Icelandic Girl With Freaky English Name Can't Get Passport
Man oh man, and American teabaggers whine about oppressive government overreach? How about thischilling tale from Iceland? Ten-year-old Harriet Cardew, an Icelandic citizen by birth whose father, Tristan Cardew, moved to Iceland 14 years ago, has been denied a passport because the Icelandic Naming Committee doesn't recognize her name as "Icelandic." (And just to make for more amusement, Harriet's mom is named Kristín. Don't pronounce it as "Kristen," though, because there's probably some Icelandic law against people with rhyming names getting married.) This is the sort of interference in private individual choices that Americans would never stand for -- just ask people who name their daughters "Neveah" or "Cherry."
The Cardews have four kids; two born in France -- Lilja and Belinda, whose names apparently pass muster with the Naming Committee -- and two born in Iceland -- Harriet and Duncan -- whose names are so unspeakably foreign that their names are officially registered only as stúlka (‘girl’) and drengur (‘boy’) Cardew, which is also how their names appeared on their passports up until now. But now the government won't let the kids renew their passports for an upcoming trip to France, because the agency has changed its policy. That's some catch! The Cardews believe that it's a violation of Harriet's human rights:
“They have deprived our daughter of freedom of movement,” the girl’s mother, Kristín Cardew, told visir.is. “It is in violation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she added.
In the meantime, they've contacted the British Embassy to get Harriet an emergency passport so they can still travel this summer.
BoingBoing's Rob Beschizza closes his piece on the name saga with this paragraph, which we are frankly in love with:
Particularly unusual names sometimes draw legal attention even in English-speaking countries. In 2008, a judge in New Zealand ordered that 9-year-old Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii's name be changed and stripped her parents of custody. Other names unacceptable to family court judge Rob Murfitt included Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.
And of course, Yr Wonkette reported on the strange case of the Tennessee judge who wouldn't let a couple name their kid "Messiah," because it was a title, and Jesus already owns it. Happily, that decision was reversed and the judge was fired for religious bias.
Yr Wonkette says, let a thousand names bloom, even if some of them are going to be incredibly stupid. Freedom is a nice thing, even if it means that in 2058 the nursing homes will be full of Ashlees, Brittanys, Jaysons, Calebs, and Caitlins.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He is a firm believer in giving your child an even worse middle name than their first name, to head off any adolescent name-switching shenanigans. Sex Fruit.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.