October 27, 2011

The woman who presented childbirth as performance art in a gallery "didn’t understand it was going to be in the news."

According to her husband. "She didn’t understand it was going to freak people out.’

So what are you saying? She's an idiot? No, he saying you're an idiot:
Mr Bell said he chose the name Ajax as an ‘intelligence test’ to see if people how people would react:  - if they said the detergent instead of the Greek God then he knew they an idiot.
Wouldn't it be ironic if using your child into an intelligence test for other people made you an idiot?

Let's think of some other "intelligence test" baby names. We'll call the baby Trojan so that if anyone says "so I guess the condom broke," we'll be able to say, "Gotcha! You're not familiar with Homer's Iliad!"

And by the way, Mr. Intelligence Test Man. Ajax was not a Greek god. See? Gotcha! You're not familiar with Homer's Iliad!

76 comments:

Lucius said...

Ajax was a hero, not a god; not even a demigod.

Idiot.

glenn said...

Nice to see somebody taking up the slack for The Onion declining.

Jay said...

Mr Bell said he chose the name Ajax as an ‘intelligence test’ to see if people how people would react: - if they said the detergent instead of the Greek God then he knew they an idiot.


We are the 99%!!111!!

Lucius said...

I didn't even bother reading to Ann's last paragraph, I was so angrily quick to the draw. (the "idiot" is for the father, naturelement)

What a bunch of hipster doofuses. Surely somebody had already made 'performance art' out of childbirth?

It's really hard to believe the so-meta-it's-not-meta thing hasn't collapsed. Are these people not bored with themselves? Bored of never reading a book? Bored of never visiting the Frick?

Seven Machos said...

That's just so deliciously mean, Althouse.

Henry said...

Name your kid "Comet" and you have a fallback.

You say detergent? I say Hailey's.

You say Hailey's? I say reindeer.

Why not name the kid "tomato" and then claim it's "tomahto".

CachorroQuente said...

Should have named the kid Liberty. They could then sell pictures of the kid's crack.

What a nest of knobs.

Bob said...

Le-A.
It's LeDasha CAUSE THE DASH AINT SILENT!

t-man said...

Althouse went right for Bell's Achilles heel - pompous ignorance.

John Lynch said...

Ajax killed himself because he didn't get what he wanted.

Scott M said...

The better intelligence test for this idiot husband would be to ask him who Ajax' father is. If he says Telamon or Oileus, we know for a fact that THIS guy is an idiot.

edutcher said...

Of course, she had no idea it would go national.

Riiiiight.

Ann Althouse said...

Let's think of some other "intelligence test" baby names. We'll call the baby Trojan so that if anyone says "so I guess the condom broke," we'll be able to say, "Gotcha! You're not familiar with Homer's Iliad!"

Or they could have called him Ramses.

Lucius said...

Ajax was a hero, not a god; not even a demigod.

And there were two of them.

Bob Ellison said...

I think I'm named that way because my parents figured I might one day be caught in a flooded river. (Actually, considering what they called me originally, maybe they thought I'd move to England and become a cop.)

I had a colleague with a common nickname and an unusual spelling. He put a small, flat rug in front of his office door. It said, "Hi. I'm Mat."

Roger J. said...

OK ScottM: thats a fifteen yard penalty : having a classical education and using it.

Roger J. said...

edutcher--you beat me to it--I do believe there were two ajax's in the iliad--Myrmidons all IIRC

Roger J. said...

Bob Ellison: your story reminds me of a friend of mine. He goes to a restaurant and if there is a waiting list, he leaves his name as Mr Chuck Roast. HIlarity ensues.

T J Sawyer said...

I swear to god, my first thought was of Google Maps! (You gotta be a geek to get it!)

Scott M said...

OK ScottM: thats a fifteen yard penalty

That's just the thing. If you ask the guy "Who is Ajax' father", he will undoubtedly start lecturing you on Homer, the two Ajax' in the story, and why our modern education system is failing children (doubtlessly making the case for more taxpayer funding for the humanities).

The correct answer is, "You. YOU'RE the father of Ajax, or hasn't it sunk into your thick elitist skull that the publicity stunt you just pulled is, in fact, your child?"

Shouting Thomas said...

This is the same story as the one about the boy who wants to be a girl so that his/her parents can get their names in the paper, and become heroes of the left.

MadisonMan said...

Some people just shouldn't talk.

When you're in a hole, stop digging.

You can't fix dumb.

Etc., etc.

prairie wind said...

