June 19, 2019

"Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck completed her dissertation and received a Ph.D. from Cardinal Stritch University in May."

"She kept her birth name of Marijuana Pepsi to prove to herself and others that you can overcome any obstacles in life and achieve your dreams" — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world... As much as people blamed and judged her mother for the name, Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today. ...

It's fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions."

She interviewed black students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.... Many of the students reported an experience that Marijuana knew all too well. The teacher would stop on their names while taking attendance and begin quizzing them about it in front of everyone.

"I'm sorry," Marijuana replied to a professor who did that to her at Whitewater. "You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you."...

155 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

A Boy Named Sue!

Darrell said...

What? Purple Drank was taken?

gspencer said...

"to prove to herself and others that you can overcome any obstacles in life and achieve your dreams"

Johnny Cash already sang about that.

tim maguire said...

Damn, looked up the lyrics and missed my moment!

Well, my daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and a empty bottle of booze
Now, I don't blame him 'cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me Sue

Ace Sullivan said...

You didn't ask anyone else about their name...
No shit, JaQuan

Fernandistein said...

It's fitting that an African American woman would choose Black Black Blacketty Black as her dissertation topic.

TheOnion predicted this, although perhaps "Marijuana" is better than "Sinutab".

MadisonMan said...

The article is great. She sounds like a remarkably level-headed woman. Would make a great neighbor.

Heartless Aztec said...

A-A-Aaron?

Shouting Thomas said...

Whites expressing curiosity about blacks is racism.

Whites not spending all their time obsessing over blacks is racism.

Whites extending themselves in a friendly fashion toward blacks is racism.

Whites ignoring blacks is racism.

I’m pleased, however, that in Althouse’s comments section, the jig is up with the anti-bigotry crusade. It was quite different a few years ago. I’d say 90% of the commenters here are fed up with the constant prattling about bigotry and the attempts to cash in on scams.

I didn’t think we’d ever reach this state of utter exhaustion with the anti-bigotry ranters and scammers, but it has happened.

BarrySanders20 said...

"A-A-Aaron"

Maybe the funniest skit ever

https://youtu.be/Dd7FixvoKBw

Birkel said...

Nonsense.
Teachers stop on names all the time.
For example, "Mr Smith, are you related to the Rhode Island Smiths?"
(It's a joke about a common name.)

Or, "Ms de Havelland, are you related to the famous actress or the airplane manufacturer?"
(Because you want to personalize yourself during an impersonal roll call.)

She's a grievance gal.

traditionalguy said...

After she is awarded her Phd in Victimology Studies, she can pass along the true way to be a big success in Media. Statues will be erected and streets will be re-named for her.

Swede said...

Another PhD dissertation that adds nothing of value to the body of knowledge.

At least mine, "Sinus Cleansing: Farmers Snot Rag or Traditions Booger Hooks", has a practical application.

gspencer said...

"You didn't ask anyone else about their name..."

You mean like, LaShay’Shawndra, Sha’quandra, Shaquandree, Pinyata, Damika, Lashundra, Demarius, Demarae, LaQuasha, LaQuinna, LaQualla, Chontiera, Chontarria, Ravon, Chontele, Rayquan, Layshell, Kinyarda, Kinyarna, Dayqyuia, Dayqyan, Angharad, Anquanette, Biahnca, Carlandra, Coushatta, Johnecia, Jajuan, Jamaurice, Oatshawn, Shaneedra, TeShounda, Tierra, Valandra, Zakkiyya, Daryl, Q’Antity, Uhlleejsha, Cray-Ig, Fellisittee, Tay’Sh’awn, and Day’Shawndra, Uneeqqi, Armani-Chanel, Quo’Tatashia, Quanesha, Quanesia, Quansha, Queen-Queisha, Devonterray, Mopreshia, Telaphonia-Sheeray, Shinaqua, A'Quariur, Dasunia, Shaquedra, Omarion, Tayshaun, Deron, Rau’shee, Raynell, Quatrelle, Quontrellis, Deontay, Taraje, Jozy, Kerron, Hyleas, Chaunte, Bershawn, Lashawn, Sanya, Trevell, Sheena, Ogonna, Dremiel, et alia.

What if Shirley Q Liquor's kids went to that school. You know, Lincoln, Aloe Vera, Gyna -Lotrimin, LemonJello, OrangeJello, Tinactin, Tempasia, KMartina, Fallopia, Shiittehead, Shameka-Vonquishia, Salmonella, Chlamydia, Champagne, Democtorius, Saskatoon.

They're listed in Shirley's The 12 Days of Kwaanza,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV04rj5QCzU

Heartless Aztec said...

My first experience with this was my first class ever as a teacher in 1977. Undray T..... Turns out his mother didn't know how to spell Andre. It took months to figure that one out.

Chuck said...

