”), and Mertilla (a name that sounds like “Myrtle” as in “Myrtle the Turtle”—which is what she’ll likely be called). These are some of the “neglected namesake names” that Nameberry recently recommended.

As you can see, I have a philosophical disagreement with Nameberry and with self-centered celebrities.  Nameberry  focuses on the fashion of baby naming (regardless of the effect of the names on the children). Likewise celebrities like Kim & Kanye choose names that will generate attention for themselves (regardless of the fact that the names are also likely to embarrass their children).

By contrast, I remind parents to think carefully about the effects their child’s name will have on him or her. I ask parents to consider: How will kids in your child’s kindergarten or high school class respond to the name? How will blind dates respond to the name? How will college admissions officers and personnel directors respond to the name? My goal is to remind parents that the name they give their child is primarily for their child’s benefit; not for a laugh the name may get on a TV-talk show when the celebrity announces it or the “ka-ching” sound Nameberry “hears” when website views of their  articles cause advertising dollars or other fees to flow in.

My reach is extremely limited when compared to that of either Nameberry or celebrities. I fear the power of celebrities and baby-name “fashion” pundits to influence naive young parents to choose names that will embarrass their children or subject them to teasing. So I speak out and use a combination of common sense, parenting know-how and humor in a quixotic attempt to counter their influence with expecting parents to the extent possible.

P.S. I’m not the only pundit who had the guts to say that North West was a bad joke when Kanye West mentioned it on the “Tonight Show” to Jay Leno, and a worse joke (on his daughter) when he actually picked North West as a name for her. But I seem to be the only pundit who is reporting that the “emperor” (in this case, Nameberrry) “has no clothes on” when they write and promote articles recommending awful names  likely to be a burden to or harmful to children.

I enjoy ridiculing the most outrageous naming blunders made by celebrities and by Nameberry (and other pundits, like Belly Ballot). It’s fun for me and fun for my readers. And that’s why I’ve been writing a lot about Nameberry, lately. In my view, a large percent of the names they recommend are awful. And Pamela Redmond Satran (who writes most of the articles I’ve criticized in this and other posts) has just (as of 1/1 8/14) written yet another “Cool, Unusual” article containing more ridiculous and harmful recommendations for 2014. Nameberry sent it out to the media. And Huffington Post reprinted it under their prestigious banner.

When that happens, an amusing “fashion” article turns into a real psychological and social problem for the children who are given those outrageous names. I doubt that publishing harmful baby-naming advice is in the mission statement of either Nameberry or Huff Po. Sooner or later, they’re going to hear about this issue from their readers.

The 5 Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2013

What are the five worst celebrity baby names of 2013? I voted in a survey developed by Celebrity Baby Scoop to answer that question. My reward for voting was a peek at the latest results. (Voting didn’t take more than a few seconds–so I hope you’ll vote too. It was fun!)

Meanwhile, here are the latest results as of today. (No drum-roll needed–everybody but Kim and Kanye could predict that North West would have a long lead on the rest of the lame names.) So here they are–the five worst celebrity baby names of 2013, based on results from almost 1,000 survey respondents (along with information about the parents plus a few snarky comments):

1. North West

Parents: Kanye West is a rapper and Kim Kardashian  is a reality TV star.

Comment: Kanye West told Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show that he was thinking about naming his unborn child North West. That comment got a laugh. Now the joke is on Kim and Kanye’s daughter.

2. Rainbow Aurora Rotella

Parents: Holly Madison is a former Playboy Playmate and Pasquale Rotella produces documentaries.

Comment Rainbow Aurora is a throwback to the psychedelic 60’s. It’s a perfect name for a child conceived at Woodstock.

3. Cricket Silverstein

Parents: Busy Phillips is an actor (“Cougar Town”) and Marc Silverstein is a Hollywood writer and producer.

Comment: Believe it or not, Cricket has a big sister named Birdie. The parents are disappointed that the girls don’t chirp and tweet when they are hungry or need a diaper change (rather than crying).

