Jezebel_magazineNo one names their daughters Jezebel in spite of it being pretty name. Why not? Because the Bible says she was a prostitute? I looked that up, the evidence is pretty thin (even for religious standards). So why else, because (if you know the story) she got her husband into trouble and because the name is Hebrew for not exalted? Does לא ינעל mean anything to you? No, me neither, so who the hell cares? Something about false idols? Please.

An arcane Biblical character that might have done something bad and got railroaded for it, that’s why no one can comfortably use this pretty name?

Can you give me any reason most people wouldn’t have to google and wikipedia to dig up to account for this? No. It’s just some weird self-perpetuating reflex we all seem to have to avoid this name. I guess the Bible made the name Jezebel toxic and somehow produced a baseless association with the name and prostitution.

I think the logic goes like this: “Are you crazy? We can’t name her Jezebel, people will think she’s a prostitute and she’ll do heroin on skid row! I don’t know, it’s in the Bible somewhere, Helen told me at Whole Foods the other day.”

Do you think that if you named your daughter Jezebel that she would be any more vulnerable than the next girl to become a prostitute or not “exalted” in life? I’m not even sure what that means in English, let alone Hebrew. If anything, I think she would be an object of positive intrigue and would be more successful. That’s what I think. It’s a pretty name and that should be the bottom line. Jezebel. Jezebel, you know? I like that Z in there too, it works for me. They call that good assonance.

If we had a kid someday and the kid were a girl, and I could win the fight with my wife, I would lead the way on this (and blog a follow-up about it from the hospital). Those three things combined are not over fifty percent in terms of actually happening, so my backup plan is to get a dog — but a prissy dog that doesn’t look she’d get mixed up in prostitution, like a poodle or a cocker spaniel — and name her Jezebel. That would be a start. Actually maybe a cat, the breed with the weird big eyes, would be more fitting to try to evangelize a touchy name for a lady than using a dog for that purpose.

That’s another thing that gets my goat, why do dogs get a bad rap, with bitch, a once-useful word for which there is no softer alternative, becoming pejorative? I love dogs. Puppies! Happiness, loyalty, heck some can fetch you a beer from the fridge. How did dog become an insult?

Gee-whiz, this world is falling apart.

Doug Simmons

3 COMMENTS

  1. No, I do not think Jezebel is a pretty name.
    I find it intriguing and Sultry, and I want to know if she “goes all the way”?
    While it may be defiant and strong to push aside public opinion and go with what you want…
    Truth is, it is someone else’s perception that can hold you back.
    I tell my kids, get an education, then decide your future for yourself.

  2. Sigh, JRDemaskus, always the voice of reason.. would it kill you to just agree with me all the time to shut me up? Kind of a cop-out, but how about Jezebella? No go?

    I guess what bothers me the most is that over time a lot of bad things happen, and due to the nature of a quasi-finite number of baby names and dates on a calendar, otherwise completely neutral and nice things can get forever tainted into social unacceptability, forever, and this will get worse over time when someone named Persephone, another name I like, becomes queen of someplace and gets mixed up in genocide — then we lose the name Persephone as an option? Isn’t Persephone a pretty name?

    Back to Jezebel, I looked up names of other bad people in history (it may not have looked like it but I actually researched for this article), actual bad people who did heinous things (not vague Old Testament stuff that by today’s standards wouldn’t be that noteworthy), and I found names with, according to Wolfram Alpha and some random baby names websites, more usage than Jezebel. So I think there’s something to the sound of the word Jezebel, in its assonance, rather than its history, that just sounds too sexy.

    Anyway, this article was me having my Sunday joyride, I’m using it as a segue to how awesome Wolfram Alpha is. Thanks for chiming in, I always appreciate that.

  3. Sorry. I understood where you were coming from. And I agree with you.
    Wish we could all just do what we like.

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