The surprise for me in this story was that Marijuana is black. My own prejudices had me picturing a white girl from Northern California or Upstate New York or Vermont.

But that was a sixties and seventies thing, right? Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa. Satchel (Ronan Farrow) Allen.

When I think of the institutional prejudice against names that telegraph African-American status — a social phenomenon proven in a number of academic studies — I am thinking of names like “Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones.” (See link to the University of Chicago - Booth School .url below.)

http://review.chicagobooth.edu/behavioral-science/2016/article/problem-has-name-discrimination

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The teacher would stop on their names while taking attendance and begin quizzing them about it in front of everyone

Teacher: Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck... are you by any chance related to the Claremont Vandycks?
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck: STOP OPPRESSING ME!

Gahrie said...

"I'm sorry," Marijuana replied to a professor who did that to her at Whitewater. "You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you."...

Because I can't believe anyone was ignorant enough to give a child that name. You're welcome.

JPS said...

"Many of the students reported an experience that Marijuana knew all too well. The teacher would stop on their names while taking attendance and begin quizzing them about it in front of everyone."

It's like the old joke Bill Buckley told, to illustrate the situation of conservative professors in the 60s when liberal professors were getting hounded by the left. Substitute teacher asks each student to get up and give his name. One boy says, brightly, Stinky! and she says very funny, come on now, what's your name? Stinky, the boy says more seriously. Now the sub is getting annoyed and she says, Look, tell me your real name now or go to the principal's office.

So the boy shrugs sadly and heads toward the door. Stopping, he taps another boy on the shoulder and says, Better come too, Shithead. You don't stand a chance.

Heartless Aztec said...

Digression: How come they never use "black" name for hurricanes? Eslecially Cape Verde storms that form off Afrika? Tropical Storm LaKeesha if you will.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You'd think she would at least let her friends call her Mary Jane...

MikeR said...

@Aztec "Undray T". Nah - his mother wrote his age there by mistake.

Bay Area Guy said...

The self-righteous stupidity beats loudly in that one..,,

sykes.1 said...

One is reminded that France regulates birth names, and its officials will replace a name deemed inappropriate with an officially approved name.

Lincolntf said...

My wife is a Professor at an HBCU. A lot of her classes are 100-150 student lecture sessions, and before each semester, we go over the roster to identify the hard to decipher names and try to guess their pronunciation. My favorite was a guy named "Cheaddrick", pronounced simply as "Cedric".

EDH said...

Funny, when she makes reservations at some restaurants they say "is Coke okay?"

Caroline said...

In every culture but this contemporary chaos, the naming of a child carries deep significance. A namesake, like the natural biological link to the man and woman who created you, answers a primordial need in us, it forges roots, it answers the question, “who am I, where did I come from, why am I here?”
We like to think we’ve “evolved” away from such considerations. Any family configuration works just fine! You can be anyone you want to be! Our civilization is collapsing under the weight of the lies we are telling ourselves about what it means to be a human being.

Seeing Red said...

Ferris Buehler.

Buehler.

Scott said...

My esteemed spouse was an Army nurse who spent several assignments in Neonatal Intensive Care. Two naming episodes stand out. One, an unnamed newborn had the little wristband with the conventional "inf-female" as the placeholder for when the parents named the child. Mom/dad thought it was exotic and named their daughter "Infemale" (with the accent on the final e pronounced as long a). The other one was when mom/dad saw a word on a chart that sounded vaguely Italian and also exotic, and so that little girl was named "Placenta."
I wonder if there is more willingness to accept risk/variety when naming girls as opposed to boys.

Jarby said...

I have an unusual first name that is often mispronounced, misread, and misheard. Almost 100% of my first meetings with people involve them either complimenting or expressing surprise at my name, then inquiring where it's from. I gladly explain that I was named after someone outside the family, and I thank them when they say it's "pretty." I am also used to patiently repeating my name to correct people, and sometimes not correcting them (when it's a person I'll never see again). I even had a grandparent (married into the family) who called the wrong name for years.

Guess what? It's okay. I don't choose to have a chip on my shoulder about it. People are curious about unusual names. It's an interesting first impression, and it breaks the ice.

I understand the frustration people with unusual names face, but most of them handle it with the wrong attitude. Their parents named them something unusual in the hopes of making them special, making them stand out. Don't complain that it worked! People will actually remember you, rather than if you were yet another Susan or David.

(Disclaimer: I'm white)

Jake said...

She’s the antithesis to her thesis.

Heartless Aztec said...

Key & Peele - the last of the funny comedians. We won't see the likes of them for awhile...

JPS said...

Chuck, 8:00 AM:

"But that was a sixties and seventies thing, right? Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa. Satchel (Ronan Farrow) Allen."

That's a really good point.

