Natalie Portman is one of my favorite actresses. She can actually act, for one. "V for Vendetta" is amazing. For two, she's gorge, and for three, she's educated. She went to Harvard, for goodness sakes. But she has left me a bit confused and kind of sad with the birth of her son, whom she has named "Aleph."
Not Al, Joseph, or Aloysius. Aleph.
No, it's not a real name. You will not find it in any baby name books. But, maybe, if you are a Hebrew baby, you will find it hanging on the wall of your preschool, along with the rest of the alphabet. That's because Aleph is literally the letter "A" in the Hebrew alphabet. It's kind of like naming your child "Aych," or "Why" or "See" or "Tee." You get the picture. So what in God's name, has induced (pun intended) Natalie Portman to name her darling bub Aleph?
Well, the woman is Jewish, and has family living in Israel, so I guess she was looking for a way to honor her heritage. She is also a celebrity, and the best way to stay a celebrity is to make some headlines for yourself. Keep the public interested and flapping their yaps. So, rather than going with an actual Jewish name, like Ezra or Abraham, both of which would have been chic, unexpected choices, she decided to jump on the annoying trend of which celebrities are so fond, that of pretending random words are names. The following is the actual conversation Natalie and her man Benjamin had before Aleph was born:
"What can we name our darling bub that isn't a real name, sounds awesome, honors my Jewish heritage, and will make headlines for us, so that we will get even more publicity than we already have??"
"Jee, Natty, your Oscar from 'Black Swan' wasn't enough? Wait...what about...Swan?"
"No, silly, that's a girl's name."
"My bad, my bad. Ummmm... Moon Unit?"
"Man, this is hard."
"I know, I know. We need to think less. Keep it simple, stupid. Hehe. That's what they taught us at Harvard."
"Good idea, babe. Hey, I got it! If we're going for simple, why don't we just name it a letter?"
"You mean like, Enn? For Natalie?"
"No, I mean, Bee, for Benjamin."
"Hmmm. I got it. What about A? It implies great, mysterious things, like that he's first, because he's the first letter in the alphabet!"
"Okay, but how does that tie into your Hebrew-ness?"
"Prepare to be amazed...we name him A, but in Hebrew, so he's Aleph!"
"Oh my god, that is brilliant. It even kind of sounds like a name!"
(Disclaimer: Natalie and Benjamin did not have this conversation, but they may as well have)
Thus, the dynamic duo ended up with Aleph. Now, appearances aside, I don't actually hate the name. It's not as bad as Moroccan. (Oh, Mariah Carey...) or, on the flip-side, an über trendy name like Max. But it still makes me sad. I was hoping Natalie would display her brainy prowess and choose an unusual, yet legitimate name, that was previously gathering dust in an attic somewhere, bring it out, shine it up, and cause all lesser humans to wonder why in the heck they didn't think of reviving it before. Something like Arthur, as Elisabeth from "You Can't Call It It," suggested, or maybe Leopold or Abijah. I don't know. Anything but A, eh? Granted, Aleph does sort of sound legit. Like it could be a real name, if it actually wasn't. Someone on another board pointed out that it looks a bit like Alex and Joseph, two very popular names, smooshed together, and I guess that could hold some appeal. But still. I think the title of this blog is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the consequences of that name are concerned.