Thought I Could Organize Freedom; How Scandinavian of Me


Reader Umung Varma notes a piece in today's New York Times on Denmark's strict rules on baby naming:

At its heart, the Law on Personal Names is designed to protect Denmark's innocents – the children who are undeservedly, some would say cruelly, burdened by preposterous or silly names. It is the state's view that children should not suffer ridicule and abuse because of their parents' lapses in judgment or their misguided attempts to be hip. Denmark, like much of Scandinavia, prizes sameness, not uniqueness, just as it values usefulness, not frivolousness.

So no Apple or Brooklyn, let alone Dweezil or Moon Unit. I decided a long time ago that if I ever had a daughter, I'd name her "Antigone," partly because of that "burden." I like the idea of a name that reminds a child she's unique. Though, of course, that can backfire: A friend who was taking a masters in social work once worked at an urban summer camp where there were three girls named "Unique."