"the institutional prejudice against names that telegraph African-American status — a social phenomenon proven in a number of academic studies — I am thinking of names like “Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones"

You've got me thinking of two dads I know (they don't know each other), one a professor and one a senior NCO, who've used the term "resume names." Both are determined to set their kids for success, and neither wanted to run the risk of a creative, ethnic-pride-type name costing them any chance at it.

Jarby said...

I literally do not believe any stories that come from "I know someone who was a nurse who..."

These name stories are old urban legends that come in, like, two flavors. Either the kid's named "Female" or "Oranjello."

Maybe some people actually had this experience, but I'm inclined to think it's the classic story-from-2-degrees-away that is never true. Like how everyone knows someone who brought their snake to the vet and was told "he was measuring you!!" No one's lying necessarily, but memory is a liar sometimes.

mjg235 said...

She should have just gone by Mary Jane

Big Mike said...

Having been an adjunct professor, I think it's perfectly legitimate to ask a student with an unusual name how to pronounce it properly. That once included the names "Penelope" (Pen-El-O-Pee) and "Herminone" (Herm-EYE-O-Nee). And if a student responded as snippily as Ms. Marijuana Vandyke, she'd be on my shit list the rest of the semester.

If she wasn't so deep into nursing her petty grievances she'd realize that there's a reason why I don't ask Abdul, Alice, Susan, or Fred how to pronounce their names that has nothing to do with skin color. (Though I did ask guys named "Robert" whether they prefer "Rob" or "Bob" if -- make that when -- I call on them.)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Marijuana replied to a professor who did that to her at Whitewater. "You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you

Yeah, that's an obvious case of racism and not one of a person with a really unusual/stupid name...what a racist asshole that Professor was, I'm so glad Marijuana is around to shame those obvious bigots. It's just too bad she didn't get the Professor fired--maybe next time.

You go, girl!

Ann Althouse said...

Marijuana... it's just Mary Jane.

Pepsi... that's the unusual one.

Rory said...

"I have an unusual first name that is often mispronounced, misread, and misheard."

Same here. Eventually gravitated to essentially the same name, with a more familiar spelling. Then 9/11 forced identification back to birth documents, so I ended up back at square one.

RNB said...

The name of the POTUS in the movie 'Idiocracy' was 'Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.'

Guildofcannonballs said...

Acquinnette Bailey is a available for comment, let's hear what she has to say.

Ray - SoCal said...

Why is Black culture so big on creating made up / unique name / one of a kind names?

cubanbob said...

In many if not most European countries there are list of acceptable names to give to children. They may be right. I don't blame Marijuana Pepsi for her birth name, that's on her parents. Keeping that stupid name is on her.

Unknown said...

My goodness I hat a whiner.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's wonderful that normal human empathy has been weaponized by people who, for ideological reasons, have decided that people must be forced to speak, and maybe believe, lies. Nice centrist people sure have done a great job catering to assholes and harming the fundamental concept of objective reality!

If you have an odd or unusual name it's not wrong for people to treat it as odd. It would be wrong for people to make fun of you for it, or to mock your name, but simply aknowledging that something that is, objectively, rare is rare isn't some moral transgression.

"How dare you have a completely normal and standard reaction to encountering something rare and treating something that is, statistically, unusual/uncommon as unusual/uncommon!?" That's bullshit and the fact that nice centrist people have decided to surrender to demands from interested parties to treat is disgusting. You enable this bullshit every time you nod and smile just to be nice when people spout nonsense.

Everyone's gay! 10% of people are transgender! People only react to unusual names because those people are racist!

Gobble up that bullshit and smile, nice centrists! Make sure you scold anyone who doesn't smile right along with you.

Curious George said...

"Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today."

That's just the weed talkin'...

Curious George said...

"One is reminded that France regulates birth names, and its officials will replace a name deemed inappropriate with an officially approved name."

These days that is Muhammad in all it's different spellings.

Allahu Akbar.

rhhardin said...

Blacks name their kids after proprietary medicines.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue4m_2F8vJc

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

There’s an institutional prejudice against all kinds of stupid shit. One of the duties of the responsible parent is to not slam your kids face first into that stupid shit.

Temujin said...

Ummm....marijuana Pepsi.

n.n said...

Marijuana is either impatient, intolerant, ignorant, or all three.

Beaneater said...

I was at a month-long training course with an Eowyn. And she could well have passed for the Eowyn of Lord of the Rings. A horse princess in the very best and most complimentary sense.

Mark said...

Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit

Brandy. Now that's a good Wisconsin name. Hope she has a relative named Vermox.

John Ray said...

My middle name is spelled: L E W U A L. Every teacher, professor, insurance agent, DMV employee, judge, girlfriend (including ex-wives), police officer, client, State Bar employee and acquaintance I have ever met has asked me about my name. It usually transpires as thus: How do you pronounce that name? Say that again! Is that really how that is spelled? Where does that name come from? I've never seen that name before! Pronounce it again, please. (mostly without the "please").

