This story apparently originated on the Canadian newspaper the National Post (although it's no longer available on their website), and was picked up by Popbitch for their October 9th issue. Ian Covell sent it to the Fictionmags group from there, and David Pringle then posted it to the J.G. Ballard mailing list, where I saw it.
Lacking the original story, it's hard to verify the accuracy of the reporting, so take this for what it's worth:
American children get labelled like brands
More and more parents in America are naming their children after
luxury brands. In 2001, there were 273 boys and 298 girls called
Armani; 269 Chanels (all girls); 24 girls called Porsche and six male
Also popular were Nike, Chivas Regal, Champagne, Nivea, Evian,
Fanta, Guinness, Camry, Cobra Pepsi, and Lexus. (One father called
his son 'Lexxus', insisting on the extra x to make the name 'more
David Pringle's comment on this:
J. G. Ballard predicted something like that in his novel Hello America
(1981), where minor characters have names like Heinz, GM, Xerox, and Pepsodent (although the major characters have names like Wayne and Manson).
"... All of them had been illiterate for generations, and the only words they could read were the brand names on neon signs -- their friends and relatives were called Big Mac, U-Drive, Texaco and 7-Up." (p64, Carroll & Graf edition.)
A little Googling turned up this story from an Australian news source (News.com.au):
Branded anything but Unique By John Harlow
September 29, 2003
AT age 3, Timberland is too young to be embarrassed about being named after a bestselling brand of footwear, but his mother cringes.
"His daddy insisted on it because Timberlands were the pride of his wardrobe. The alternative was Reebok," said the 32-year-old nurse, who is now divorced.
"I wanted Kevin."
The boy is not alone: five other Americans were named Timberland in 2000, according to social security records.
A trend for naming children after favourite possessions is accelerating in brand-driven America.
The records show that in 2000, 49 children were named Canon, followed by 11 Bentleys, five Jaguars and a Xerox.
There is also a Gouda and a Bologna, who are named after the cheese and the sausage rather than the places.
Foreign brands are regarded as increasingly chic: Chanel is popular among doting mothers, and several boys have been named after a Japanese family car called Camry.
Companies are ambivalent about the honour.
"It all depends on how the kids turn out, and who can predict that?" said Richard Laermer, who once represented a New York couple offering to name their child after a top brand for $US500,000 ($742,000).
The number of American parents spurning traditional first names is rising sharply. According to the most recent census, at least 10,000 different names are now in use, two-thirds of which were largely unknown before World War II.
Edward Callary, a past president of the American Names Society, said a determination to be different was the hallmark of the current generation of young parents: "The more we feel defined by numbers, in our postal codes and bank statements, the more we need to shout out a unique name into the world.
The 2000 social security records reveal that 24 children were named Unique.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
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Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
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Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.