Silly First Name Syndrome epidemic in Brazil

Silly First Name Syndrome has been well documented the world over as being a significant factor in crime, violence and deaths.

We have our fair share of ferals with SFNS, but check out this epidemic of SFNS in Brazil.

When he became a teenager, Wonarllevyston Garlan Marllon Branddon Bruno Paullynelly Mell Oliveira Pereira did what any self-conscious person worried about merciless taunting from his peers might do: He pleaded with his parents and the courts to let him change his name.

?I never had anything in common with Marlon Brando,? he said, referring to the American actor for whom he was partially named. So with the permission of his parents and the legal system, he whittled down his nine names to an economical four, Bruno Wonarleviston Oliveira Pereira.

?I just didn?t want to go through life with something more complicated than that,? explained Mr. Oliveira Pereira, a 19-year-old university student.

Carrying an extraordinary name is remarkably widespread in Brazil. Glance at the Facebook timelines of Brazilian friends. Strike up a conversation at a Sunday afternoon barbecue. Or merely stand in line at a notary public and listen to a pencil-pusher call out the people waiting for documents to be stamped.

You will be awed by some of the names you hear. ?

Mike Tyson Schwarzenegger Pradella. Errolflynn Paix?o. Charlingtonglaevionbeecheknavare dos Anjos Mendon?a, a 31-year-old plumber who prefers to go by Chacha, melodically pronounced Sha-sha in Portuguese.

Some scholars say the practice stems from a tendency to hold certain rich countries in higher esteem than Brazil, prompting some parents to aim for foreign-sounding names that may seem illustrious. A minor tradition of honoring American presidents has produced names like Abra?o Lynconn Sousa Santana and Francisco Lindon Johnson Menezes da Luz Junior. The other side of the ideological divide is represented, too, in a name like Mao Tse Tung Lima de Moura.

Others say it reflects centuries of immigration, conquest and slavery, a process that has mixed indigenous, African, European and Asian cultures to produce a fusion of identities. In a country with an array of musical traditions, from the melodious bossa nova to sertanejo country music, naming experts also mention the symphonious way some unusual names resonate when they are coined by expecting parents.

A name like Sherlock Holmes da Silva, pronounced SHARE-Lockee WHOLE-mees in Brazil, certainly does have a distinctive ring to it.

?You ask someone why they chose a name and they say because of the sound,? said Elaine Rabinovich, a psychologist who has explored Brazil?s naming practices. ?The people who are doing this are still not co-opted by mass culture. I think this is great.?

It’s not great…it is dangerous and should be stopped.

Some Brazilians contend that naming has fallen from previous heights. Ruy Castro, a newspaper columnist, recently noted that melodious names like Eust?quio, Pancr?cio, Hermenegilda and Hil?ria can now probably be found only on gravestones.

Others warn that naming has grown so extreme that limits are needed.

?We have reached the point where an alarm must be sounded,? said Osny Machado Neves, 73, a lawyer who worked for more than 35 years in a notary public?s office. Astounded by the names he came across, he compiled about 8,000 of them into a book.

?Sometimes parents don?t know the trauma they are inflicting on their children,? said Mr. Neves, citing first names like Colapso Card?aco (Cardiac Arrest).

Sources of inspiration vary widely. Jos? Miguel Porfirio, an accordionist in Recife, named his three children Xerox, Autenticada (Notarized) and Fotoc?pia (Photocopy), words he saw on a sign at a civil registry.

Then there is Petroswickonicovick Wandeckerkof da Silva Santos, a 12-year-old soccer prodigy who has begun training with Corinthians, one of Brazil?s leading teams. Even in a country flooded with amazing names, his 19-letter first name and 12-letter middle name have raised eyebrows.

The boy said it took him awhile to learn how to pronounce his own name. His father, Jos? Ivanildo dos Santos, a soccer coach, has been repeatedly questioned about the choice.

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