Nutella or Montague: What’s in a Name?
According to Ole Bill Shakespeare what you call a thing doesn’t alter its nature; “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and all that.
Note: not to give anything away, but regardless of the lovely sentiment, things didn’t end well for Juliet.
It seems a court in Northern France disagrees with the Bard of Avon, and has taken a tough stance toward families who give their children odd names.
When one couple in Valenciennes tried to call their child Nutella, the shocked registrar immediately informed the local prosecutor, who took the case to court in the northern city. (But not before first making himself a quick snack, Nutella really is delicious.)
The judge argued that giving the child the name of a chocolate spread was against the girl’s interests as it might lead to mockery and unpleasant remarks. “Children can be horribly cruel to other children who happen to have odd names,” the Honorable Peanut Butter N. Jelly told the court as he wiped a tear of remembrance from his eye. “Besides, Nutella is clearly a boy’s name.”
The parents did not turn up at the hearing in November, and in their absence, the judge ruled that the girl’s name should be shortened from Nutella to Ella. Her full name is now a much more respectable Ella Phant Butt. “Let’s see school children just try to make fun of that,” the court said.
The same court in Valenciennes made similar arguments in January this year before overturning the decision of another couple to name their child Fraise, the French word for strawberry.
The judge said that in particular, the girl might face derision from people using the uncouth expression “ramène ta fraise” – a slang saying that translates as “get your ass over here.”
The parents opted instead for Fraisine, an elegant name popular in the 19th century that roughly translates as the much more couth saying, “get your non-strawberry ass over here.”
“French parents can choose whatever name they want for their offspring,” a registrar said, “but we will occasionally seek to ban or change a moniker that might be deemed against the child’s interests, or if we’re bored, or if someone’s just kind of being a jerkface.”
“I don’t think it’s very funny,” said known jerkface Jacques Faucheux, father of recently court renamed Son-Of-Flaccid-Penis Faucheux.
A family was told in 2009 that they could not name their child after the French cartoon character Titeuf.
Note: I’ve never been more glad to live in the United States; I fully plan to name my first child Magilla Gorilla, and I don’t want the courts messing around with my daughter’s name.
But the French courts don’t reserve this right for just human names. A dog owner in eastern France has been forced to change the names of his dogs, Itler and Iva, because they clearly “make people think of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun.”
The unnamed owner argued that the names, Itler and Iva, had nothing to do with Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun. He grudgingly changed his dogs’ names to Iliso and Isio 4, but admitted he probably shouldn’t have shaved the swastikas into their fur.
And finally, in France, you cannot call a pig Napoleon, due to a law aimed at preserving the image of the Emperor which remains on the statute books.
For shame, George Orwell. For shame.
Jacques Faucheux has petitioned the court to have his son’s name (Son-Of-Flaccid-Penis Faucheux) changed. And he was a real prick about it.
The court granted his petition, and changed his son’s name to My-Fathers-A-Prick Faucheux.
Another petition is pending.