Thursday, August 11, 2011

“Don’t Call Me Junior.”

I didn't set out to write an inflammatory post about tattoos on Tuesday. I MEANT to write an inflammatory post about the awful, awful name Ethan Hawke bequeathed to his newest daughter: Indiana. "Indiana Hawke" is ten ways to horrible. Almost as horrible as the tattoos Indiana's mother got during her illustrious career as a stevedore:

I think we can all agree: those are very, very, VERY unfortunate. Plus, is coordinating your dress and your purse with your tattoos a thing now? If yes, it's a very, very, VERY bad thing.

But enough about Popeye-esque tattoos. Let's talk about why Indiana is a craptastic name.

Firstly, it's a state. And it's not even one of those states whose names also double as given names (ie Georgia, Virginia). Nope, it was a colonial-era neologism for the term Indian Land. Also, it's a state mostly famous for being the state whose denizens like to be called Hoosiers.

Secondly, Indiana's sisters are Maya and Clementine and her brother is Levon. Seventy-five percent of Mr Hawke's children have lovely legitimate names -- why is this little girl cursed with this lamentable proper noun?

The third reason this name sucks is because it's supposedly a homage to River Phoenix, who portrayed Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade."  Do you think it's a bad idea to name your child after a person who died young by consuming illegal drugs, even if that person was a very talented actor? I do. Plus, I'm a smidge superstitious and think the whole dying-young-thing is bad omen. And the omen of her-namesake-was-a-drug-user? Also, not stellar.

(The following may or may not be my fourth reason to hate the "name" Indiana OR it might be an extension of point #3. I'll let you decide.)

Furthermore, I'm puzzled as to how Indiana honours River Phoenix? He played Indiana Jones for 15 minutes. Okay. Maybe it was 19 minutes. Whatever. It was a pittance. River Phoenix was NEVER Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. Plus Indiana Jones' real name was Henry Jones Junior. The nickname Indiana was even disparaged in the third movie, when Sean Connery's character points out, "We named the dog Indiana."

As an aside: the name Indiana Jones was inspired by George Lucas' dog. That dog? Was also the inspiration for the character Chewbacca.

Anyone else hoping the Hawkes have a fifth child and use the name Wookiee? 


  1. Out of the four names, I'd have to say that Levon is my least favourite. Is it Lev-in or Lev-on? I don't know, it doesn't roll off the tongue.

    I do agree that using the name of Indiana to honour River Phoenix is highly peculiar. Using the name River would be better (or Jude which was his middle name)...or you know, not naming it after him at all which would be my choice.

  2. @Marilyn -- It's Lee-VON in the Elton John song and I just assumed that was the accepted pronunciation. But maybe not...

  3. Did they know him, personally? Were they child actors together? I don't have a clue.

    In my head I said Levon like I'd say Michelle Obama's middle name.

  4. And he shall be Levon! He shall be a GOOD man.

    Now that song is in my head, dammit. He was born a pauper to a pawn on Christmas Day when the New York Times said God is dead and the war's begun...

    Anyway. A relevant comment: I think it's a little strange to honor River Phoenix via Indiana Jones. I didn't even know he played Indiana Jones. I just thought it was Harrison Ford (who is sexy as hell, rawr).

    Hell, PHOENIX would be preferable. I'm sure I've told you that SOMEONE I know named their firstborn son Eldrick after Tiger Woods and recently, um, changed it because, um, it's Tiger Woods. Awkward!

  5. I KNOW I left a comment last night. Operator error or Google malfunction? Hmmm...

    Okay last night's failed comment recap: Levon: Reminds me of Levon Helm, drummer for The Band, former member of a band called The Hawks. Maybe Ethan named his son after Mr. Helm?

    BTW, The Band is the BEST band EVER and Mr. Helm has a beautiful voice.

    That is all.

  6. Now I BLAME you for my deciding to go to iTunes and look up Levon Helm. Just purchased THREE albums. It's a good thing my husband likes him, too.

  7. @Eryn -- they made one movie together in the 80s called "Explorers." I hadn't heard of it until I googled it a second ago.

    I had to look up Michelle Obama's middle name: LeVaughn. I would say this as Lah-VON. Maybe I shouldn't discuss pronunciations with Americans since I am still stymied as to how you make what rhyme with butt.

    @Nicole -- Harrison Ford is HAWT! Even now at the age of 89. If I were going to name my kid after a Harrison Ford character it would be Han Solo. Obviously!

    One of River Phoenix's sisters named her son Indiana in tribute to her brother. So the precedent's been set.

    You have mentioned Baby Eldrick before. And it makes me laugh even now. On the plus side, Eldrick is obscure enough that most people wouldn't get the reference. On the down side, no one (not even Tiger Woods) likes the name Eldrick.

    @Mary-LUE -- I bet that's his namesake! Good call, you. I like The Band, too. Robbie Robertson is a v. cool dude. Enjoy your new music selections.

  8. As far as I'm concerned, the girls have lovely names and the boys both need a good lawyer. And Eldrick? Good lord, it sounds like a cat coughing up a hairball. I told you we have a kid named Indiana Jones in our school, right? And his brother's name? It's Thomas. This kind of reminds me how my husband finds it hilarious (even when he's sober) that Spongebob is named Spongebob but his friend the starfish is named...Patrick.

    I love what you do with nomenclature.

  9. I didn't remember River P. was in the Indiana Jones movie either and I think the connection is very far reaching to make that the babies namesake. Eldrick does sound like a hairball!

    My sister is having a baby and I am going to offer all kinds of helpful advice and maybe link her here for all her baby naming needs.

  10. I like girl names that are...girly. So Indiana fails on that count right away. If they had named their boy for love of Harrison Ford (although, why not just use the name Harrison), then I may have given them a pass. But for a girl? For River Phoenix? Nope. Not cool Ethan Hawke.

  11. dude, I need to have a baby and name it chocolate wookiee credenza