To the avid movie fan and even some of my fellow Pajibans, the Academy Awards telecast is akin to the Superbowl. Hours of pomp and circumstance over the best movie costumes and sound editing, fussing over the clothes people wear to a bloated ceremony and speech upon speech upon falsely modest speech. But for those of you who aren’t into all that, you need a little something to distract you for a moment or two and I consider it an honor and a privilege to give you this distraction (which if you’re lucky, will get you through exactly that amount of time). Hopefully the list will at least provide you a chuckle, a quizzical expression upon your face and a few ideas for naming your next child, pet or blow-up friend; whatever the case may be. After all, according to the media, we—the regular people—enjoy doing everything we can to be just like our celebrity idols. We want to dress like them, get their haircuts, wear the make-up they wear, acquire the same stuff and follow their causes. Maybe, we even want to name our kids as they name theirs?
But before we go down that road, we might want to take a really good look at the names these people are choosing. Remember all the hubbub over Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin naming their baby Apple? It was practically a national news event. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like ever since then, there is an unspoken contest going on: who can come up with the most outrageous name? Who can get the most press coverage over their baby’s name? Even before Apple Martin, there were Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa, but at least they had the benefit of a father who was exposed to mustard gas and who composed music that people who don’t do drugs rarely listen to. There’s something extra special going on when a boy named after a comic book hero (Kal-El Coppola Cage) doesn’t even come close to making the crazy name list and Apple is passé. But if you’re looking for inspiration, this is certainly a group to bookmark just in case you are ever a famous person in need of a attention-grabbing, horrendously bad, inconsiderate, idiotic, self-important baby name.
10. Speck Mellencamp I’m not sure what message John Mellencamp was trying to give to his son with this name—that he is meaningless? He’s a nobody? I can only guess that John wanted to make sure his offspring was less egotistical than himself.
9. Banjo Taylor Though she gave her daughters fairly traditional names (Adelaide and Clementine), actress Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters”) decided an inanimate object would make a good baby name. I can’t for the life of me think of a good enough reason to call your child an instrument. “Hey, come here Piano! Little Clarinet, won’t you set the table for Mommy?” Banjo? It’s just plain stupid.
8. Peanut Kai Rademacher “General Hospital” actor Ingo Rademacher and his wife, like many an expectant couple, nicknamed their baby Peanut, in utero. The thing is, Ingo, most people give their child a real name once it is born. The other thing is, most sane,rational people would realize the ridicule that will be inflicted upon a male child named Peanut and want to spare him that ridicule—but I guess celebrities are neither sane nor rational.
7. Reignbeau Rhames Really Ving? Really? I mean, you managed to spell your son’s name (Freedom) properly; what happened here? I’ll always love you as an actor, but as a fellow parent, I must condemn this travesty of a name.
6. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence I refuse to blame the late Michael Hutchence for this most ridiculous name, seeing as how her mother spawned other foolishly named children with another man. Plus, Michael was so pretty and he sang so beautifully, I really can’t be mad at him for anything. Except dying. Sadface.
5. Pilot Inspektor Lee In what may be the saddest baby naming story I’ve ever read, Pilot allegedly earned his name after his parents (actor Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf) heard a song called He’s Simple. He’s Dumb. He’s the Pilot. Heartwarming sentiment there, people.
4. Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette Whackadoodie is as whackadoodie does. What else can be said here? Penn Jillette’s rationale for the “CrimeFighter” was that if his daughter got pulled over she could say she was on the same side as the police officer. Come on dude, that name is an assault on the poor girl.
3. Audio Science Clayton I’d really put numbers 3, 4 and 5 all at the same level of awfulness, they each feel like a variation on a theme. But Audio Science is closest to the top of the list because of blatant parental stupidity. Apparently Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale, Wristcutters: A Love Story) and her boyfriend “just wanted a word instead of a name—so they looked through a dictionary” to find the words “audio” and “science.” Well, praise Godtopus, at least they had the sense to want to spell their son correctly.
2. Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa How on earth did we hear about the other Zappa kids but not this poor girl? Purportedly given her first name, Diva, because of her lung power, I don’t know how literal the rest of it is.
1. Jermajesty Jermaine Jackson Clearly the Jackson brothers have a need to believe they are special, a class above the rest—royalty, even. It’s bad enough that brother Michael named two of his children Prince Michael, but Jermaine had to go one better: morphing his name into a title. But “Jermajesty” doesn’t suggest regality as much as a stupid, foolish father’s ego that is expected to be carried by the next generation. Jermain incorporated himself into his son’s first and middle names, ostensibly ensuring that if this kid had any ideas of being his own person, Jermajesty should just forget them the moment he was born.