Being white, it never bothered me. But if I were black, I suppose.....

It was my grandfather's name, who refused to use it, preferring to go by JL Ray. It was his father's name. Also my uncle's name, who refused to use it, using only the L. My uncle had no descendants, so the old man stuck me with it.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Regarding Black names, it always surprises me that there are so many people eager to self-parody. Driving in downtown Olympia in the late ‘90’s, I counted seven Volvo station wagons in less than a minute. A herd of iconoclastic individualists.

Chuck said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
Marijuana... it's just Mary Jane.

Pepsi... that's the unusual one.


“... The revolution will not go better with Coke...
The revolution will not be televised...”

~ Gil Scott-Heron

Bruce Hayden said...

Names can be a problem. My partner was born the middle of five, and her mother read her Tarot cards before naming her. And then invented a name, that is kinda Greek, kinda Hispanic, and inevitably mispronounced. Indeed, my pronunciation was periodically corrected for quite some time when we first met. Which maybe is why we have been together for 20 years this coming August, so she doesn’t have to teach any other guy to get it right. Making things worse, she (still) has a very French last name, the correct pronunciation of which depends on the accent, that is usually missing in the English language world. Her first name has the same problem - that it only pronounces correctly if the special, non English, character is present in its spelling.

She was a stubborn shit growing up (I can say that because that is what she keeps saying about the cat). One teacher got her name wrong the first day of class. She politely corrected him. He did it again. She corrected him. He insisted. And then she quit responding to him. He would call roll, and instead of “present” or “here”, when he mispronounced her name, he got silence. When he called on her in class, the same response: silence. She would be sent to the office. Didn’t help. Her (stubborn) position was that if he wanted a response from her, he should call her by her name. This went on for months. This may have been when she ended up in Special Ed.

I must gravitate to women like that. Her processor in interest (my ex wife) had a very long Germanic last name, and a common first name. People would routinely screw up her first name, preparing to say her last name. So, when she remarried, she took her new husband’s last name. Unfortunately, it has two very different pronunciations, one French and one English. I think that it is a family thing, going back centuries, but members of each side seem to get offended if you use the wrong pronunciation, assuming that they were from the other side of the family.

J. Farmer said...

With the last name Farmer, I took a fair amount of ribbing when I was in school. Marijuana Pepsi must've had quite the time. Also, how's that going to look on resumes and job applications?

Ken B said...

Birkel nails the false premise. Another false premise is that the teacher asked because the woman was black rather than because her name is Marijuana. The dissertation ropes in another false premise, that classrooms are “white”.

Grundoon said...

At 8:09 Caroline said,
"In every culture but this contemporary chaos, the naming of a child carries deep significance."

I read a quote once that a black mother said the unusual name she gave her child was chosen purposefully so the child would have something unique in the world. The mother saw it as a permanent, special gift only the parents could bestow. That sounds like a cultural idea.

Ken B said...

How is Marijuana Farmer going to look on a resume?

William said...

I'd be more colorful and original if I didn't have such an ordinary name. I blame my parents for my utter banality......Mickey Mantle had the best name ever for a baseball hero. Yogi Berra was not innately a great name for a sports legend, but he made it so.

Lori said...

Barrysanders20 said

"A-A-Aaron"

Maybe the funniest skit ever

https://youtu.be/Dd7FixvoKBw



Or this one:

Key & Peele East/West College Bowl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gODZzSOelss

The Minnow Wrangler said...

I feel sorry for the woman. It's not just blacks who give their kids unusual names. Working class whites also do it, one I saw recently was "Londynne" pronounced "London." Blacks do the "Sha" and "La" and seem to like Q's, while whites change the vowels and add unnecessary y's or other vowels.

I have an unusual first name and I am accustomed to it being mispronounced. As a consequence I'll answer to anything starting with a hard "C".

MadTownGuy said...

Pity her last name isn't Bucket, pronounced'Bouquet.'

Eleanor said...

My great-grandmother was a simple farmer's wife, but she loved Shakesapeare and named all of her 14 children after characters in his plays. My grandfather got stuck with Romeo. Most of the boys found acceptable close enough, but not likely to cause ridicule, substitutes or went by their middle names except for Richard, but the girls lived with their names. Ophelia, Portia, Beatrice, Cordelia, and Bianca. Dorcas was a family name already so it was a middle name. I pitied my ancestors given when and where they lived until I started teaching and had students in my class with names like "Yourmajesty" and "Firm Dinkum". Then I decided Grandpa Romeo had it easy.

Dave Begley said...

Why wasn't her middle name Coke?

n.n said...

false premise is that the teacher asked because the woman was black

Yes, there is no evidence of diversity. The girl has an unusual name and it would be quite odd if someone did not ask to clarify.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Char Char Binks said...

