Monday, October 03, 2005


Rumer Willis. Apple Paltrow. Phinneas Roberts.

Okay, I don't know what surnames the offspring of Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts really have, but we can pretty much stop with the first names.

But today the mother of all baby names was announced: Kal-El Coppola Cage. He is the offspring of Nicolas Cage and wife of the moment Alice Kim. And, God bless Nic, he loves his Superman, and I guess he's trying to one-up Jerry Seinfeld, who worked the Man of Steel into every episode of his classic sitcom.

But I have to ask: Isn't that some sort of infringement? Will AOL Time Warner (or whatever it is this week) sue? Will little Kal-El's younger brother, should he be born, be then named Clark Kent Cage? Or would the logical second choice be Jor-El (Superman's Kryptonian father, for those who may not know)?

I am all in favor of unique names. I suffer having two other Mike Flynns in Seattle who are in the same business as me. Another Michael Flynn is a bestselling science fiction writer, and there's also an actor named Michael Flynn. My spouse dropped her maiden name -- Smith -- faster than someone else's used Kleenex, even though Flynn isn't much less common these days.

So I can see where one might be tempted to choose a unique first name. Still, I might go to number 100 on the list before I got to number 2,000,100. And when you're growing up priveliged -- as baby Kal-El is bound to do -- there will be no likelihood of getting your ass kicked in by schoolyard bullies. Especially since any of his classmates will be named Apple, or Rumer, or Phinneas.

Being of the television generation, I remember the discussion on My Three Sons when Robbie and his wife were going to have their triplets. I remember there was discussion of the name "Erasmus." Thing is, I couldn't begin to remember what the actual characters were named. (More pathetically, I remember that the triplets who played the screen triplets were Guy, Garth, and Gunnar Swenson... all three of which struck me as odd when I was young, although "Garth" appealed to me because it was the real name of the character Lightning Lad from my favorite strip, The Legion of Super-Heroes.)

There's no secret that Nicolas Cage had wanted to play Superman in the upcoming movie. I believe the story is that his schedule precluded it. I guess in a way it's good that he hadn't hoped to play Satan, or Rumpelstiltskin, or Hitler.

It should be noted that the name "Pamela" was invented for a work of fiction, and just became popular after that. So, if we're going to open the world up for unique names from popular fiction, let's consider some potential beauts that could soon belong to your favorite actor or singer:

Doonesbury Depp
Dilbert Duff
Peter Parker Pitt
Tarzan Aguilera
Yossarian Ma
Fox Mulder Valderrama
Chandler Aniston
Phoebe Buffay O'Neal
Nemo Cruise
Homer Simpson Lachey... oh, wait, never mind.

You get the idea... in fact, I look forward to your additions.

Your humble servant,

plain ol' Mike Flynn


Superfrankenstein said...

I would have just named the kid Superman. Why be so indirect?

Mike said...

I'm told that comics writer Jon Bogdanove ALSO named a son Kal-El. (This news forwarded to me by Chris Companik.)

It could be worse. I read a while ago about the trend to create new names that sounded fancy. Some poor soul in the world -- after all the LaToyas and Latrelles -- was saddled with the unfortunate "LaTrine."