Kevin Rudd, innocent victim of 'Kevinism'
When it comes to Germany, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s name precedes him – and not in a good way.
He’s a victim of ‘Kevinism’, a term coined by German-speaking media to describe discrimination against people with ‘culturally devalued’ (read: bad, or bogan) names in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
(Chantal is another example of a ‘Kevinism’ name.)
Kevinism, and the broader effects a bad first name can have for people, are the subjects of a fascinating new paper* by German and US academics.
The key findings, based on surveys of some 12,000 participants:
- Negative (read: bad) first names evoke negative interpersonal relations, which in turn influence life outcomes for the worse.
- These life outcomes: Lower self-esteem, more smoking and less education.
- Singles using an online dating site would rather stay single than commence a relationship with someone who had an undesirable name
There is a little bit of a ‘but’ (of course): the study was conducted on German (and obviously German-speaking) participants.
But still, the premise remains: like pets at Christmas, giving someone a bad name lasts a lifetime.
*On a purely selfish note, an extensive bibliography means lots of other interesting name-based research to come. Good times!
Lene Sommer, Danish sailor
Willy van der Wiel, Dutch darts player
Bismack Biyombo, Congolese basketballer and language learner
Jerricho Cotchery, NFL wide receiver and six-fingered baby
Missy Peregrym, Canadian actress and early morning basketballer
Uwe Blab, former NBA player and father of Christopher
Dewayne Dedmon, US college basketballer and 7-foot-tall Jehovah’s Witness
Jessamen Dunker, US college footballer and weight room acclimator
Orly Taitz, US lawyer and leading figure in the ‘birther’ movement
John deJongh Jr, US Virgin Islands Governor and ice gallery welcomer
Wubbo Ockels, Dutch physicist and former astronaut
Jazzmar Ferguson, US basketballer and dishonest, lazy and unfair profile recipient
Yannick Sagbo-Latte, French-born Ivorian football player of Beninese descent
Chic Wolk, US Air Force veteran and Los Angeles parking lot mogul
Brooks Wackerman, Bad Religion drummer and sugar adder
Na’il Diggs, NFL footballer and signature inscriber
Evans Clinchy, Sports Illustrated reporter and Scrabbler
Shy Ely, US basketballer and next step-taker
Angel Rangel, Spanish footballer and nervous watcher
Chava Pressburger, artist and diary editor
Reggie Ragland, US football player and Disney Channel-watcher
Levi LaVallee, US snowmobilist & resident of world’s turtle racing capital, Longville MN
Shay Shine, US college basketball and accomplished dunker
Othniel St. Ulme, US school psychologist and 3-foot high wrestling trophy owner
Grand Junior Charlie Poiri, Cook Islands sailor
Demba Ba, French/Senegalese footballer and first blood-drawer
Undrey Wash, NFL referee and ball-feeler
Chip Bumpus, CEO Bumpus Trucking
Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop, Wisconsin resident and alleged drug-possessor
Booker Woodfox, US basketballer and good 3-point shooter
Ricky Ray Rector, executed murderer and lobotomy undergoer
Paul Zingg, University president and Ooccupy movement supporter / building unlocker
Magnum Rolle, Bahamian-born NBA player and reindeer puppet-maker
Wells Tower, author and joy-looker
Mossis Madu, NFL player and lane-weaver
Jay Leshark, Phuket DJ and 3-legged walk world record attempter
Kyle Fogg, University of Arizona basketballer and 40,000 practice shot-taker
Austan Goolsbee, US economist and charity lunch attender
Bram Peper, former Rotterdam Mayor and Dutch Government Minister
Shahesta Shaitly, Guardian commissioning editor and golden envelope name-ee profiler
Quincy Acy, Baylor University basketballer and accomplished dunker
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President and free public data slurper advocate