Much as I love France and somethings French, I’ve never liked the ‘nanny’ State mentality of the republic. I’m not surprised that a French court would rule against parents wishing to name their child ‘Nutella’, and deeming that she be named ‘Ella’ instead. Another court ruled that ‘Fraise’ (strawberry) was unacceptable.

We, in the English-speaking world don’t seem to have this concern much. If you can’t name your child strawberry, then all those lovely girls I know named Rosemary or Rose had better be happy being called Mary, or something equally nondescript.

If you are an individual, what better mark of that than your name?

One of my girls has a Welsh name that means beautiful maiden, which she is. She was born during a hurricane in 2003, named Isabelle. She may change her name, one day, to Isabelle; that would not deny who she is.

She’s just been in a football tournament. One of her teammates is named Sage. Well, dear, don’t take that to France and marry someone, then try to name your baby Thyme.

Celebrities in France can’t be like those in Britain or the USA. Kanye (a singer) West has a child named North. What’s his point? David Beckham’s eldest son is named Brooklyn; that’s a bridge too far for France, I’m sure.

We know too well that the black population in many English-speaking places have gone for ‘ethnic-sounding’ names. So, while white America loves ‘Molly’ and ‘Amy’ best, black America loves ‘Imani’ and ‘Ebony’, for girls. For boys, white Americans love ‘Jake’ and ‘Connor’, but black Americans love ‘DeShawn’ and ‘DeAndre’ and ‘Marquis’? Ironically, those black names sound French, but wouldn’t get much of a smile in Paris.

Let the French have their way. It’s not ours.

One of the joys of Jamaica is our love of nicknames, names that fit. That’s why no one in my family calls me by my given name. It caused me a problem when I first went to school in England, and my teacher was taking the register. “Dennis,…Jones, you new boy!” No one called me Dennis in Jamaica; they still don’t, except to appease people who got to know me later. I’m “…” 😊 My father is named Egbert Athwell, good old English names, meaning bright edge’ and ‘at the well’. Well, there you go. Only for formality does that first name get trotted out. Everyone knows him as ‘Chappie’ or ‘Cock’. He was a man with a certain style about him, some he was ‘The Chap’ or the cock of the yard. Uncle Chappie rules. 😀

We’ve our Elephant and Ninja Men, Bounty Killer and Gully Bop. But, our Rodericks and Trevors often get called ‘Lippy’ and ‘Horsehead’ by friends and acquaintances. Would we object to them being named so, officially, at birth?

I had a great exchange online with friends in Ghana, last night, on this whole business. I threw in the West African tradition of naming children for the day on which they were born, so I know a few Friday’s and Sundays, whether that’s in English or an African language. How would France have dealt with the parents of Goodluck Jonathan?

Part of the whole nanny-state state is denying liberty that is enshrined in the French constitution; no constitution for that, mes amis. Equality, also there, constitutionally, is also ditched, as you’re only equal if you fit into the ‘let us tell you how to name your children’ condition.

I’m not sure if France also has a thing against nicknames or stage names. When other countries go for the ban, you can sense their dislike of the ridiculous or the overly complicated, such as ‘4Real’ being banned by the New Zealand government. But, pity the Norwegian mother jailed for naming her 14th child ‘Gesher’, bridge in Hebrew; she didn’t pay the fine for using the unapproved name. What about ‘Albin’, written ‘brfxxccxxmnpccclllmnnprxvclmnckssqlbb111’, chosen to protest naming laws in Sweden? Okay! Point made and taken?

I don’t want to know how France views anyone wanting to name their boy Jésus. Dear Jesus, save them from themselves.

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