Will "Criswell" Be Acceptable?


Constructive legislation in South America:

[O]dd names might be turned down by the civil registry if Venezuela approves a bill barring parents from giving their children 'names that expose them to ridicule, are extravagant or difficult to pronounce,' or that raise doubts about whether a child is a girl or a boy.

Hmm. That last requirement would rule out "Jesse," wouldn't it?

Believe it or not, the proposal has precedent:

Current Venezuelan law already has a similar measure saying registry authorities should not accept names that would expose children to ridicule. But the issue has until now been left up to the discretion of individual bureaucrats.

The new bill proposes to create a list of traditional names that could be offered to parents 'as a reference' to provide options when they are registering their child's birth. It says the list would have 'no fewer than 100 names' and would grow over time.

Submitted for discussion: This is

(a) yet another power grab by Hugo Chavez. Even low-level bureaucrats in the civil registry are coming under his centralized control.

(b) a step in the right direction. At least now there will be a consistent policy, and parents need not fear the petty obstructions of some meddlesome government clerk.

(c) Stupid! Stupid!

Update: Several readers inform me that such laws are common in Europe as well. Yet another reason to be glad I live in the USA, where a man can name his kid "Moon Unit Zappa" or "Madonna Ciccone" or "Willard Mitt Romney" without fear of official reprisal.