03 April 2007

...if thou hast no name to be known by...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Metallica may work as a name for a heavy metal band, but a Swedish couple is struggling to convince authorities it’s also suitable for a baby girl.
Apparently the Swedish government has some authority over what one may name a child - at least with regards to their legal name. One has to ask why any population would grant a government agency this sort of authority? I can think of rationales associated with issues like identity theft and the like but they hardly seem to justify this sort of interference in the lives of citizens.

Addendum: Oh and I pulled the title of this post from Shakespeare's Othello:

O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!


highnumber said...

Hey! This was in my blog, too!

Grotius said...

Yeah, the notion of the state having some sort of control over what you can name a child is just absolutely foreign to me.

VM said...

Sure - that's the way it is in Scandinavia. I talked with the Danish Minister of Education about that (they do that in Dk, too), and he felt that there was a need to protect children from poor naming choices - to prevent kids from getting teased.


oh - there was no booze at that gathering.

Grotius said...


How are government officials any better at picking the name of a child than parents are?

highnumber said...

IIRC, this happens in a lot of nations, no?
Even in the US, doesn't a judge have to approve a name change? (Not the same as them approving the name at birth, but still...)

Panda said...

What gives the parents the right to choose the name for the child, for that matter? ;)
Why can't we just all walk around with a number until an appropriate, sexy name just...well...occurs to us!

Not that "Panda" is very sexy...

Grotius said...

highnumber, panda & vm,

Well, one solution to the problem of screwy names would be to provide for a two time only streamlined legal name change between say the age sixteen and twenty-five.

smacky said...

This is my favorite story on the subject of bizarre names:

A Boy Named "Albin"

FWIW, I think it is a cute name.

VM said...


I have no idea how gov't officials are better at that.

Apparently they are.

Smacky - what about a boy called sue?

ha ha.

Grotius said...


I'm a big fan of the man in black.

Panda said...

That Albin thing was great.