4. Rekker Gigandet

Parents: Cam Gigandet (pronounced JI-gon-day) and Dominique Geisendorff are both actors.

Comment: I worry about the impression Rekker will make on blind dates and job interviews.

5. Rhythm Myer Overbey

Parents: Whitney Whatley and Brandon Overbey are both reality stars on “Big Rich Texas.”

Comment: I’d expect musical parents to select a name like Rhythm (or Melody or Harmony). I  wonder if the reality-star parents picked the name Rhythm out of frustration with the rhythm method.

I Thought I Knew Just About Everything About North West; I Was Wrong.

I thought I knew just about everthing there was to know about North West. But Maureen O’Connor knows a few things I didn’t know. If you missed her article in New York Magazine, it’s worth reading. I’m going to give you a short quote in which O’Connor conveys the essence of all things Kardashian. She claims North West is quintessentially “Kardashian”; here’s why:

North West “is interesting enough to enable 45 seconds of small talk at the buffet table of a summer wedding. This low-level piquing of interest is what makes North West a thoroughly Kardashian name, even if Kanye (and his sometimes cheesy sensibility) chose it. For the Kardashians’ greatest feat is their ability to draw attention without doing anything that is actually interesting. They are masters of the banal spectacle, turning household monotony and Kim’s swollen feet into news events. In that sense, North West achieves Kardashian, and is thus a great name for Kanye and Kim’s daughter.”

Of course, if you don’t think that household monotony and Kim’s swollen feet are all that great, perhaps, like me, you don’t appreciate “all things Kardashian.” To be candid, I think North West is a bad joke that gets worse every time you tell it. Yet I marveled at the way Maureen O’Connor’s cleverly written piece disguised this obvious “issue.”

So, do not pass go, and do not collect $200 until you read Maureen O’Connor’s charming post.

Laila Ali Apologizes for Calling People Who Pick Names Like North (West) “Stupid”

In a fascinating article on BET.com, Laila Ali apologized for calling people who pick names like North (West) “stupid.”

Here’s how Ali explained the incident to radio personality, Egypt Sherrod, who contacted Ali to give her a chance to explain how she wound up in the middle of a kerfuffle with Kim and Kanye.

“Speaking very candidly and honestly as I always do… knowing how cruel the world is and the bullying, and you know, kids have to grow up and get a job one day, I did say that I think some of these name choices are stupid.”

Notice this sentence: “Some of these name choices are stupid.” In other words, she’s not saying that North was a stupid name. Only “some” of these names are stupid. But, If North wasn’t the name she was referring to, which name was she referring to?

I’ll quote from Ali’s apology:

“I do realize that it was a poor choice of words… and it wasn’t to single out Kim or Kanye. I actually mentioned a bunch of names, not just the name North. It was a general opinion to a question that I was asked.”

In that case, let’s take close look at the “bunch of names” she mentioned:

“North and South, and Leaf, and Water Drop, and all these names… C’mon now.”

Although North is a fixture in celebrity gossip columns and late-night TV show monologs, I can’t recall a prominent celebrity baby named South or Leaf or Water Drop. I got the impression Ali was referring to the kind of non-traditional, creative, fanciful, over-the-top, names someone might be tempted to pick for their child (if they’d taken temporary leave of their senses). “C’mon now” is a lot like “give me a break.” It’s the kind of thing stand-up comics say at the end of a comic riff so the audience will know when  it’s time to laugh.

Curious about  Leaf, Water Drop  and South, I decided to Google those names. I got nothing for Leaf and Water Drop. But when I Googled  South I hit the jackpot: lots of lame jokes (not worth repeating) all of which reference the name North (West), what seemed to be a news item reporting that 85 percent of those surveyed preferred the name North to South, 100 to 1 odds being offered by a bookmaker that Kim and Kanye would pick the name South for their next baby–all of which indicates Ali’s reference to the name South was an attempt at humor.

