Yahoo! News reports that a Pakistani pop singer was forced by the Pakistan Supreme Court to change a girl’s name used in one of his songs. According to the article a girl with the same name, Parveen, made the complaint because “male students teased her by singing the song when she passed by.” Kinda makes you glad to be an American. Imagine if that happened with the Beatles song “Michelle,” or “Alison” by Elvis Costello. Imagine this scenario:
- Supreme Court: “Mr. McCartney. Mr. Lennon. You’ve really made it difficult for Michelle to get through her day with your song. You’ll have to change it.”
- Paul McCartney: “How about ‘Jennifer?’ Will that work?
- Supreme Court: “I’m sorry, Jennifer is a very popular name. You might ruin the day for a bunch of Jennifers. What do you guys think of Elsie? That’s not a very popular name.”
- John Lennon: “Elsie, my belle? That doesn’t work, now does it? Besides, won’t the Elsies be upset now?”
Actually, with the way people are today we are probably not too far away from this happening. I can actually see this scenario happening in today’s litigious society.
- Johnny Cochran: “Your honor. My client, Alison Blahblah, has suffered terribly at the hands of Mr. Elvis Costello. My client can no longer leave her home without friends, family, neighbors and colleagues singing Mr. Costello’s song to her. My client can no longer perform her duties at work and has had to leave her job, and has had to move into a hotel to escape the teasing of her own children. We seek damages in the sum of $3,600,001 on the grounds of mental cruelty, psychological damage and negligence.”
- Judge: “What say you, in your defense, Mr. Costello”
- Elvis Costello: “It’s a nice name, and worked nicely in the context of my song, your honor. It’s a rather nice song about a girl named Alison. I don’t see the trouble.”
- Johnny Cochran: “That, your honor, is exactly the problem. He ‘didn’t see the trouble.’ If he took the time to ask my client how this would have affected her we could have avoided this situation. But, Mr. Costello went ahead and wrote the song, and in so doing, ruined my client’s life”
- Elvis Costello: “Look. Am I supposed to stop writing songs using people’s names just because a few people might not like it? That’s ridiculous!”
- Judge: “In the matter of Alison Blahblah vs. Elvis Costello, the court finds in favor of Alison Blahblah. The court orders Mr. Costello to pay damages in the sum of $3,600,001.”