Named for where they were started?

Not a CIDU, just a sign of the times to enjoy or tsk, as you prefer.

The post title is from a comedy routine I can’t quite place any more. Something like a woman named India who tells you she wasn’t actually born there, but her parents had been living there the year before her birth. And then she introduces her sister Lexus.


  1. “Something like a woman named India who tells you she wasn’t actually born there, but her parents had been living there the year before her birth. And then she introduces her sister Lexus.”

    My recollection of the joke is that it was a pair of kids asking their parents where their names came from. One was Savannah, named after the city in Georgia where she was conceived. And the other was the name of a car, though nothing as high-end as a Lexus.

  2. I really like Marina Franklin’s bit about her name and her sister’s name, starting from very near the beginning of this clip.

    (This is not however the one I was trying to recall, which Powers has nicely summarized.)

    I think in other clips of her doing this I have seen her say “where you park boats” instead of “where you dock boats” as here — which to my mind works slightly better, as it fits her persona of not really being familiar with that stuff.

    BTW, the sister Nailah she mentions was newsworthy as a murder victim!

  3. See also Fenchurch from the later Hitchhiker’s Guide books. “Were you born in line at Fenchurch Station?” “Conceived there. The lines are quite boring.”

  4. So…nominative determinism is a thing ( and I am pretty sure the concept is older than 1994, in spite of what Wiki says) but as a quasi-scientific thing, eh, not so much. The idea is that a person’s name determines their outcome or career, like Igor Judge who became a famous judge in England.

    But I am not sure how that plays (if at all and I think it must be the underlying concept here) in this comic. How is it in Lexus’ nature to hit Infiniti? Drivers of Lexus cars don’t go around hitting others, at least not more than Infiniti drivers. She does show Zamboni pushing snow, after all. And what of Hashtag and Keyword? I get the idea, I just don’t think it works.

    Finally, “I am ethnic” is a universal truth. We are all, each of us “ethnic.” We might be in a majority in some context or other, but everyone is some sort of “ethnic.”

  5. @Targuman, I often in this sort of topic mention John Wisdom, the philosopher. Of course, since it’s a surname alone, the odds are less surprising — sooner or later somebody in the extended family was bound to become prominent in some intellectual field.

  6. I think the character saying “I’M ETHNIC” is reminding her friend that her name is Ethnic, not that she is from some sort of ethnic community. Though I could be wrong… hard to tell with the speeches all being in capital letters.

  7. Margaux Hemingway is said to have been named after the bottle of Chateau Margaux wine her parents drank shortly before she was conceived.

    I remember back in the 1960’s and 1970’s when hippies, and even some people who hated hippies, were giving their children names like Diva and Dweezil and Moon Unit.

  8. @narmitaj, clever attempt to rescue the cartoonist (or characters), but I think it’s unavoidable that they are saying “ethnic” to mean something like non-WASP.

  9. I recall another version based in a parody of a car ad, this one the brand that talked about “rich Corinthian leather”

  10. There are times when the German penchant for over-regulation gets on my nerves (“Everything that is not explicitly required is categorically forbidden“), but this is one area in which I think the German custom is better: the registrar’s office that issues the birth certificate has to approve the name before issuing the document. Any name that is potentially harmful to the kid’s development will not make it through. Parents can (and do) file suits in case of rejection(*), and sometimes they win, but overall the process discourages most of the stupidities listed above.

    P.S. (*) One well-known case involved a Hispanic father who wanted to name his son “Jesus”. The registrar knew nothing of Spanish customs and said “no”, but the evidence was overwhelmingly in the parent’s favor and the court said “of course”. (All of this despite the fact that “Maria” is a fairly common [middle] name for boys in southern Germany.)

  11. Sue, that ad does look familiar. I’m sure that’s where I got “Savannah” from, though I’d also bet money the ad writer didn’t come up with the idea sui generis.

  12. There was a season 1 episode of A Different World where Katie Rich plays a rough-and-tumble character named Cougar, who was named after the car her parents were going to buy had she not been conceived.

    One of my favorite bits mocking the use of “ethnic” to mean non-white/non-American is the movie Fast Break, where Gabe Kaplan’s ambiguously Jewish basketball coach character David Greene is introduced by the hayseed college president hiring him as “ethnic”, telling Greene that his wife has never met anyone “ethnic” before. The president’s wife corrects him, saying she did once, but the “ethnic” man she met that time was a short gardener.

  13. Targuman: Just recently, I heard about a shoe store in England where the former CEO, named Foot, was replaced by a man named Legg. (I might have some of the details wrong.)

  14. I remember in the college catalog from my undergraduate years, the College of Physical Education offered a course in swimming, taught by Professor Wetmore.

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