Bonus Comment of the Day: “Naming Your Kid After Hitler…”

"Be proud of your name, little Adolf! It has a nice ring to it--sounds like someone important! And tell your little friend Joe Mengele that HIS name is fine, too. What's that? Well, sure we can go to Poland for your Spring Break! What a novel idea!"

I couldn’t resist this one, since I needed a hammer to close my mouth after I read it, because my jaw locked. The opinion is ridiculous, of course, but the comment is still enlightening: this is what happens when essentially good and virtuous instincts blind logic and common sense. The number of unethical, or just plain stupid things that occur when this happens is one of the tragedies of life. Or, to take a more charitable view, such a comment is what happens when someone has an essentially ethical position but picks the most inappropriate platform for it imaginable, and in trying to squeeze an important sentiment where it doesn’t belong, ends up discrediting an otherwise valid point. (Don’t do that.)

Here is Allan’s Special Bonus Comment of the Day, on Naming Your Kid After Hitler: 100% Legal, 100% Child Abuse. Hold on to your jaw:

“One indeed could ask little Adolf about his name and he would tell it was his name and that he liked it. It would take someone like yourself to explain to him the negative aspects of his name and that it be something he should be ashamed of. In other words, you would be teaching him to hate a name just because someone who died long before he was born did something evil. That he should even hate himself for having such a name, and to hate his parents for thinking of giving him such a name.

“These are things you will be teaching him, not his parents.

“Hate is not something we come by on our own, it is something we are taught. We have to be taught to hate something, and then we have to unlearn that hate when we recognize how silly it was in the first place.

“It’s the things we teach our children that make them either good or bad, not what we have named them. Little Adolf may just end up surprising all us with what he does with his life and maybe add a new facet to a infamous name.”

Unbelievable. Oops, there goes my jaw again…

6 thoughts on “Bonus Comment of the Day: “Naming Your Kid After Hitler…”

  1. Damnit, I just had that jaw fixed too. I’m going to have to submit a frivolous lawsuit with no chance in court against your blog, Jack. You’ll be hearing from my ambulance chaser soon.

  2. Responder Allan missed a pretty critical question when considering his totally silly response: What about the parents? They could not possibly have just picked “Adolph” out of a grocery store “Name Your Baby” booklet. What message are they sending by naming their kid after Adolph Hitler? It is perfectly within their rights to be American Nazis, and to name their child after their evil hero, but is it right to set their child up for a life of ridicule and instant suspicion? Perhaps little Adolph wears his name pride because they are teaching him to be a Nazi, too. But the way thing are going with our educational system, if they had only skipped a generation (i.e. have their child name a grandchild Adoph) 90% of the population wouldn’t have made the reference to Hitler at all…as they won’t know who Hitler was.

  3. Well… a name IS what you make of it. I’ll go along with him to that extent. The name “Adolf” actually means “noble wolf” (!) and was long considered a perfectly honorable name in Teutonic countries. The issue, of course, is the inclusion of “Hitler”, thus making Adolf Hitler himself the posthumous godfather. It’s been a common enough practice in America to name a child after great men in this fashion. Therefore, it must be assumed that the parents consider Adolph Hitler to be on par with, say, George Washington! That’s what’s disturbing!! Nor should it be lightly dismissed by authorities charged with the safety of children. Not so much the name itself, but what it seems to represent in the minds of certain parents.

  4. I have a good friend named Charlie. He’s named after his grandfather (who was born some time in the 20’s or 30’s in California, if I recall) who his parents had great respect for.

    He’s of Vietnamese descent. For those who don’t know, ‘charlie’ was a one-time, and probably still is, popular slur for Vietnamese people, because the Viet Cong, or VC, were referred to as Victor Charlie, based on the military phonetic alphabet.

    He was painfully aware of this slur, but he loved his name because he loved his grandfather.

    One day I was walking with him on campus, where a campus tradition compels freshman to introduce themselves to upperclassmen they don’t know. Well, this one freshman after introducing herself, asked the following, leading to the dialogue:

    “Your name is Charlie?”

    “Yeah… it is… like I said”

    “You don’t think that’s weird?”

    “No why should I? I’m named after my grandfather.”

    “Oh… but don’t you think it’s kinda…”

    “Kind of what?”

    “Well…you know”

    “NO, I DON’T KNOW… Explain it to me, please… I want to know what’s so odd about being named after my Grandfather, who was born in America, a generation before the Vietnam war. Please, tell me, what’s so odd about that?”

    “It’s just…I’m sorry…”

    After she scampered off embarrassed, Charlie let me know he thinks people are dumb who make that connection. He’s right, and I love how he compels people to explain their notion of oddity when confronted by it.

    Of course, I think the notoriety of “Adolph” changes the implications a bit.

  5. Thank God! I’ve been trying to post for two weeks.

    I’d say that there’s nothing at all wrong with the name “Adolph”, which is a once common and respectable name which means “noble wolf”. It’s the “Hitler” part that offends. While the family name Hitler is likewise that of many other respectable people, it remains that putting the two together is honoring the name of a murderous maniac. Numerous Americans have been named for George Washington, Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee and other great Americans. Having Der Fuhrer for a namesake can only have one connotation… and it’s not good!

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