So it appears that the only real name in the “bunch of names” Ali mentioned was “North.” Which is why Ali’s comments come across as a kind stand-up comedy routine about the crazy names that celebrities are giving their kids these days. And it happens that Kim and Kanye’s choice of North (West) is the celebrity baby name that’s been in the news almost continuously for the last four months. So it’s clear that Ali perceived North as a prototype for silly, ridiculous, crazy names.

Ali’s mistake was describing the kind of parents that picked names like North as “stupid.” She did that when she said (while referring to the current practice of attention-seeking celebrities giving their children “bizarre” names):

“I don’t care who you are, that is just stupid, period.”

Notice the word “you.” It’s as though she was directly addressing Kim, Kanye and the fictional parents of Leaf, Water Drop and South. Ali was no longer joking. This is the comment that seems to step over the line and turn Ali’s understandable concern about the ego-tripping celebrities who saddle their children with embarrassing names into a statement that could be interpreted as insulting.

And it’s easy to understand where Ali is coming from, emotionally. She knows what it’s like to have a parent with an over-inflated ego. Her father, Muhammed Ali, famously called himself “the Greatest.”

So,  although I admire Ali both for her candor and courage in ridiculing names like North, South, Leaf and Water Drop, I also admire her for having the good sense to apologize to Kim and Kanye for using the st-word, while sticking to her basic position about silly names, which can be summed up in five words:

 “I don’t like crazy names.”

This quote pretty much describes the American public’s attitude towards North (West), Blue Ivy, Pilot Inspektor, Bronx Mowgli, Zuma Nesta Rock, Daisy Boo, Moon Unit, Diva Think Muffin Pigeen and  and the rest of the outrageous names I listed in my “10 Mistakes That Have Caused the Biggest and Baddest Baby-Naming Blunders” article. Yes, North (West) is one of those blunders.

Boxer Laila Ali’s Smackdown of Kim and Kanye Re: North West

After staying up late last night to write a response to Joanna Shroeder’s article “Stop Complaining About So-Called Weird Names?” I was thrilled to discover an interview, this morning, with Laila Ali (retired boxer and daughter of the legendary Muhammed Ali) about celebrity baby names like North West. Here are some of highlights from an interview by HipHollywood.com as reported by kpopstarz.com:

When asked what she thought about the name North West, she replied: “I don’t like crazy names!”

When asked about the meaning of names like North West she said: “I think it doesn’t make any sense…You have to think about the child and as they get older what they have to deal with…. But North and South, and Leaf, and Water Drop, and all these names… C’mon now.”

When asked about the current practice of giving babies bizarre names: “A lot of people do things because it is a fad and they want to get some attention.”

When asked about celebrities who defended the bizarre names they had picked, Ali looked directly into the camera as if she was talking to Kim and Kanye and the other baby-naming celebrities directly, and said : “I don’t care who you are that is just stupid, period.”

Celebrity news media usually present celebrity birth announcements as though they are quoting God. Pundits, like me, try to discuss the names objectively. Truth is, we don’t actually know the celebrities we are writing about—so we can’t speak from first-hand knowledge about them. We can only guess what their true motives really are.

That’s why Laila Ali’s smack-down of Kim and Kanye (in particular) and others of their kind is so rare and powerful. She knows the game that Kim and Kanye are playing. And she’s willing to call them on it. What it boils down to is: Kim and Kanye can run from Laila Ali—but they can’t the hide.

37 Outrageous Celebrity Baby Names That Illustrate What Not to Do When Naming Your Baby

Kim and Kanye’s choice of North West for their baby girl’s name has caused pundits to blog about other outrageous celebrity baby names. Curious to discover whether there was a consensus among pundits as to which names were the most, well, awful, I Googled tags like “strange,” “weird,” “funny,” “ridiculous,” “crazy,” and “unique” celebrity baby names.