Whites can't pronounce Black first names, but Blacks can't pronounce white last names, so there's that.

I'm sure there are plenty of Latinas named Marijuana, or Maria Juana. I have a niece named Mary Jane, and I sometimes call her Marijuana.

n.n said...

Cannibinoid CO2 or CC for short. Woke and #NoLabels.

RK said...

Black American culture finds no limit of things to do to themselves (like stupid names), and then manages to turn it into victimhood. Now I'm seeing young black girls with tattoos in TV commercials.

Not Sure said...

She'd make an excellent Secretary of Education under President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho

Roy Jacobsen said...

Harvard Lampoon's "Bored of the Rings" had the foursome of "boggies" named Frito, Spam, Moxie, and Pepsi.

gilbar said...

sykes.1 said...
One is reminded that France regulates birth names, and its officials will replace a name deemed inappropriate with an officially approved name.


And England doesn't allow abortions past the first trimester. Sometimes, i think that my liberal friend that were all "oh, Europe is SO MUCH MORE ENLIGHTENED THAN US" were right

Heartless Aztec said...

In 1976 the movie "Rocky" was released. In 1982 first grade classrooms were inundated with little boys named Rocky.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"Marijuana" is an unusual name. It's objectively unusual--it's very rare.
If you treat it as unusual though--if you act in a way consistent with objective reality--then you'll be treated as some sort of bigot (racist, sexist, whatever).

Since you don't want to be treated like a bigot you have to pretend that something that is, objectively, unusual is in fact common--that there's nothing unusual nor noteworthy about it.

This person has forced you to compromise your understanding of reality, or at the very least your willingness to voice what you understand to be real. That's such a fundamental aspect of your mind--of your sentience itself!--that it's nearly insane so many people are willing to go along with it. How much power we give such people!

If Marijuana said that 2+2 = 5 and that if you disagreed you were a racist how many nice centrist people would willingly nod along and say "you know, she has a point?"

Compromising your view of objective reality isn't "nice." You're surrendering your mind because some moron stomped her foot and said you should. Fuck that: fuck her, fuck her mother, fuck anyone who has a problem with treating something unusual as unusual.

Paul From Minneapolis said...

If this was a white male and his name was Jello Shot would this even be controversial? I ask you.

gilbar said...

Mary Jane said... The teacher would stop on their names while taking attendance and begin quizzing them about it in front of everyone.

She's Right! this Only happens to Black people!!
Not once, not ever did a teacher weird out over any of the white girls names at Iowa State.
actually, i had a HUGE crush on a girl whose first name was Tuesday; and she'd beg to differ with MaryJane Tab Goatee

AlbertAnonymous said...

Marijuana Pepsi got a PhD in BS.

I guess she’s destined to teach grievance studies at a directional state college, you know, like Northeast Wisconsin State or Lower East Coastal Carolina State.

And she’ll be miserable.

But I wonder, honestly, how she’ll pronounce the names of the “white” kids in her class... or whether she’ll stop and ask them questions. My guess is she simply won’t give a shit.

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

"Marijuana" is an unusual name.

@HoodlumDoodlum, it's also the sort of thing that could be generated by a computer screw-up.

n.n said...

Psychogenic Diabetes is easy to pronounce.

Chuck said...

Blogger Jarby said...
I literally do not believe any stories that come from "I know someone who was a nurse who..."

These name stories are old urban legends that come in, like, two flavors. Either the kid's named "Female" or "Oranjello."

Maybe some people actually had this experience, but I'm inclined to think it's the classic story-from-2-degrees-away that is never true. Like how everyone knows someone who brought their snake to the vet and was told "he was measuring you!!" No one's lying necessarily, but memory is a liar sometimes.


I was involved in an OB-GYN malpractice case where a female child had the first name “Female.” They pronounced it “fem-AH-lay.” An impertinent young defense lawyer (not me) asked about the origin of the name in the mother’s deposition. I saw the transcript. And indeed it was inspired by an indication of “Female” in early (pre-naming) neonatal records.

A black family in Detroit. So at least once, I can attest that the story was not apocryphal.

walter said...

Pussy Pussy Pussy Marijuana

Bobb said...

My name is Bob. But people inevitably pronounce it backwords.

Sebastian said...

Good thing they didn't aks her.

buwaya said...

If a black woman scholar wanted to be unique, one would think they would do something new and different.
Do something no-one else has done.

But no, there are incentives for going blacketty-black

Mr. Groovington said...

The last three women I dated were Bokamoso, Ndinelago and Olebogeng. Great names. Tribes: San, Ovambo and San.

buwaya said...

They could run experiments with white boys named Glock Jones or Armalite Anderson.

Not Sure said...

If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, some day Professor Vandyck will get a white boy named Racist Mofo in her class.

Scott M said...

