In a surprising turn of events, an Australian journalist’s experiment to test the boundaries of acceptable baby names has led to her newborn son being officially named “Methamphetamine Rules”. The incident has raised questions about the vetting process for baby names and has prompted the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to review its procedures.
Kirsten Drysdale, a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), hosts a programme called What The FAQ, which aims to answer viewers’ everyday questions. One question that kept cropping up was, “What can I legally call my baby?” When her enquiries to the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages went unanswered, Drysdale decided to conduct an experiment.
Heavily pregnant with her third child, Drysdale submitted an application to name her son “Methamphetamine Rules”, a nod to the Class A drug. To her astonishment, the name was approved, and she received an official birth certificate confirming the unconventional moniker.
“We thought, what is the most outrageous name we can think of that will definitely not be accepted?” Drysdale told news.com.au. “It was really just a light-hearted, curious attempt to get an answer to this question.”
The New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has since admitted to the oversight and is revising its procedures. “We will not register a name if we find it to be offensive or not in the public interest,” the Government office states on its website. But Drysdale’s experiment has exposed a gap in their system, prompting a review of their naming guidelines.
Drysdale and her husband have applied to change their son’s name, although she has not disclosed the new name they’ve chosen. “It’s a beautiful name and has nothing to do with Class A drugs,” she assured.
The registry office advises parents against choosing names that are too long or could be confused with official ranks or titles. But Drysdale’s experiment has shown that the system is not foolproof.
The incident has sparked public debate about the freedom parents should have in naming their children and the role of government agencies in regulating these choices. Some argue that the experiment highlights the need for stricter guidelines, while others see it as an infringement on personal liberties.
While Drysdale’s son won’t be stuck with the name “Methamphetamine Rules” forever, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for both parents and government agencies. It has exposed the limitations of the current system and has led to calls for a more rigorous vetting process for baby names.