name regret

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 14 21:58:14 UTC 2011

There is a difference between being "oddly named" when transcending
linguistic and/or cultural boundaries (e.g., Bobo would sound OK in some
African countries, but would be an absolute taboo in South America--and
this is not a hypothetical example!) and the names deliberately picked
by parent to be odd. The former is "accidental" oddity (like to
apocryphal confusion over Chevy Nova). The latter is not. I once had a
student named Euclid Moon. Moon was not his surname--he had NO surname.
Of course, this did not stop the registrar or others from using "Moon"
as the family name. Two years earlier, I had another student whose given
name was Euclid, but he was from Nigeria. Somehow, that did not sound as

BTW, I don't see what's so odd about Ronald Reagan Jones, especially
since he has every opportunity to avoid using his middle name with
regularity (Ronald R. Jones may be uncool, but that's because it's so
plain). It's no more odd or uncool than name combinations than include
George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Payne as First+Middle.
"Uncool" is also relative--both individually and temporally. And it's no
more dorky to name kids after politicians than naming kids after Madonna
or any other entertainer du jour, hockey or basketball teams, dead or
living relatives or inanimate objects. Frank Zappa had the right idea...
(My sons' middle names are Rembrandt and Jonas with no connection to any
living or dead people or fictional characters--no, seriously, not named
after THE Rembrandt, no matter what others might think! Their Hebrew
names, on the other hand... Let's just say, Trahdyshun!)


On Oct 14, 2011, at 6:32 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:
> What percent regret the dorky name that they gave their children?
> (E.g., RONALD REAGAN JONES might cause his parents to have deep
> remorse for inflicting such an uncool name on one who grew up to be a
> trendy professor of literature at Yale.)

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