I soon noticed that several sets of parents (Frank and Adelaide Gail Zappa, Jonathan and Deven Davis, Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton, Soleil Moon Frye and Marc Silverstein) had more than one name on many of the lists. I only included one of Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan’s boys names, but mentioned the other three. It’s clear that coming up with notorious names is something all these parents were trying to do (rather than trying to avoid).

By contrast, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West still don’t understand why their fans, the media and the public at large aren’t thrilled by North West. Kim, Kanye, their friends and their relatives have been releasing statements (to the media) claiming that North is an “inspirational” name because it means “the highest power,” “the highest point” or was chosen because their lives are “guided by” the North Star. They are misguided if they think anyone other than friends and relatives will be impressed by this “logic.”

Most people know that north is a point on the compass located midway between east and west—and the farther north you go, the colder it gets. If Kim and Kanye were sailing around the world on a raft and had lost their compass, I would be more likely to believe that the North Star “guides” their lives.

If you want to find out which of the most commonly criticized celebrity baby names are the biggest baby-naming blunders, just count the number of mistakes the celebrity parents made in the process of coming up with each name, using the 10 common baby-naming mistakes listed below:

Ten Common Baby-Naming Mistakes
-It doesn’t sound like a name.
-It doesn’t make a positive impression for the child.
-The first, middle and family names don’t fit well together.
-It doesn’t work particularly well for formal or informal occasions (or both).
-It is a joke which is ultimately at the expense of the baby.
-It is nonsensical.
-It is unclear as to gender.
-It is difficult to pronounce.
-It is difficult to spell.
-It is likely to provoke or invite teasing.

Although any one of the mistakes listed above could be a source of discomfort or annoyance for a child, any name that reflects three or more of these mistakes is going to cause major problems for the child. But don’t be surprised to discover that most of the celebrity baby names listed below exemplify more than half of the ten mistakes!

Boy’s Names

Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa
Parents: Frank and Adelaide Gail Zappa
My first impression: What country did he come from? What language will he speak?

Audio Science Clayton
Parents: Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton
My first impression: He’ll be instantly stereotyped as a science geek.

Bear Blu Jarecki
Parents: Alicia Silverstone and Christopher Jarecki
My first impression: A depressed plush toy.

Bodhi Ransom Green
Parents: Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green
My first impression: An enlightened hijacker.

Bronx Mowgli Wentz
Parents: Ashlee Simpson and Peter Wentz
My first impression: Apparently, an urban-jungle dweller.

Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis
Parents: Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis
My first impression: Conceived in a truck-stop parking lot.

Dweezil Zappa
Parents: Frank and Adela Adelaide Gail Zappa
My first impression: What’s a dweezil? What planet did it fall from?

Jermajesty Jackson
Parents: Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza
My first impression: Jermajesty’s first words to his parents: “Bow down and kiss my feet!

Kal-El Coppola Cage
Parents: Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim
My first impression: What a combination: Superman’s father and a brilliant movie director. It boggles the mind.

Kid Duchovny
Parents: David Duchovny and Tea Leoni
My first impression: An unwanted child his parents were too busy to name.

Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa
Parents: Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa
My first impression: He won’t be able to remember, pronounce or spell his entire name until he’s 13.

Pilot “Standard” Inspektor Lee
Parents: Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
My first impression: They found the name in an un-proofed edition of a vintage comic book.

Pirate Howsmon Davis
Parents: Jonathan and Deven Davis
My first impression: A Rastafarian pirate, mon!

Prince Michael “Blanket” II
Parent: Michael Jackson and surrogate mother
My first impression: Which is worse: the ego-tripping royal title or the awful nickname?”

Rogue Joaquin Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan
My first impression: Of all the names they gave their boys (Rebel, Racer, Rocket and Rogue) this one is the worst.

Seven Sirius Benjamin
Parents: Erykah Badu and Andree Benjamin
My First Impression: A channel on Sirius XM satellite radio.

