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Bronx Mowgli?


The title of this post is the name of the newborn child of lipsyncher Ashlee Simpson and her husband, musician Pete Wentz. Yes, it sounds familiar 'cause name one is a borough in NYC, and name two derives from Jungle Book or something by Rudyard Kipling.

I have to do this post once a year, but it always comes with a different motivation.

Once, several years ago, after a colleague and I left a crime scene - murder scene to be exact - in a particularly depressed neighborhood, he commented to the effect that he was baffled as to why some poor people give their kids terrible names. In this case, we'd met a young girl named Chardonnay or some other alcoholic beverage.

I knew what he was talking about. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau releases a list of off-the-wall names that people have given their kids each year. It's inevitable that the list always includes a few automobiles, some canned vegetables or fruit, and lots of booze.

But my rebuttal to my colleague was that he might not have thought twice about that name if the neighborhood we'd visited had been upscale.

My point is money colors the way we interpret people's actions.

Crazy poor people are just crazy. Crazy rich people are artistic.

Take the late recluse Howard Hughes, for example: If he hadn't been rich some of his actions would have been interpreted as pure lunacy or the effects of a sad, sad, mental illness. Because he was rich though, he was considered mentally ill, to be sure, but also a creative genius with a tortured soul.

So when people in the 'hood or the trailer park give their kids crazy names we say or think to ourselves that they must be nuts to do that to their kids. It's because we know that when those kids grow up, if they haven't managed to improve their lots in life, the most memorable thing about them will be the names they had no say in.

I got picked on enough just for being a geek. Luckily my name was just James.

So based on my family's net worth when I was a kid, there's no way my folks could have gotten away with naming me Butt Cheeks Burnett or something...unless, of course, they'd have been rich.

In which case all of their friends would have congratulated them for their creativity while wearing silk dinner jackets, standing around the fireplace in the Great Room talking about polo ponies, and speculating over snifters of Grand Marnier what sort of artist I'd grow up to be.


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The Sarcasticynic

Don't get me started on ridiculous baby names, James. But since you have, I'll remind you of this post.



in australia the people who give their children ridiculous names or strange spelling variations of half normal names are called bogans


I wonder how old you'd be when you went to court to change your name from Butt Cheeks to something a bit more acceptable? Four? Five? How many fights? Or do you have to wait until you're 18? I wonder if this sort of thing puts unnecessary strain between a child and parents? Wait, this isn't my post.

Karmyn R

When my sister was pregnant she joked that they were going to name the baby Apple. (a year later, Gwyneth Paltrow did!!!)

Is it crazy or just parents trying to be unique?

James B.

Karmyn, you said the magic words "parents trying to be unique."

So the parents get to be creative and the kid gets to have sand kicked in his face...unless he's rich or artistic.

I'm half teasing, but seriously if parents want to be creative they should give wacky names to their pets.

BTW, I love Apple. I think it would be an awesome name for a little girl - sorta like Apple of my eye?

James B.

Sarc, I'm gonna edit this post to add your link. I'd forgotten about the one you did on this topic. Funny.

Insomniac, you've made me curious. What's the origin of "Bogan?" Is it like Americans calling that sort of parent a moron?

Monty, all good questions. If I was that kid I'd go to a judge at 10-years-old, or right after I received my first name-related beating by classmates.


James, the origin is unknown, but your equivalent would be white trash. they are type you see wearing tracky daks and ugg boots


It is odd how financial status impacts the way the world views one's mental state. As for me: think I'll name my first child Jack Daniels.


their next one will be Catskill Pinnochio or something like that?


i"Crazy poor people are just crazy. Crazy rich people are artistic."

& there was I thinking, in my quiet British way, that crazy rich people are 'eccentric'. They are over here anyhow.

Mind you, having heard of some of the Ptolemies & Tristrams which occur in the British 'upper classes' - which ain't necessarily the same as those with the money - I wonder about rich people too.

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