The Rider Named Ryder

May 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

(c) AFP: Ryder Hesjedal celebrates his underdog victory at the Giro d’Italia cycling race on May 27, 2012 in Milan.

Vancouver Island cyclist Ryder Hesjedal has burned up the headlines across Canada this week, making us proud by becoming the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Tour cycling event when he captured the Giro d’Italia trophy this morning. And one of my favourite tweets about the win? A non-Canadian who had been watching the Giro daily, live from Italy, commented regarding the athlete whom no one had pegged as the possible winner:

“I just realized that rider Hesjedal is Ryder Hesjedal. #duh”

He and nearly everybody else, within Canada included (cycling’s popularity is growing here, and Hesjedal could be the new star to elevate it!) Before he won the second most prestigious cycling race in the world, Hesjedal’s best finish was 6th overall at the 2010 Tour de France, and he won the 12th stage of the 2009 Vuelta a Espana.

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Bad Baby Namer: Levi Johnson

May 3, 2012 § 3 Comments

To those of you making your first visit thanks to my first guest post at Nameberry (which I’ve been squeeing about since they asked me!!) – Welcome! Happy to have you here!

Today, though, I feel the need to get a little bit serious for a second (bear with me). The first thing I did when I found out Levi Johnson plans to name his unborn daughter Breeze Beretta was write a long-winded, angry post calling him out for using his kid as a toy in his never-ending quest for attention. There are many rules for baby naming out there, and while I feel most rules are made to be broken, for the right price, the notion that children are not to be named for our amusement feels like the one rule not up for debate.

That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my laid-back attitude to names, or that I think parents should refrain from using Fifi if they have a really good reason for it. I deleted the first post; it didn’t sound like me. It didn’t live up to the goals of my blog. I choose not to be among the madding crowd for names ranging from the truly awful to the mundane to the strange or even questionable. I’ve never believed that “they’ll get made fun of” is a good enough reason not to use a name, because kids will make fun of any name, given the right ammunition.

But my disappointment in Levi Johnson and his paternally-undeveloped mind all comes back around to reason, and my predisposition to dislike violent names. Why did Sarah Palin’s Achilles heel choose to name his daughter after an Italian gunmaker? (The weather-pattern first name is an easy play to call, with a babymama named Sunny.) Was it because he likes to hunt? Well, we know he does. I like to listen to music, but a brand name like Fender or Gibson is still not on my list – though I know they have inspired many.

But back to Beretta. What good is there – really – in using violent themes to name our children? Don’t we want our kids to grow up to be presidents or artists, economists or computer geniuses? Don’t we want our kids to exemplify traits like honour, courage, kindness, hope, and love? Are our violent hobbies or interests really best suited to our children’s birth certificates? Bears may be a dangerous animal, and it’s a name that I’ve defended, but bears are connected to nature. Guns, especially brand names of guns, are connected only to violence. (Colt, a comparable, is also a horse, which can dress this one up a bit.)

Sure, in some circles, guns/hunting equals honour, but my not-so-humble opinion of that theory is that it’s wrong. Hunting equals survival or sport, and guns equal death. Charlton Heston may have once expressed a love of guns so deep we could pry his “from my cold, dead hands,” but Charlton Heston still named his children Fraser Clarke and Holly Ann.

When it comes to Levi Johnson, I can’t help but think that, just like his Playgirl spread and tabloid-friendly memoir, he was well aware that a simple, controversy-free name like Lily Rose wouldn’t cut it, wouldn’t help him live up to the bad boy reputation he has clearly found some easy money in. For the reason that his new daughter feels like his latest press tool, and for the fact I cannot figure out why we honour violence with baby names, Levi Johnson gets a uniquely rare, but altogether ‘entirely official,’ stamp of disapproval from me as a Bad Baby Namer.

Okay, rant’s over. Am I overreacting? Blinded by a distaste for fame-hungry deadbeat dads? I’m not so sure, I’m not used to hating names/namers. Weigh in!

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