I swear to god, my first thought was of Google Maps! (You gotta be a geek to get it!)

Ha!

The smartest people know not to brag about their intelligence.

Michael K said...

I was reading a bit of Ambrose' biography of Eisenhower. Thinking of my childhood and 50 years earlier, Eisenhower's childhood, I have come to the conclusion we are doomed.

Orion said...

Seems typical of public education to me - set up a poorly defined 'intelligence' test with an answer that isn't even singular.

Anyone hearing the name would have no context, no way to determine whether the child were named for the cleanser (Oh, the irony!), the hero of the Iliad, or the 'other' Ajax from the Iliad, or some OTHER Ajax (perhaps the character from Warriors?) - and of course no matter what answer you give, the executive producer..er...father...would claim that your answer was evidence of ignorance - or intelligence - as he sees fit.

Sure seems like all the high-stakes tests I had to help administer as a teacher.

Orion

edutcher said...

Roger J. said...

edutcher--you beat me to it--I do believe there were two ajax's in the iliad--Myrmidons all IIRC

Ajax the greater (or Telemonian), the one everybody remembers, led the men from Telemon. Ajax the lesser (or Locrian) was son of the king of Locris.

Roger J. said...

ScottM: well said :) you may attributing too much to the sperm donor d'jour, but you point stands.

Roger J. said...

Edutcher: I stand in awe--thanks for the clarification.

Petunia said...

Their next act of performance art should be to have themselves neutered.

And give poor Ajax to a family who won't exploit him via weekly podcasts until he's 18.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

It's fundamentally wrong to "use" a child for anything, whether you're an idiot hipster or an aging unmarried female longing for fulfillment. When you take on the responsibility of procreation, everything should be about what's good for the child, not what's good for you, otherwise keep it in your pants. Thank you, Dr. Laura

wv: tracer-- some bullets are brighter than others.

Lucius said...

Well, Ajax Minor, that's like a hot-shot first-round NFL draft-pick who gets busted for raping a Senator's daughter and dies in a coke-fueled shootout with the LAPD.

You can be a hero and screw with the gods, yes, but what kind of respectable Greek runs afoul of *Athena*, for Minerva's sake!

Hmm, so maybe this is the Ajax the tyke is christened after, after all?

Coketown said...

I'm familiar with Homer's Iliad but I still thought "detergent." Just like I know who Homer was but still think "Simpsons." Maybe it's not a measure of how intelligent you are, but how stuffy and pedantic you are. "To the stuffy and pedantic all things are stuffy and pedantic."

Scott M said...

Maybe it's not a measure of how intelligent you are, but how stuffy and pedantic you are.

If you read Dan Simmons' Ilium and Olympos you wouldn't be stuffy about Homer's epic.

Saint Croix said...

This reminds me a bit of the woman who wanted to blog her abortion. Comparatively speaking, Ajax is way luckier.

Mr. D said...

I can only assume that the kid will eventually change his name to Janitor in a Drum.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonicfrog said...

And besides, both answers are wrong. Ajax was the War Rocket in Flash Gordon! I wonder, was the baby born with little hawk wings?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnTHypbLlkE

Scott M said...

What does it say about me, Sonic, that I don't even need to click on the link?

DIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!!!

Dan in Philly said...

I'll name my baby "Rorschach" and judge their personalities by how they interpret the name...

MadisonMan said...

Mr. D., more likely he will grow up to be a Janitor.

Quaestor said...

Ann wrote:
And by the way, Mr. Intelligence Test Man. Ajax was not a Greek god. See? Gotcha! You're not familiar with Homer's Iliad!

Oh, Ann, you're so delightfully wicked!

Mr Bell said he chose the name Ajax as an ‘intelligence test’ to see if people how people would react: - if they said the detergent instead of the Greek God then he knew they an idiot.

Who's the bigger idiot, Jason Robert Bell for inventing this "intelligence test" rationale for choosing the name Ajax, or the Daily Mail editor who's responsible for that sentence?

Personally, I'm very fond of names from classical antiquity for children. As it is we have far to many Zacks, Hunters, Jasons and Miccas and far too few Agrippas, Hectors and Horatios. Ajax, however has never been popular, mainly because in the canon Telamonian Ajax comes off as a bit of a truculent clod lacking in the refinement of a true classical hero. BTW, the Illiad is only a minor source for Ajax and his career. More is written of him in the Odyssey, the Works and Days and the eponymous Sophocles play.

sonicfrog said...

