- Journal Archives
- Volume 16
- Volume 15
- Volume 14
- Volume 13
- Volume 12
- Volume 11
- Volume 10
- Volume 9
- Volume 8
- Volume 7
- Volume 6
- Volume 5
- Volume 4
- Volume 3
- Volume 2
- Volume 1
Last week a family court judge in New Zealand ordered that a nine-year-old girl, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, be renamed. What could possibly justify such a drastic measure? Judge Rob Murffit stated that the court was “profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name.” Further, he commented, the name “makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.”
Apparently, Talula was so embarrassed by her name that she never told even her closest friends her true name, instead requesting that they simply call her “K.”
New Zealand law prohibits individuals having names that would cause offense to to a reasonable person. Other names that the New Zealand Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages has blocked include “Yeah Detroit” and “Fish and Chips.”
While there are no regulations as to what parents may name their children in the United States, the New Zealand case begs the question: should there be? As one commenter observed, “We do not simply name children to ensure they come when they’re called. We name children to give them an identity.” In fact, many cultures have elaborate traditions surrounding the choosing of a child’s name. Unfortunately, statistics show that American parents take their cues from names in current popular culture. Kingston, Shiloh, Miley, and Jayden all made appearances in the Social Security list of most popular baby names for 2007 due in large part to their celebrity connections.
I do not write to attack the intrinsic value of free speech or parental rights, but rather to question whether children saddled with ridiculous names should really have to endure additional childhood teasing or the burdens associated with having one’s name legally changed. Aren’t playground politics hard enough as it is?
- Brooke Russ
Recent Blog Posts
- Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do When the Police Cam Catches You?
- Government Settles in DEA Facebook Impersonation Controversy
- Nickelodeon’s Kids v. Google
- Ivanpah Solar Plant’s Firey Clash of Environmental Objectives
- The Silk Road: An Insight Into the Future of Internet Regulation?
- JETLaw Symposium on Intellectual Property Tomorrow
Tagsadvertising antitrust Apple books career celebrities contracts copyright copyright infringement courts creative content criminal law entertainment Facebook FCC film/television financial First Amendment games Google government intellectual property internet JETLaw journalism lawsuits legislation media medicine Monday Morning JETLawg music NFL patents privacy progress publicity rights radio social networking sports Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) technology telecommunications trademarks Twitter U.S. Constitution