"No, no, no - it's spelled 'Raymond Luxury Yacht', but it's pronounced 'Throatwobbler Mangrove'."

Scott M said...

My last name is of Scottish ancestry and easily pronounced. However, almost every single teach I had in college stopped on it and tried it one way or the other before I corrected them. Furthermore, I got by my middle name, not my first, which is my parents' fault as well, but I had to explain THAT to each instructor.

She is not special.

walter said...

"Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world"

Mission accomplished

Richard G said...

Years ago, teaching in a public school in the Bronx, NYC I had a student, a pretty black girl, named Kisses. She had a twin sister in another class named Hugs. I had to resist asking if her mother had been on drugs when she named them.

Lewis Wetzel said...

If her mother had named her Chlamydia, I bet she would have changed it.

Narr said...

My surname is both fairly rare (with one famous exception) and much more often encountered as a given name; people ask my last name, I give it, and half the time they will ask me again, as if I'm not clear on the concept. But I'm polite, and say, "Yes, that is my last name." And I have learned that some people will insist on treating my given name (rarer in both categories!) as my last name, and will file documents or address me that way.

Legend has it that country doctors used to stick names like Wasserman Positive or Syphillis
on the new additions down in the hollers.

Every white man I know named James goes by "Jim." Every black man I know named James goes by James.

The African-American elites here still have their debutante cotillion, and there are pics of all the newbies in the paper--with names unseen and undreamt before. Here's a scenario, not farfetched:

PROF calling roll: Mizz Striggs? Mizz . . . Jan-

STUDENT: Janaikeisha'lanae.

PROF: Uhh, J . . A . . N . .

STUDENT: It spell just like it sound!

++++

Props to K&P, good to see some other fans.

Narr
Help your child succeed by putting as much cultural distance between her and the mainstream as possible


walter said...

Apparently mom glanced at the coffee table and came up with that.

Gahrie said...

I used to joke that if I had a daughter I'd name her Mary Juana......

mikee said...

I have asked students the correct pronunciation of their names before, sometimes just to figure out which students were which, sometimes because their names were unfamiliar to me and I wanted to call them their correct names. It ain't just DeShaquin getting quizzed, it is Chingqin, too.

My name, Michael, is from the Hebrew for the rhetorical question "Who is like God?" and means, "No one is like God!" My rather common name has been misspelled all my life at school and work. The "a" comes before the "e" thank you very much. And for reasons to silly to get into, I've been miss-called "David" more often than I like to recall. If common names like mine are difficult, less common names, idiomatic spellings and pronunciations, foreign language names, and non-phonetic ideograms like Prince's require some investigation.

mikee said...

And one guy I worked with, holder of an H-1 visa, had his patronymic and given names printed on his visa out of correct order, and was called by his dad's name ever after at work. His solution? Being glad he was in the US, not his home country.

Big Mike said...

BTW, Dr. Marijuana VanDyke, how do you pronounce a first name of "St. John"? Or a last name of Taliferro?

richlb said...

I'm always amused that the English last name "Cockburn" is pronounced "Coburn", like James Coburn. Also, the last name "Cuntchar" is pronounced "Wilson".

n.n said...

It's not a big deal. Calm down, mellow out, chill, baby, and have another puff. Or swig, if you prefer, Dr. Psychogenic Diabetes.

Yancey Ward said...

As a white boy named Yancey, I have some sympathy for a girl named Marijuana Pepsi.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

She's a heroine

n.n said...

George Zimmerman with a diversity label: "White Hispanic" in the Ouroboros.

John henry said...

In the fourth grade first day in a Puerto Rican school the teacher was asking kids their names. Many babais are named for the saint on whose day they are born.

I am Juan, named for San Juan

I am markus for San Markus

I am maria for Santa Maria

I am Givin for Thanksgiving.

(joke works better when you understand that spanish speakers pronounce thanksgiving sangivin.)

John Henry

Yancey Ward said...

"If this was a white male and his name was Jello Shot would this even be controversial? I ask you."

Well, he wouldn't be allowed to get a PhD using the subject she did.

John henry said...

Another practice in Puerto Rico used to be

Avert your eyes
Open a bible at random
Put your finger on the page
Your baby's name is the closest gender appropriate name

My wife's brothers and sisters

Tomas
Maci
Persida
Nehemias
Uriel
Eloy

John Henry

tcrosse said...

An old chum claimed his name was Ro3ger. The 3 is silent.

GingerBeer said...

But ya ought to thank me, before I die
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
'Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Marijuana Pepsi"

Jarby said...

I was involved in an OB-GYN malpractice case where a female child had the first name “Female.” They pronounced it “fem-AH-lay.” An impertinent young defense lawyer (not me) asked about the origin of the name in the mother’s deposition. I saw the transcript. And indeed it was inspired by an indication of “Female” in early (pre-naming) neonatal records.