Scott..... "No! Not The Boreworms!!!!!!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJV7CfVjgro&feature=related

Quaestor said...

Henry wrote:
Why not name the kid "tomato" and then claim it's "tomahto".

During the heady days of the French Revolution there was a brief vogue for "practical" names after all the little Lucretiae, Bruti and Cassii got to be overly abundant. Among those practical names was Tomate for girls and Haricot for boys (tomato and bean respectively),

Scott M said...

@sonic

"It ARMORED me, girl!"

Ever notice that Prince Baron's sidekick, Fico, is the same actor, Richard O'Brian, that played Riff Raff in the RHPS?

MikeR said...

"There are three people who have to like the baby's name: the father, the mother, and the child."

MikeR said...

At JPL in my misspent youth: To get a call through to one of the scientists/employees, you used to have to ask the guards, who would announce it on the loudspeaker. One day, the guard announces, "Call for Ima Dumgard." People started rolling out into the halls laughing.

sonicfrog said...

Scot... This is going to get me kicked off a whole bunch of gay dinner party lists... But.. I'm really not a fan of the RHPS or musicals in general, so I wouldn't know!

I've only seen it it once, and I was all... Meh.

verword: pasta

Quaestor said...

This Riff Raff is superior to this Riff Raff

As for homage references to this abortion -- please, I just ate.

Methadras said...

I loved the story of Ajax. It is such an awesome name. The next dog I get will have this name.

Doc Holliday's Bastard said...

"Hi my name is [Brooklyn Hipster] and I am going to do something completely outrageous! And when all you uneducated oafs take notice of my creativity, but in the wrong way, of course, I will be indignant, so much so that I or a companion of mine reveal our own intellectual deficiencies!"

Sigivald said...

I wonder if he's familiar with hubris and nemesis?

Quaestor said...

Regarding Rocky Horror
I've only seen it it once, and I was all... Meh.

I too have only seen RHPS once. It was the perennial Friday Midnight Madness feature for about a year at my local mall octo-plex. Some of my friends were regular patrons, and they constantly laced their conversation and clownings with oblique references and outtake lines which produced reliable snickers in them and bemusement in me. Finally I agreed to attend a screening, but I un-volunteered myself as a Dr. Frank N. Furter double, not wanting to wear the black hose and garters.

To this day I have no idea what RHPS is about, nor can I recognize the music. The theater was a total chaos of Riff Raff and Frank. N Furter mimics jumping up on que and shouting at the screen. The house lights were at 50% during the whole movie (probably for safety reasons) so non-devotees like me could only dimly see the projection. And the soundtrack? Forget it. The whole audio experience was overwhelmed by the audience chatter (actually the term audience has no relevance to the RHPS experience).

I don't know how to classify the RHPS bailiwyck. A party? Well, only if your idea of a party is to crawl inside a bass drum beaten by a demented ape. Theater? Hmmm... unscripted but textually rigid, emotive but without context... Maybe RHPS the real origin of performance art.

wv: thyth: origin stories for lispers.

Scott M said...

I've only seen it it once, and I was all... Meh.

Heretic.

RHPS can be a LOT of fun, but wears quickly. The people that take it too seriously are the same types that throw ping pong balls at each other yelling "Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!" or otherwise pretend to be vampires.

karrde said...

Huh.

I don't think he meant 'intelligence test' in terms of Asynchronous Javascript And XML, short-handed to AJAX.

I mean, that would be intelligent for all of five years, and then a new acronym will try to take over the Web-Programming world.

Bob Ellison said...

You are all wrong. Thalipodrus spoke of Ajax when he addressed the crux of Hippomon: "The man is a man. Can he be anything else? No. To say otherwise would be like suggesting a man could be a woman, when he cannot make a child."

Victor Davis Hanson wrote at length on the subject in an aside on his review of the latest iPhone.

jamboree said...

I'd be an idiot if I clicked on this link, so I won't. That goes double for Glenn Beck. I cannot even click on the comments section there.

t-man said...

Hey, a man can be a woman. Just ask Tiresias (in keeping with Greek theme here).

cassandra lite said...

I know that whenever someone says "Mr. Clean" and isn't referring to Rick Santorum, I think, "Idiot".

Geoff Matthews said...

Yeah, I thought of the cleaning product first.
But I also knew that Ajax was a Greek hero, not a Greek god.
So, let's just say I'm a moderate idiot.

cassandra lite said...

