Sunday, May 20, 2018
Opinion

Why are we naming our babies after ugly ties?

Ah, baby names. Every year we think, "Well, it can't get worse than that horrible Edward/Jacob/Bella Twilight situation a year or so back," and then it does.

I think we've given up altogether on limiting our children to names that would pass the Supreme Court Justice test (that is, it sounds all right in the sentence "Justice [Name] [Lastname] ruled today in the case of Noun vs. Noun"). The only test this year's names pass is "[Name] [Lastname] was declared victor in the Hunger Games." Khaleesi? Addis? Aieden? Check, check and check.

Khaleesi, a made-up term from Game of Thrones, is now charting massively, to the tune of 146 baby girls in 2012. It is not, however, the worst name.

That honor goes to Paisley. There are 2,903 baby girl Paisleys wandering around. Paisley! This is like naming your child Terrible Tie Pattern or Ugly Scarf. Why would you wish this on your baby girl?

Also, "Londyn." Londyn. Why, I ask you? What's wrong with Paris? Or, if you must, Parys? I'd prefer Khaleesi.

In other news, no one can spell "Zachary." Instead, we have Zaccary (5), Zachory (5), Zachry (5), Zackry (5), and Zacorey (5). Also, there are 183 Elvises (Elvii?). Talk about staying power.

Katniss makes an appearance (12), and Bella still charts big (4,311).

This is no surprise: Every generation's baby names are the refuse of terrible literature. It is a tradition of long standing.

Consider: Gone With the Wind came out in 1936 as a book and 1939 as a movie. In 1936, Scarlett didn't chart. There were Rhettas but no Rhetts. By 1937 there were 7 little Scarletts. By 1940, a year after the movie, there were 59 Scarletts and 27 Rhetts. And both of those still make the chart.

Maybe it's not so bad. This is one of the major incentives to write fiction: to take up residency in the minds of others, to make your story a part of their stories, to run into crops of little Anakins at recess or drive the name Joffrey to extinction, all through the power of your storytelling.

At least the namers are displaying some taste. Baby Anastasias stayed relatively stable in the years following the publication of 50 Shades of Grey, and the number of Baby Christians actually went DOWN from 2011 to 2012.

And, in better news, this is the first year Adolph did not chart! I had assumed that it went extinct in 1950-something. Amazingly, this was not the case. Although its popularity has waned steadily, it remained on the chart in substantial numbers until the past decade, during which it still clung on with at least five or six unfortunates bearing the moniker each year. (In 2008, there were seven!) This year, while Adolphus made it, there is no Adolph to be seen. Well done, people of 2012! You are welcome to as many Khaleesi's as you'd like. — Washington Post

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