A black family in Detroit. So at least once, I can attest that the story was not apocryphal.


-
It's possible. But unlikely. Census records do show people named "Female" being registered to social security--but no more than 160 people in the country at any given time. That's shockingly small. The name didn't appear in any records until '82, and has disappeared since 2007--indicating anyone who had that name has probably since died.
Oranjello seems to be 100% made up. Though I wouldn't be surprised if people heard the jokes about Female/Jello and decided to use the names in earnest. People will do weird things.

JAORE said...

I have a rare last name. And,apparently, it is not pronounced as it is spelled.

As a shy little kid, who changed schools a lot due to Dad's job, I hated it when teachers tried to pronounce my name and butchered it. I MUCH preferred those that asked.

Yancey Ward said...

The main questions people had about my first name was from where did my parents get it and how to pronounce it. If I had been "Yancy" without the "e", probably pronunciation wouldn't have been an issue- the name "Nancy" is well understood- but with the "e", some wanted to use a hard "c", and call me "Yankee" occasionally. Of course, a less vocalized issue is the spelling itself- about 75% of people omit the "e", even when they have the actual correct spelling right in front of them.

My mother got the name from the novel "Cimarron" by Edna Ferber.

James K said...

There are some black men who share my name, as well as a few black women. But I certainly stick out!

Is it d'Brickashaw?

narayanan said...

The French call him Aristo-teles - noble purpose.

totally lose the significance if spelled Aristotle.

Deanna said...

"Another PhD dissertation that adds nothing of value to the body of knowledge."

...one of my first thoughts: Her Mom destined her to be stuck on the topic of her name her whole life. "'People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn't get away from it,' she said."

Also from Jarby - "I am also used to patiently repeating my name to correct people, and sometimes not correcting them (when it's a person I'll never see again)."

So having to explain your name to confused strangers may serve as an icebreaker to further conversation or may be a time-consuming distraction. Jarby's outlook is a healthy one.

"Why is Black culture so big on creating made up / unique name / one of a kind names? My experience is limited to Kenya, but it seems this may be limited to American or American-influenced black culture. Names in Kenya lean heavily toward the Biblical - Purity, Simon, Philoman, Vigilance, to name a few.

That said, she sounds like a remarkable woman who has done and is doing well.

First grandbaby is due in September. His father is Jamaican - McGuiver (his first name) - so it will be a chocolate baby (my daughter is caucasian). As far as I know they have not decided on a name. I do have hopes for something "normal", but Jarby's perspective is appreciated and will be remembered.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

we grew up in an Italian neighborhood--

...knew a kid named Angeli. Peanutbutter Angeli.

Narr said...

Onomastics is my middle name. Not. But the name has gained prominence from a PBS hit in recent decades.

My last name gets pluralized. My wife's name is a homonym with "Roseanne" but lacks the middle 'e'.

Names are a great window into history. Names move and morph, split, turn into titles. Watch the old Hebrew names wax and wane with the generations and across cultures; see Franzes and Louies and Karls barrel through and spread like Visigothic weeds; thrill as Magyars begin to name their sons Zoltan . . .

Narr
Call me Not Ed. (Short for "Educable.")

Milwaukie guy said...

My ex-wife's and daughter's names have Dutch j's in them. They never get pronounced right, sometimes even after telling them it's a y sound, sort of like Spanish does it as an h.

How come English speakers don't get to name their kids Jesus?

Milwaukie guy said...

And Greeks Christ. I also knew two Filipinas named Bambi.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

momma was really into onomatopoeia-- she named me "Waaaaaaa!"

my sibs were named after diseases. She'd say things like:

"Bulimia! Get out of the refrigerator!!"
or
"Gastritus, whatchoo belly-achin' about now??"

Amadeus 48 said...

"Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today."

And if Marijuana were a boy, Mom would have named him Sue. Johnnie Cash sang a song about it.

John henry said...

James (NEVER JIM!) Lileks is white.

John Henry

Amadeus 48 said...

"My mother got the name from the novel "Cimarron" by Edna Ferber."

Man! I thought it was Yancy Derringer, but that "e" flubbers that theory up. Also, there probably is no Pahoo Ka-Ta-Wah hanging around your own personal Waverly Plantation, but I am sure you embrace the role of gentleman adventurer and gambler. Miss Francine (played by Candice Bergen's mother) was decorative but strong-willed, and she harbored a secret about her past ("Does anyone know and Irish lass named Nora?").

Ah, good times.

daskol said...

I wonder if there is more willingness to accept risk/variety when naming girls as opposed to boys.

Very astute, Scott, at least for Anglo cultures. If you consult the birth registries of countries like the US or England, you'll find there is significantly more variety in baby girl names than baby boy names. Your parents showed a characteristic lack of creativity when it came to naming you, unless you're a girl, in which case huzza to them!

Amadeus 48 said...