Has anyone ever asked Gwyneth Paltrow whether her kid is named after a fruit or a Mac?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

@Bob said...

Le-A.
It's LeDasha CAUSE THE DASH AINT SILENT!


I prefer D' (pronounced D'Apostrophe). D' Bell, say it outloud! It's got a ring to it!

D'oh!

ampersand said...

I'll judge this couple's intelligence on how big of a stash they walked away with.
Back when everyone was judging Paris Hilton a dope,she was hauling in 10 million a year sans trust fund.

Jose_K said...

There were two Ajax. One cousin of Aquiles and a heroe but descendant from a god. He was son of Telamon , son of Eaco son of Zeus and Egina.Like Aquiles he had only one weak point. The other a plain mortal. The second one was on the horse( Not told in the Illiad)

Scott M said...

The second one was on the horse

On it or in it?

Crimso said...

Well, if we're going to go Greek...

Should name him Thucydides. If they say "historian" then you know they're an idiot. [When 1st reading of that era, it was confounding at times to figure out which Thucydides was being discussed]

T.W.: sureking (no shit)

Jose_K said...

far too few Agrippas, Hectors and Horatio. Sir, come to venezuela. hector is acommon name here. We have Aspasia, Libia( the original one), Julius, Hector, Horatius( you do have Nelson) Aristides, Temistocles. Thats is why my city has the fame of putting funny names. Now, people put names like Maikel Yacson, Maikel Yordan(in spanish sound just like in english), Bill Mazerosky( as first amd middle name)because is the costum to put funny names. Nixon, Kenneny( yes , as first names), Superman,

Jose_K said...

Scott, sorry. English is not my first language

Scott M said...

Scott, sorry. English is not my first language

No problem. The visual of Ajax sitting on top of the horse like a statue and all the Trojans ignoring the fact is kinda funny.

Carnifex said...

Ths second smartest person I ever met is a fiend of my Dad. He's got 2 degrees, 1 being a phd. in metallurgy. He is semi-retired (he goes to the office once a week to pass out paychecks). He studies the civil war as a hobby.

He sounds like a understudy for Jethro Bodine.

Intellectual elitism...you gotta love it.

Jeremy   said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy   said...

"to see if people how people would react"
" using your child into an intelligence test"

?? Your English is pretty amazing for a university prof.

Scott M said...

Congrats, Jeremy. That was by a wide margin the most mean-spirited and wholly unnecessary couple of comments I've seen or heard today.

Kudos.

NMP said...

What does it say about me if this is the first thing I thought of?

Dr Weevil said...

Three points:

1. Maybe the father is trying to gently break the news to his wife that the new baby has an illegitimate half-brother named Teucer.

2. Of course, if he pronounces his son's name to rhyme with "Pay backs", like the detergent, he's demonstrating his own ignorance of the Iliad. That's an English mispronunciation of the Latin misspelling of the original name. In Latin, Ajax sounds pretty much like "Eye Ox", and the original greek Aias would have sounded just the same except for lacking the K part of the X sound. Then there's the pitch accent: if scholars have reconstructed the ancient Greek system properly, the first syllable should be maybe a fifth higher than the second.

3. edutcher (11:19am) is not quite right. The Greater Aias' (or Ajax's) father was Telamon (with an A), and his country was Salamis, the island near Athens where the Athenians much later defeated the Persian fleet. The Lesser Aias' (or Ajax's) country was indeed Locris, and his father was Oileus, hence he sometimes called Oilean Aias (or Ajax).

You want pedantry, call a professional pedant.

Unknown said...

If I recall correctly, Ajax is not only not the name of a Greek god but of a Homeric hero, but also a name with very bad karma. In Sophocles Ajax the hero kills himself in shame and anger after Achilles armor is awarded to Odysseus rather than to him.

Joan said...

Victor Davis Hanson wrote at length on the subject in an aside on his review of the latest iPhone.

This is all kinds of awesome: as a snarky comment, it rules, but if it were actually true, it would manage to be even better.

Ben G. said...

My first dog (owned as an adult) was named Ajax, beat you there Meth. But it was named after the HMS Ajax, a Royal Navy cruiser in WW2. I had planned to name all my dogs after ships of that class. The next was to be Agamemnon. My daughter had other ideas for our second pooch, and so we have Kipper. Ajax was a AKC Golden, full name Ajax Wellesley Evelyn Wood, after the cruiser, Wellington, and my favorite Brit Field Marshal.

el polacko said...

ajax is a cleanser, not a detergent.