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A woman in London has named her baby daughter, ‘Hashtag,’ in honour of Twitter. She is an ordinary woman, mind you, not a celebrity, so I don’t know what her excuse is. Celebrities, particularly of the Hollywood and popular music fraternity, have a history of giving their children names that are out of the ordinary.
Some examples: Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter is called Apple. Nicholas Cage named his son Kal-el, which was Superman’s name on his planet, Krypton. Singer Frank Zappa named two of his kids, Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin. Actress Alicia Silverstone named her son, Bear Blu. Sylvester Stallone named his son, Sage Moonblood. Gwen Stefani named her son, Zuma Nesta Rock.
I wonder why celebrities think their status makes them exempt from using their common sense when it comes to baby names. Joaquin Phoenix’s siblings all boast of dreamy, romantic names like Summer, Rain, Liberty and River. Even Joaquin changed his name to Leaf for some time because he didn’t feel as if he quite belonged to the family.
When Katie Holmes delivered a baby girl, Tom Cruise's spokesman announced that the baby would be named Suri, which meant princess in Hebrew and red rose in Persian. We would have told him that it means knife in some Indian languages.
Celebrities will be celebrities, with their feet high above the ground. What prompted the lady Jameson to pick up such a name is not known. Incidentally, Baby Hashtag’s mother, identified only by her last name, Jameson, chose to make the announcement on Facebook. She wrote, "Hashtag Jameson was born at 10 oclock last nite. She weys 8pounds and i luv her so much!!!!!!"
The twitterati were aghast at the choice of name and very quickly expressed their feelings with other trending hashtags like #Foolishparents, #YourParentsHateYou and #StupidestNameEver. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poked fun at the name, joking that Hashtag’s sibling would be named “Retweet."
I shudder to think of the bullying and taunting that that little girl is going to face on the playground and at school. Unless this is one big elaborate joke or publicity stunt. What is increasingly more likely is that the child will fit in very well because she will be surrounded by other kids named Denim, Flying Rock and Chromosome.
In 2005, a Swedish couple named their baby boy, Oliver Google Kai. Another little baby in Sweden is called Lego. In 2011, an Israeli couple paid obeisance to Facebook, when they named their daughter, Like. Another gentleman from Egypt went further when he named his daughter, Facebook, apparently in honour of the website’s role in the Arab Spring that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.
The search for the most unique baby name is sending parents to the weirdest sources. Baby name books and websites are not the only places of choice. Increasingly some parents, still the exception, thankfully, are looking up the dictionary, the shopping mall, the cinema and all around for inspiration.
In India, a lot of parents read up on Indian mythology to get the most unique name. Sometimes they try spelling a name differently. Sometimes, though, they just let their feelings and prejudices dictate their choice of name. In 2011, the district administration in Satara, Maharashtra, identified 222 girls under the age of 18, who had been named ‘Nakusha’ or ‘Nakushi,’ meaning "unwanted", without the traditional naming ceremony, because their families had hoped for boys. There is also a belief that if a girl is named Nakushi, the child born after her will be a boy. These girls were subsequently either renamed by the district administration or asked to choose a name for themselves.
Weird names such as these have caused the governments of certain countries to take a keen interest in naming trends. New Zealand has banned names like Number 16 Bus Shelter, Fish and Chips (for twins), Lucifer, Duke, Messiah, Bishop, Baron, General, Judge, King, Mr, 89 C, D, I and T. Sweden has pronounced disfavour on names like IKEA, Metallica, Veranda, Q, Superman, Metallica and Elvis, and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced “Albin”).
If you are in the UK, you may not name your child 4Real. And Chow Tow, meaning Smelly Head, is out in Malaysia.
So will baby Hashtag sign herself #? We will need to wait and watch.