Sunday, 14 June 2015
(Satire) Joshanita is the top gender-neutral baby name for 2015
Trigger warning: The following article contains at least one Faith No More reference.
A hybrid of a social justice power couple's Christian names has risen to be the top gender-neutral baby name in the San Francisco bay area, displacing mainstays such as Clarence, Ethel and Marmaduke. The U.S. Department of National Vital Statistics confirmed that 'Joshanita' – a portmanteau of Joshua McIntosh and Anita Sarkeesian's names has risen from nowhere to become the moniker of choice for expectant parents in areas of the country regarded as having strong progressive leanings. A spokesperson for the department said:
“There are a million tales in the naked city. As of 2015 an increasing number of these tales will belong to people whose parents have seen fit to name them Joshanita. Down the line we expect that a proportion of these individuals, upon learning the origin of their names, will engage in self-harm. Therefore we strongly recommend that money is invested in counselling and suicide prevention so that these services are well-established when this human time bomb goes off a decade or so from now.”
Proud parents, Mary and Joseph Crummer, who describe themselves as biblical other-kin told MODE 5:
“Our child is a special snowflake who was miraculously conceived during the height of summer and who is destined never to melt, or to form part of the oppressive patriarchal figure of a snowman.
“As responsible life teachers we sought to avoid imposing a moniker that strongly implies either a male or a female gender identity. If you type 'Joshanita' into one of those websites that tell you the meanings of different names it brings up no results whatsoever, although some sites will notify social services in your area if their software detects that you may be planning to call your child something idiotic, which is the reason why we are now on the run – well that and the massive pension fund fraud.”
“It's really cute the way Joshanita pronounces the word problematic as 'probromatic'”, airquotes Mary, adding that this is currently the only word spoken by her three year old daughter.
“She says it literally all the time while pointing at people and objects. To her everything is problematic, even mommy and daddy! It's adorable.”
“We didn't want to impose patriarchal language archetypes on Joshanita,” says Joseph.
“With the exception of the word 'problematic' we avoid speaking in her presence. We have done our best to isolate her from other forms of human speech by means of earplugs that effectively reduce all human communication to a series of baffling arm gestures,” he explains of his daughter, who has also been taught to drop to a crouched defensive position and hiss like a cornered animal upon sighting the popular videogame character Bayonetta.
“We hope that in time Joshanita will develop a language that is uniquely her own and that this rare ability will not result in her being othered by less gifted children and adults,” says Mary.
“Recently Joshanita has been playing at being an elephant and behaving in a manner that leads us to believe that she may be elephant other-kin,” says Joseph. “We attempted to enrol her in a vocational programme for elephants at a wildlife park in Maine but were turned down on the spurious grounds that, biologically-speaking, our daughter is not an elephant.
“We now intend to sue the park for an amount that, coincidentally corresponds exactly with the multi-million dollar financial settlement that I have been instructed to pay as compensation for my part in the gross mismanagement of a series of pension funds. We have also set up Patreon and Paypal accounts that will help to raise the money necessary to protect our daughter from ivory poachers.”
Other San Francisco-based parents who have been caught up in the recent naming trend are less enamoured by the rising popularity of Joshanita:
“Without exception, every kid I've met called Joshanita has been an overly-entitled little brat,” says Kindergarten teacher, Susan Hollier. “You might as well slap a label on your son or daughter that reads: 'Brace yourself because my child is a douchebag.'”
Linda Bishop is one of a number of parents who felt brow-beaten into naming her child Joshanita and who has now set up a support group for people who find themselves in similar situations:
“My husband and I foolishly let it slip to our friends that we were planning to name our baby 'Larry' after my grandfather who raised me single-handedly in the wilds of Kentucky following the death of my parents.
“We subsequently received threatening phone calls at all hours of the day and night accusing us of the cultural appropriation of a native American name. We have also received letters from local schools and colleges informing us that the name Larry is now regarded as triggering and that they would unable to admit our child on grounds that this might cause offence or distress to the other children, parents and staff.
“Eventually, in a moment of weakness, I gave in and named my beautiful baby boy - Joshanita Briannaquinn. I hope that this innocent child, who is ignorant of the great harm I have inflicted upon him, and who gazes up at me with a combination of wonder and reverence, will one day find it in his heart to forgive me.”
Classes aimed at teaching the increasing numbers of Joshanitas fundamental life skills, such as Triggering Drills, are already springing up all over San Francisco and New York.
Instructor Stephane Bony says: “We instil in children from an early age the importance of identifying their triggers by pointing at the source of their distress and loudly and repeatedly shouting “NO!” When law enforcement arrives we encourage them to accuse the offending person or object of rape.”
Even non-progressive child care services are being forced to change long-standing practices:
“For better or for worse we have been compelled to move with the times,” sighs Patricia Mackney who has run the Little Monkeys Bay Nursery for the past 27 years:
“Initially we altered the words to If You're Happy And You Know It so that they went: 'If you're happy and you know it jazz your hands.' We did this to avoid triggering children who are distressed by loud noises beyond their own incessant high-volume yelling.
“We have now banned the song entirely following legal advice that we could be sued for discrimination by the parents of children who are unhappy, or who cannot say with certainty whether or not they are happy.”
Meanwhile, colleges across the U.S. are developing new courses that will accommodate the emerging Joshanita demographic when they reach their late teens.
A spokesperson for a college that did not wish to be identified says: “Our aim is provide the least challenging, undemanding seven-year curriculum that money can buy. If you don't leave our college more entrenched and convinced of the inherent rightness of your wrong-headed, narrow-minded world view then we will give you an extra hour in the campus ball pit completely free of charge."
Beyond the campus and the kindergarten a generation of ordinary Americans are struggling to make sense of the rise of the Joshanitas and the social justice movement they herald.
Maria Bazell whose fading dream of being accepted as a mature student by the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory becomes a little less likely every day she puts on her workplace ID badge that identifies her as Grade 2 Ball Pit Technician at the Land of Sunshine Warehouse of Soft Play, told MODE 5:
“I get parents coming up to me asking me to pick out certain colours of balls from the ball pit as they are giving their kid post-traumatic stress disorder. Usually I just empty the ball pit completely. It makes it easier to clean up the urine. Seldom a day goes by without a parent of a multi-kin child calling the police because some of their multiple personalities got lost in the tube maze.
“My ex-boyfriend came home from Iraq with real honest to god PTSD. Now he calls me several times a night threatening to kill me and his son. Nobody's giving me any money or so much as a good god damn because I'm being victimised.”
Carine Vetch of Bay Area Victim Solutions says:
“Maria's problem is that she's from a poor, blue collar background and isn't marketing her victimhood in a way that connects with writers at Rolling Stone and The Washington Post. I would suggest that she secures a higher paid job on the fringes of academia and then flees her home for a few months to go travelling around Europe.”