Monday, April 24, 2006

Does Tom Cruise Work at Being a Punchline?

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had a baby girl and named her Suri, saying that it was from ancient Hebrew as a variant for Sarah. Why Sarah isn't thought to be good enough and needs a variant is beyond me. However, modern speakers of Hebrew are mystified and amused.
It means "get out of here" in the local language, Hebrew.

News of the naming puzzled even those Israelis who thought they had seen it all after pop diva Madonna turned the ancient Jewish mystical tradition Kabbalah into a faith for the famous.

"I really don't know what they were thinking when they chose this name. It's a term that denotes expulsion, like 'Get out of here'," said Gideon Goldenberg, a linguistics professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "It's pretty blunt."

Yaron London, a cultural commentator for Israel's Channel 10 television, had this rhetorical question for Suri's proud parents: "Why didn't you just go back to your ancestors' language, and call the kid 'Scram Cruise'?"
I'm sure that there will be hundreds of jokes now as people think of pretty sounding words from foreign langages that might make nice names except that they don't mean pretty things when translated. For example, "Glupaya" has a nice ring, except it means "stupid girl" in Russian. Any other suggestions?