O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

A Rant: Child Abuse via Nomenclature

So it’s a typical day in Holland Township, a lovely community along the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. It’s quiet, serene, and bustling with busy families preparing for Christmas. Then a young white supremacist couple walks into a Shop-Rite Supermarket in New Jersey.

Like most white supremacist moms and dads might do in a similar situation (I’m guessing), Heath and Deborah Campbell went to the bakery and ordered a birthday cake. It was for their sweet little 3 year-old son, the oldest of their three kids. All they wanted was a cake that said “Happy Birthday” and had their little boy’s name on it. But the mean, nasty bakery people refused to honor their request. In fact, they flat-out refused to sell the Campbells a cake at all.

Why? you ask. For one simple reason: The Campbell’s birthday-having son is named Adolf. Adolf Hitler Campbell. That’s right: They named their little boy Adolf Hitler. They wanted the cake to say “Happy Birthday, Adolf Hitler!”

The Shop-Rite bakery balked. “We believe the request…to ascribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate,” said a Shop-Rite spokesperson in possibly the most understated sentence ever. Instead the Shop-Rite bakery offered to leave room on the cake after “Happy Birthday” so the Campbells could fill in the blank space with little Adolf’s name.

The Campbell’s refused the suggestion and left in a huff. “Shop-Rite can’t even make a cake for a 3 year-old,” the mom, Deborah Campbell, told the local newspaper. “That’s sad.”

You know what’s also sad, Mrs. Campbell? Let me count the ways:

1. Naming your oldest child after the first person everyone thinks of when the phrases “evil dictator” or “murderous monster” or “spawn of Satan” come to mind. (I’m assuming “Adolf Hitler Campbell” isn’t a family name that has been passed down from generation to generation. Which seems a fairly reasonable assumption.)

2. Giving your other kids equally offensive names, like Joycelynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, which are the names of Adolf’s two little sisters. (The first one because you might as well name the child Racist Fathead Campbell, and the second one because that’s just an ugly name for a little girl. Even sticking with a Teutonic theme, Helga would have been a better choice.)

3. The lack of compromise. Surely Mom and Dad Hatemonger could understand the reluctance of normal people to embrace their child’s name. And surely Shop-Rite could find a way not to punish an innocent little boy just because his parents are thoughtless idiots. Why not a cake that said Happy Birthday, Big A! Or Happy Birthday, Tiger! Even Happy Birthday, Adolf! wouldn’t have been too objectionable. Who puts a full name on a cake anyway? I have never received a cake, for instance, that said Happy Birthday, Jason Thomas Aloysius Pol Pot Boyett!

4. The lack of compassion and foresight. Even if I were a raging white supremacist, I probably would think twice about naming my child Adolf Hitler, simply because school is hard and kids can be cruel. Just like you don’t live out your childhood failures through your child’s ability to hit a baseball, you don’t name your child after your personal convictions. This is why there are very few children named Democrats Rule Jackson, or Abortions AreSin Delillo or Shoplocal Artisans McDougal. You just don’t do that. Until he learns it’s best to identify himself as A.H. Campbell, this kid’s gonna have a long, hard life.

5. The reason this is in the newspaper is because the parents complained. Shop-Rite wouldn’t have wanted the attention, so obviously the parents contacted the media about the incident. They wanted their kids to end up in the paper. They wanted little Adolf to get media attention. Any parent who wants their 3 year-old to get attention from the local media — regardless of the kid’s name — is disturbed on multiple levels. Even if you drop bigotry from the mix.

6. If cake refusal is such a big call-the-media deal, then there’s a really easy way to solve it: Bake. Your. Own. Freaking. Cake.


I am sure your parents love you, Adolf. But I’m sorry they’re such nitwits.

[Thanks, Matt, for the tip-off.]

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