Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

The Name Game

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The names people give their babies, as you have no doubt noticed, do not reflect kindly on our society. Yes, for thousands of years, parents have given names to their offspring that reflect not only their hopes and dreams for the child, but express the parents’ relationship to the world at the time of the birth. The Bible is chock full of examples (“And he called him Boo-yah, saying, ‘The Lord shall heckle my enemies in all my endeavors.'” – Butch 12:3). The thing is, when everyone in the world is walking around with names laden with manifestly expressed symbolism and poetry, nothing seems too weird (I don’t imagine ol’ Methuselah suffered too much playground bullying. David, yes; but such a normal name back then must have seemed queer, so that’s no surprise).

Not so in the…(checks calendar)…twenty-first century. When, for generations, our society has done just fine (hold that thought) with perfectly reasonable, dependable names such as Peter, William, Jeffrey, Mark, Mary and Margaret, et al., the sudden burst of “creativity” by countless parents jars the sensibilities. Take note, idiots: giving your child a “unique” spelling or name does nothing to set your little angel apart from the crowd; the crowd, as you might have noticed, is right there with you, even going so far as to name their daughters “unique.” The best way, history has shown, to provide your child with uniqueness is to allow him or her to learn to do so independently. Little Jayden or Aidan or Allyson will just have to do what children have always done: grow up and accomplish something. Unlike their parents, I’d wager, who are probably sipping lattes as they fill up their SUVs and changing their surnames to Joneses so they can competitively conform while pretending they don’t (it’s even scarier than you think: the automatic spell check on this post submission utility didn’t flag “Allyson” as a mistake. The apocalypse is nigh, I tell you).

Of course, ethnic or religious names are fine, provided at least one of the parents has more than a tenuous connection to the ethnicity or religious tradition in question. More power to you for naming your daughter Fatima, if in fact you or the other parent can reasonably claim allegiance or affinity for Arabic culture. However, such a name simply will not fly if the parents are Claudette and Willard P. Throckmorton IV. No, Claudette and Willard P. must adhere to a narrower list of names: Muffy, Tiffany, Constance (true story: my wife found in her college directory an actual person named Aristotle Socrates. Yes, we assume he had some Greek blood).

But if you have about as much Irish in you as did Joseph Stalin, then Morgan, Aidan and the like are off limits (Stalin, by the way, was Georgian, not Russian, and he changed his unpronounceable last-name-shvili to the Russian word for “steel”. You could do worse if you wish to cultivate a reputation for coldness).

This really should not be so difficult to comprehend, but then, I never understood the need to assert my specialness. ‘Cuz, y’know, it comes out naturally. Excuse me, I have to pee.


Written by Thag

August 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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