16 thoughts on “Oh, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

  1. The libertarian in me loves stories like this. I love a country where people are free to be stupid.

    France, for the longest time, had laws about what you could name your children. As far as I know they still do but I don’t feel like googling it right now.

  2. What bothers me about the story is poor little AH not getting his name on his cake. I mean, hate the parents, and laugh at them and all. But, you know, your hand won’t fall off from icing that name on the cake for the kid. I would sure hate to have to do it, but I’d do it — on the theory that said child will probably run out and change his name the day he turns 18, and in the meantime he surely needs all the goodies he can get. Now, if he showed up with his parents to pick the cake up and told me how he’d like to kill me, I might end up throwing the cake at him. But at least it would have his name on it.

  3. Ha, and considering that they can’t seem to even spell his sibling’s name, I’d be very nervous about letting his parents alone to put his name on the cake. I mean, as bad as it is to be Adolph Hitler Campbell, imagine having all your little white power friends over only to discover that the cake says “Adoff Hitler Campbell” or something.

  4. Yeah, I don’t get that either. It’s not like they asked them to write “fuck you” or something.

    This all goes back to my theory that we like turning Hitler into a Bogeyman, a demigod (if you’re one of those people) or something other than human. We don’t like to admit that humans are capable of such wicked deeds, so it’s easier to pretend he’s something else.

    Regardless, why not write his name on the cake?

  5. From what I can tell by a brief foray into the WS land (always a fun afternoon), the name “Hinler” is a sort of standard “code word” used to mean Himmler, Hitler or both. It’s also a popular girls’ name. Apparently we don’t mind naming them after Nazis, but we wouldn’t think of calling a girl “him” ler.

    Such thoughtful parents.

  6. Yeah, I know. It’s, after all, just a name. I’d have less of a problem if the cake maker refused all-together to sell them a cake rather than just refusing to write the name.

    I would think that the better response would be to be “Oh, ha ha ha ha. Really? Ha ha ha ha. Poor kid.” and then write it on the cake. Let them know you think it’s hilarious and stupid, but don’t ruin the poor kid’s birthday because his parents are jackasses.

  7. Yeah, poor kid, being named Adolph. I could only imagine. Kind of makes ‘Sue’ look downright kind.

    And after you write the name, instead of balloons around the icing, could you put some schwatikas beside it. That would be great.

  8. Coble’s right. (I’m also too lazy to google this.) When I was on foreign study in Germany many years ago, I was put in a group of exchange students to discuss German culture once a week, and we were invited to compare our country’s practice with whatever German practice was the topic of the day. And so one day we got to names, and a French exchange student confirmed what the instructor was telling us, that in France there is an official list of French names, and at least one of your kid’s names has to come from the list, and they will pick one for you off the list if you don’t comply. Apparently back in the day, peasants were giving their children horrendously long names because that was the only thing they could give them, and this offended some bureaucrats somewhere, hence the list. (N.B., in Germany, if you are registered Catholic, one of your names had better be a saint’s name. I’m not sure what the rules are if you are NOT Catholic, but I’m pretty sure the Germans are a little looser than the French because my host family named their kids with Italian names.)

  9. OL, the Catholic insistence on naming children after a saint (and it’s daughter preoccupation, the French insistence on giving children officially French names) has nothing to do with avoiding long names and everything to do with promoting group identity.

    There did used to be a law about this in France, dating from the late 18th century, when successive Revolutionary gov’ts promoted national unity by codifying names, diminishing the official standing of regional languages (e.g. langue d’oc, provençal, etc.), creation of a national legal system without exceptions for older local variations in law, and stuff like that. I believe the law was repealed around 15 years or so ago, but registrars can still refuse to register names they think are “wrong.”

    The Catholic practice of naming children only after saints dates from the 12th century. (I want to say that it was decreed by the 4th Lateran Council, but like everyone else, I’m too lazy to google today.) This (combined with the practice of naming children only after parents, grandparents, and god-parents) reduced the pool of names so drastically that it led to the wide use of surnames, which had previously been reserved to the aristocracy.

  10. nm, this brings up something that I was got in the middle of trying to explain to my daughter and found out that I was confusing even myself. It was my understanding that the Council of Nicea rejected Arianism (not, just to make it clear and because of the thread that this is in, Aryanism) and elevated both the divine origin of Jesus and the triune nature of God to points of Catholic dogma. But didn’t the 4th Lateran Council need to do a do-over on the Trinity?

    (This was part of trying to answer her question about “hey, if Jesus was born and died a Jew, why is there this ugly history between Christians and Jews? Why didn’t people just remember him as a particularly holy reformer rabbi?” You try explaining the Arian controversy to a ten-year-old…)

  11. Oh, Bridgett, 4th Lateran was so heavily administrative and concerned with praxis that I forgot they said anything doctrinal at all! I think the Trinitarian stuff was the only theological decision ratified there.

    There were a couple of reasons for taking up the Trinity then/there. There had been recent challenges to Trinitarian orthodoxy: the Cathars were dualists, and Innocent III was still concerned about them despite the military successes of the Albigensian Crusade; and Joachim of Fiore had presented the first theologically sophisticated Trinitarian alternative* in over half a millennium. And Joachim had pissed off Peter Lombard, the great orthodox theologian of the day, so the council specifically condemned Joachim’s theology and reaffirmed the unity of the Trinity as formulated by Peter.

    The second major reason was to recognize Peter’s authority (not so much in propria persona but as the representative of the theology of the universities) to reformulate accepted theological truths in current intellectual language. Innocent had been a canon lawyer before becoming pope, and this council sort of established the authority of university-trained clergy over and against charismatic/popular religious expression.

    *Sophisticated, but wacky: the persons of the Trinity are separate and each presided/presides/will preside over a different era in human history.

  12. Wait, I was thinking about this on the way in to work and remembered another doctrinal thing 4th Lateran did — they established and defined the seven sacraments.

  13. Well, if you work on the high or late middle ages the 4th Lateran Council was pretty important. Not that I have every detail in my head, but it’s like studying 20th century US or Europe and knowing about the 2nd Vatican Council. Even if you aren’t focusing on history of the Catholic Church, you have to know the basics of what was decided there and why and how it was or wasn’t implemented if you want to understand a lot of social and political goings-on.

  14. Thanks. I knew there was a restatement on the Trinity, but I wanted to be clear to Kid about the context because it’s important to let your kids know that arguments over the existence and nature of God surface and resurface and pondering the big questions might be the point of our lives.

    (And in my defense, I’ve never yet had to teach a western civ class. Once you said Cathars, everything clicked back into place, though.)

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