Thursday, August 25, 2005

What's in a Name?

Today's elite seem to have the impression that the stranger the name, the better it is. Many thought it was strange when Cher named her daughter Chastity (especially considering the source), but that seems quite tame now compared to what some celebrities are coming up with. It's really getting out of hand. Below are a sampling of the most offensive.

We start out with Jason Lee, a longtime favorite actor of Las F, who's projects included most of the View Askew films, romantic comedy A Guy Thing and lent his voice to a villain in The Incredibles. Recently separated from wife Carmen and reattached to current fiancee Beth Riesgraf, the two celebrated the birth of their son, upon whom they've thoughtlessly bestowed the name - and I'm not kidding here - Pilot Inspektor. That would make his entire name Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf Lee. Give the kid a fighting chance, would you??? While most of his cohort will be ignorant of and therefore ignore the obvious Inspector Gadget references, Pilot most definitely has a few bloody noses coming his way. I can only imagine the befuddlement on the faces of the nurses who, when asking what the name was, the mother looked at them with the glow of a new parent and lovingly replied, "Pilot Inspektor." They even spelled Inspektor the German way, leaving an entire other avenue of teasing that I won't get into here. It's just not right, folks. As an aside, if you happen to rent A Guy Thing (which you really ought to, it's hilarious), be sure to watch the blooper reel and watch carefully after James Brolin says, "You have your orders!" I promise you it will make you scream with laughter. A group of us had to rewind and rewatch a few times, and even months later we occasionally go back and rewatch it. Jason Lee is incomparable. I'm still laughing about it as I type this.

Moving down the pantheon of hideous actor-offspring names, we arrive at magician Penn Gillette, the vocal half of Penn and Teller. After I got over the idea that he would be considered attractive by any female (looks aside - the man is an embarassment), I started to absorb that he and his wife had a baby girl and named her Moxie CrimeFighter. Let's examine - the first name is not so bad; at least it sounds feminine. But CrimeFighter? There's no rhyme or reason to that. She's going to have to put that on her SATs. It's almost as if he wanted her to be mortified in front of her peers. According to the father, it would give her a way to get out of a future speeding ticket, by telling the officer they were both on the same team of CrimeFighter. Not only would this not get her out of the ticket, but I'm pretty sure if she tried to use it she'd be arrested. Not to mention the appaling grammatical gymnastics required to make two proper nouns into one compound, dual-capitaled noun. For shame, Penn Gillette. Although I really can't blame him - he's not exactly a well-monikered role model.

Lastly and ghastly, we come to the Jackson family. While the patriarch of the clan gave the children somewhat reasonable names, the children didn't seem to enjoy that privelage. Rebbie (short for Maureen Reillette) had three children: Austin, Stacee and (gasp) Yashi, which sounds just like a high-fiber cereal. Jackie, who had to suffer life named Jackie Jackson, mind you, named his two children Brandi, a normal name, and Siggy, a name that should have died with Freud. Tito named his three sons Taj, Taryll and TJ - not too bad. Marlon, the sole undivorced Jackson, had three normal children named Brittny, Valencia and Marlon, Jr. Jermaine had the audacity to name his son Jermajesty, which is a near guarantee of a god complex. Randy, LaToya and Janet, mercifully, have no children to date. Of course, the King of Bad Taste, Michael, named his children Prince Michael and Paris. When his third child arrived he named him Prince Michael II, which makes me recall George Foreman's egotistical nomenclature, and of course, bearing that in mind, Michael had the grace to give his son a nickname - Blanket. God bless that poor child. He's already been dangled off a balcony - who knows what he'll deal with next.

So there you have it, the hall of fame of bad names. Take this as a lesson, folks. The next time you and your significant other are arguing over whether or not a little girl named "Olivia" will be made fun of by her schoolmates, remember - it could be worse. You could name her Reign Beau, like Ving Rhames did. God help us all.