Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Games Are The Names


About a week or so ago over there in Sweden, a couple had wanted to name their baby girl "Elvis". Well, that's easier thought of than done over yonder there in Sweden because apparently, the Swedish government is a bit controlling, as their tax authority can shoot down a parents' choice of name for their child if the controlling tax authoritarians decide that such a name could "cause trouble for the child later in life." Grand. So, do you think that they thought "Elvis" was going to cause problems? Of course they did. (They probably just took a gander at the "other Elvis" and his life and figured that he had plenty of problems. Must have been the name! Veto!)

The weird part is that they aren't allowing "Elvis", but they have allowed a "Metallica" (girl) and a "Google" (boy), not to mention an "Ikea" (pretty) and a "Lego" (as in "my Eggo"). Go figure.

So what's the point? The point is that when I think "Sweden" I don't necessarily think "controlling", but yet they have this weird tax-guy/name-permission giver position in their government. Now, when I think "China", well, then I DO necessarily think "controlling" (and "Communist", which is like controlling times ten). But do they regulate what you can name the one child that they allow you to give birth to over there? Noooooo. Well, maybe they should start.

The Chinese people in China tend to get really excited and enthusiastic when it comes to national events. I don't know if they are naturally enthusiastic people or if they are forced to do so by the government. But when they get behind something, they are there 110%. And the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer will be no exception.

The Chinese are thrilled, just thrilled, that they are getting the Olympics. And people are so thrilled that they're starting to give their new born babies Olympic Games related names. Names like "Olympic Games". Wait. What?

The good folks across the pond at the BBC tell us that the name Aoyun, which means "Olympic Games" has been given to over 4,000 babies, 92% of whom are boys. There are also 3,216 babies who are named simply "Olympics". The majority of the "Olympics" babies are also male. (The "reasoning" behind this is that "in Chinese parents' minds, a man should be more athletic and fonder of the Olympics." (So what do they propose to name the girls? Little "Good Only For Childbearing" and the oh-so adorable "Barefoot And Pregnant"?)

And while that might seem a bit odd, it is apparently NOT uncommon for the Chinese to name their children after popular events or popular slogans. There are Chinese children that are named "Defend China", "Build the Nation" and "Space Travel". (Did the Chinese ever actually make it into space? Oh, sure, they have their spy satellites that are zooming in on me at this very moment as I type this, but I mean did they ever shoot a live human being up there? I'm not sure that they did.) There are also 290,798 babies with the name "Civilisation". Um, OK?

So what's the latest name to sweep China? Well, first, you have to think of the most recent event to shake up China. Correct, the big ass earthquake on May 12 over in Sichuan that killed over 69,000 people with 17,000 more still missing. Second, you have to think of how that would be adapted into a child's name. Correct, you would name your child "Hope for Sichuan". You would? Dear God, I would hope not.

So the Chinese have a firm grip on everything in that country, a grip so tight it's residents can hardly breathe at times. They control everything. They filter the Internet, for cryin' out loud! But they're letting people name their kids "Olympic Games" and "Build the Nation". Meanwhile, over in Sweden, they're participating in all sorts of unmentionable activities (most of which take place below the belt and while one is fully liquored up), but one of their activities will not be naming their children "Elvis." It just seems a little backwards to me, that's all. But, then again, who am I to be deeming something as "backwards", when folks in this country are giving their children names such as "Pilot Inspektor", "Moxie Crimefighter" and "Jor-El" (I actually think "Jor-El" is awesome. It's Superman's father's name, but regardless of that, it sounds pretty cool.). Actually, after listing those, "Olympic Games" is starting to sound pretty good.

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