I remember a story years ago about a mini-scandal involving a city hospital where the parents were giving their children names like "Placenta", "Feces", "Vagina", and "Positive Wasserman". It seems the interns were bored.

Swede said...

In college I worked at night in a warehouse loading trucks.

The supervisor, a white guy, had a son named Sabre.

Fucking Marines.

daskol said...

My children, owing to the relatively unusual cultural mix of their parents, are all uniquely named, despite none of them having particularly unusual first or last names. Despite our conventional approach to labeling our children, we've denied them the comforting anonymity of a common name.

daskol said...

My favorite name in the world may be Myfanway Bonilla, which I once saw on a name tag at some conference.

daskol said...

er, Myfanwy...

D 2 said...

Off the top of my head:
I have witnessed a white person mispronounce the name of a white person in a business meeting.
I have witnessed a black person mispronounce the name of a white person in a business meeting.
I have witnessed a black person mispronounce the name of a black person (socially, not at work)
I have witnessed both white and black people go wildly off target with names of people of Asian descent.
I have been roommates with an Asian who would mispronounce names of our common acquaintances repeatedly.

I had no idea keeping a list was worthy for academic pursuit purposes. Tenure here I come!

tcrosse said...

Myfanwy is a fine Welsh name

Freeman Hunt said...

"The surprise for me in this story was that Marijuana is black. My own prejudices had me picturing a white girl from Northern California or Upstate New York or Vermont."

Same.

rehajm said...

Is it racist to think black people don't love weed, too? I mean it's legal in certain locales, and expensive, at least when you purchase from a dispensary authorized by the taxing authority. A luxury item. Enough with your privilege.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

"You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me?

Because the professor was going alphabetically and hadn't gotten to Cocaine Big Red Ziegler yet.

RichardJohnson said...

I am reminded of Tom Lehrer talking about someone named Henry who had a non-standard way of spelling his name. "H-e-n-three-r-y. The 3 was silent."

RichardJohnson said...


Swede
The supervisor, a white guy, had a son named Sabre.Fucking Marines.

A relative named her daughter Sabra.No,we're not Jewish. )

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you."...

Don't be obtuse. You know the answer to that is that your mother is an imbecile. The rest of the world is not going to politely pretend this is not the case.

GingerBeer said...

In '90, I saw a black female comedian open for Anita Baker. It was a pedestrian performance until her last bit. Riffing on MLK's "I have a dream" speech, she looked to the future when words like "Nautilus" and "cholesterol" were just the names of little black children. I wonder if that was Ms. Vandyck's mother.

Narr said...

I have read Lileks but wouldn't say I know him.

The late (?) John Train published several small volumes of Remarkable Names (documented), including--

Original Bug

Mustafa Kunt

Fanny Finger

Charles Adolphe Faux-Pas Bidet, and

Phili Deboo

Nsrr
I know Phili!


Narr said...


Nsrr@533 was me. Laughing too hard.

Narr
Sorry

buwaya said...

"The supervisor, a white guy, had a son named Sabre.Fucking Marines."

A quite common Arabic name is Saif - means "sword"

ken in tx said...

There is an unusual name in my family that was made more unusual by an accidental misspelling back in the 1800s. The misspelling has been carried forward for several generations. I gave that name to one of my sons and I regret it now. I should not have burdened him with the constant hassle of dealing with it.

Marcus said...

Glad her father, who is not mentioned in the snippet or the comments, was not responsible.

Women can't be trusted to do simple things like naming children.

THEOLDMAN

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Years ago, there was a sometime contributor to NRO's The Corner named Cinnamon Sidwell. I normally dislike hippy-dippy names, but I like that one.

I have a Eastern European name that I hated when I was young - it was so old-fashioned. Now it's considered chic and young people constantly tell me "I love your name!" Nobody said that in the 1970's.

Gahrie said...

I am reminded of Tom Lehrer talking about someone named Henry who had a non-standard way of spelling his name. "H-e-n-three-r-y. The 3 was silent."

There's a movie called Bandslam in which one of the characters does the same thing.

Narr said...

Who can forget Le-a.

Le-DASH-a, fool!

Narr
Gone bed

Josephbleau said...

In a popular book callled the brotherhood of war. The sex was cntrold by comittmenrt

Fen said...

The supervisor, a white guy, had a son named Sabre.

Fucking Marines.


Hehe. I would never do that to my son, Smeac.

LordSomber said...

I wonder if John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt has a college degree?

Focko Smitherman said...

"Pepsi... that's the unusual one." Nobody's mentioned Ponyboy's brother in The Outsiders, Sodapop.

daskol said...

Myfanwy is a fine Welsh name

Bonilla is a fine Puerto Rican name. Seeing them combine that way on a nametag was delightful. Will there ever be another?

Bilwick said...

My favorite first name is still "Latrina." Not making it up.