She’s among the most controversial baby names in all of Hollywood, and has been since her name was revealed, eight years ago today.
With a happy birthday to little Miss Apple Blythe Allison Martin, our Baby Name of the Day is Apple.
I’m deeply appreciative of wacky celeb baby names. They expand the boundaries of what we mere mortals can name our children. Apple is top of the heap, the one name always listed in round-ups of daffy starbaby appellations, right after Dweezil and Moon Unit.
And here’s the kicker: I’m not convinced she’s all that out there. As her mom, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, said in an Oprah interview: “there are people named Lily or Ivy or June, or you know, lots of pretty nouns.” And right she is. Nature names have always been with us, and they’ve exploded in recent years.
Could it be Apple’s status as forbidden fruit that made it so jaw-dropping? Perhaps. But there’s lots to Apple. Into the 1600s, the world apple was interchangeable with the word fruit, and plenty of other edibles are described as a kind of apple. In French, pommes de terre are potatoes – apples of the earth. A banana was once known as an apple of paradise.
Back to the question of Adam and Eve … it isn’t certain that the forbidden fruit would have been an apple.
Never mind, though, because apples featured in stories and myth long before the Garden of Eden. There’s the Apple of Discord, pitched by a jealous goddess at a newlywed pair. When Paris gifted Aphrodite with an apple, he raised the ire of Hera and Athena – and set off the events that led to the Trojan War. The Twelve Labors of Hercules included an excursion to retrieve golden apples. Snow White was poisoned with an apple, and I’m not sure what to make of the whole William Tell tale.
None of this is inspiring, but some uses are. The fair and swift Atalanta was finally won over by the slightly-less-fleet Hippomenes, mostly thanks to a trio of apples. In Norse mythology, golden apples kept the gods forever young. New York City is the Big Apple, a Roaring 20s-era nickname by touring musicians and others who called any city an apple. Steve Jobs changed our lives with Apple. There’s the apple of my eye, apples for the teacher, and an apple a day keeps the doctor a way. Apples are lovely, sweet, thoughtful, pure, healthy.
This seems to be what Gwyneth Paltrow and rocker husband Chris Martin, frontman of Coldplay, were thinking about in 2004. They’ve also said in interviews that Coldplay’s manager already had a daughter called Apple.
Some edible names are finding favor in recent years – like Olive and Clementine. There were two dozen girls called Apple 2010. Something tells me that Apple’s notoriety is the only thing holding her back from being considered by more parents, the same ones embracing Autumn and Lily and Skye.