Blandine and Lionel Defontaine, a married couple from Busigny in northern France, are no different from countless others who have been swept up by the very lucrative vampire craze of the last few years. The Defontaines are big fans of the TV show The Vampire Diaries, which revolves around a love triangle involving two supernatural brothers, one benevolent, the other, not so much. The bad brother, played by Ian Somerhalder, is named Damon, who the Defontaines named their month-old son after, adding an "e" to produce the French version. And now the couple faces a December 15 court date, after French authorities accused them of not acting in the best interests of their child.
This ridiculous situation has come about thanks to article 57 of the French Civil Code, which states that "when a name, or a combination of names, is considered contrary to the interests of the child, the civic officer shall promptly notify the prosecutor, who may refer the matter to the Family Court." The New Jersey couple that lost custody of all four of their kids, including little "Adolph Hitler" and "JoyceLynn Aryan Nation," may have been another situation, but this case seems like a no-brainer. The classical Greek term "daemon" didn't even have evil connotations until Christianity got ahold of it.
Mrs. Defontaine thinks the whole thing is silly too. She said:
"Okay, there are some wacky names, but this one is in American. There are girls who are called Satan and it does not pose a problem. You know, I carried this child for nine months and he was called Daemon. He's already more than three weeks old and he's not yet sure of his name. I can assure you he does not have any horns, or a tail!"
The self-fulfilling-prophecy angle doesn't wash; perhaps if baby Daemon had been spotted with a pitchfork rattle and a black cape, there would be a more solid case. It's possible the French authorities harbor an extreme distaste for The Vampire Diaries, but I highly doubt it. If only the Defontaines had been oceanography fans, and named their boy "Jacques" or "Calypso," everything would have been hunky-dory. Let's hope sanity prevails on December 15.