Speck Wildhorse
Parents: John Mellencamp and Elaine Irwin
My first impression: What’s the connection between Speck and Wildhorse?

Zeppelin Howsmon Davis
Parents: Jonathan and Deven Davis
My first impression: Conceived after visiting the Air and Space Museum.

Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale
Parents: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale
My first impression: Imagine finding a baby caveman—in Hollywood. (Great concept for a movie!)

Girl’s Names

Alabama Gypsy Rose Jennings
Parents: Drea de Matteo and Shooter Jennings
My first impression: Sounds like a southern stripper.

Daisy Boo Pamela Oliver
Parents: Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
My first impression: She won’t be using baby talk in a few years, but her parents still will.

Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa
Parents: Frank and Adelaide Gail Zappa
My first impression: When she figures out what her parents did to her (with that name) she’s gonna get even.

Fifi Trixibelle Geldof
Parents: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates
My first impression: The birth announcement didn’t mention she’s a baby girl poodle.

Jagger Joseph Blue Goldberg
Parents: Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg
My first impression: A swaggering, depressed religious boy with issues.

Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence
Parents: Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates
My first impression: In adolescence, she’ll want to fly away to Neverland to hang out with Peter Pan.

Little Pixie Frou-Frou Geldof
Parents: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates
First impression: The birth announcement didn’t mention she’s a baby girl poodle.

Lyric Sonny Roads Goldberg
Parents: Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg
My first impression: The parents are picturing a Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan folksinger.

Mirabella Bunny Adams
Parents: Bryan Adams and Alicia Grimaldi:
My first impression: A plush toy purchased in a beauty salon.

Moon Unit Zappa
Parents: Frank Zappa and Adelaide Gail Zappa
My first impression: R2-D2’s girlfriend.

Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette
Parents: Penn Jillette and Emily Zolten
My first impression: Sounds like a vintage comic-strip character.

North West
Parents: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
My first impressions: Either a point on the compass or an airline that was acquired by Delta.

Petal Blossom Rainbow Oliver
Parents: Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
My first impression: Her parents named her while tripping out in the flower garden.

Poet Sienna Rose Goldberg
Parents: Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg
My first impression: A pretentious name to appeal to the admissions director of a prestigious private school.

Poppy Honey Rose Oliver
Parents: Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
My first impression: Her parents named her while tripping out in the flower garden.

Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson
Parents: Uma Thurman and Arpad Busson
My first impression: Sounds like they opened up a baby-name book and picked five names at random—hoping to find one the child would like.
(Believe it or not, six months after giving her five names, Uma Thurman announced she was going to call her daughter Luna.)

Tu Simone Ayer Morrow
Parents: Rob Morrow and Debbon Ayer
My first impression: Which is worse: Tu Morrow or her mother’s name, Debbon Ayer?

Yamma Noyola Brown
Parents: James Brown and Deidre Jenkins
My first impression: They came up with the name while attending a church service where worshippers speak in tongues.

What to Do When Naming Your Baby
Once you understand just how uncomfortable (and annoying) these baby-naming mistakes can be for a child to live with, Go down the list of mistakes and see how many mistakes each name makes. That will give you a quick way to eliminate names likely to be a burden for your child.

However, sometimes playing it safe can produce a dull name (like Bob or Mary). Make one or two “mistakes” and you could wind up with a more remarkable or memorable name (like Wiley or Rio, both of which are unclear as to gender). But if you make more than one or two mistakes you’re likely to produce a baby-naming disaster (like Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa or Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa) that are a recognized form of child abuse. (Ultimately, these kind of “jokes” are on the child and on you.)

P.S. This post has recently been added to the Baby Name Police training manual. All recruits are tested on their ability to name all the mistakes embodied in each baby naming blunder listed above. As a result of superior training and vigilance, I’m hoping we’ll be better able to call baby name abuse to the attention of the parents and the general public in the future.