so i'm listening to radio nz in the afternoon as i'm in the car, and i hear jim mora read out some emails of people's experiences of their parents giving them wierd names (sorry, not online). the only example that i can really remember is of a family with a surname of "bear" who decided to call one of their children "teddy" and another "polar". apparently a true story.
anyway, one of the emailers writes in to say that many people have been traumatised by the nasty teasing they had to endure as a result of an odd name. and heaps of opprobrium was of course directed to the terrible parents who would inflict such a name on their helpless offspring.
the problem i have with this is that there was absolutely no ire shown towards people who would be cruel or thoughtless enough to be teasing people with wierd or funny names. i hate that we accept that children will be cruel, accept that other adults will be cruel and advocate conformity & diminished individuality as a response to this. surely our effort and energy should be going towards creating a society where people can exist without having to suffer for something as trivial as a strange name. in fact they shouldn't have to suffer because of any physical or psychological trait that is deviant from what is currently decided to be the "norm" - too fat, too thin, too "effeminate" for a boy, too "masculine" for a girl, wrong colour, wrong race, wrong religion etc etc etc.
i mean really, are we aiming for a society where everyone must fit into a narrow band of what is considered acceptable, and anyone who happens to fall outside that - whether by their own choice or not - can be expected to face harassment for it? how is it that we never even consider the possibility that parents should be able to give their child whatever stupid name they want, and no-one would even bother to make a comment about it? i think i'd much prefer to live in a world like that, rather than one where everyone had predictable and boring names.