September 05, 2007

no more hitler juniors in venezuela

Can you imagine having to choose your child's name from a list of only 100 names? This is exactly what is being suggested in Venezuela. For a reason. From an article in The New York Times:

A Culture of Naming That Even a Law May Not Tame

Goodbye, Tutankamen del Sol. So long, Hengelberth, Maolenin, Kerbert Krishnamerk, Githanjaly, Yornaichel, Nixon and Yurbiladyberth. The prolifically inventive world of Venezuelan baby names may be coming to an end.

If electoral officials here get their way, a bill introduced last week would prohibit Venezuelan parents from bestowing those names — and many, many others — on their children.

The measure would not be retroactive. But it would limit parents of newborns to a list of 100 names established by the government, with exemptions for Indians and foreigners, and it is already facing skepticism in the halls of the National Assembly.

“I need to know how they would define those 100 names,” said Jhonny Owee Milano Rodríguez, a congressman representing Cojedes State. “For example, why not 120? This seems arbitrary to me.” [...]

The bill’s ambition, according to a draft submitted to municipal offices here for review, is to “preserve the equilibrium and integral development of the child” by preventing parents from giving newborns names that expose them to ridicule or are “extravagant or hard to pronounce in the official language,” Spanish. The bill also aims to prevent names that “generate doubts” about the bearer’s gender. [...]

Some parents exercise that right more liberally than others. Software searches of the voter registry find more than 60 people of voting age with the first name Hitler, including Hitler Adonys Rodríguez Crespo; eight Hochiminhs, among them Hochiminh Jesús Delgado Sierra; and six Eisenhowers. [...]

Not everyone denounces the bill. Temutchin del Espíritu Santo Rojas Fernández, 25, a computer programmer, explained that his first name was inspired by the birth name of Genghis Khan, often spelled Temujin in English. He said he frequently had to correct the spelling of his name on official documents.

While I agree that it's a good thing to set a limit for parents' creativity in the interest of the childd (no child should be named Hitler), limiting the choice to 100 names (or only 50, considering that the names have to be gender-specific) seems overly restrictive.

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