Monday, March 09, 2009

Baby Names: Will the Economy mean a return to normal names?


Top Boys Names, 2008
1. Aidan 2. Jayden
3. Jacob 4. Michael 5. Ethan 6. Caden 7. James 8. Caleb 9. Andrew 10. Matthew
11. Ryan 12. Joshua 13. Avery 14. Grayson 15. Riley 16. Jordan 17. Peyton 18. Christopher 19. Daniel 20. William 21. John 22. Alexander 23. Dylan 24. Logan 25. Nicholas 26. Zachary 27. Anthony 28. Aaron 29. Hayden 30. Cameron
31. Bailey 32. David 33. Brooklyn 34. Elijah 35. Taylor 36. Connor 37. Brayden 38. Noah 39. Tyler 40. Joseph 41. Micah 42. Robert 43. Benjamin 44. Jackson 45. Kendall 46. Jack 47. Gavin 48. Luke 49. Tristan 50. Brandon

Top Girls Names, 2008
1. Isabella 2. Ava 3. Emily 4. Elizabeth 5. Abigail 6. Madison 7. Emma 8. Addison
9. Madeline 10. Olivia 11. Chloe 12. Hannah 13. Sarah 14. Sophia 15. Avery 16. Riley 17. Jessica 18. Hailey 19. Ashley 20. Samantha 21. Makayla 22. Arianna 23. Mia 24. Mackenzie 25. Nicole 26. Dylan 27. Logan 28. Aaliyah 29. Zoe 30. Alyssa 31. Ella
32. Rachel 33. Brianna 34. Kaylee 35. Hayden 36. Michelle 37. Lauren 38. Jennifer
39. Leah 40. Bailey 41. Brooklyn 42. Allison 43. Isabel 44. Teagan 45. Alexis
46. Taylor 47. Amanda 48. Layla 49. Rebecca 50. Megan
These names clearly aren't endemic to the Hood, nor would you hear even the Spanish equivalent of many of them spoken in some communities. They aren't African or Arabic or Anglofications of Hindu names containing 30 vowels. Suffice to say that many of these names are the province of 20 to 30-thirtysomething (or even 40) year old white yuppies (and rednecks, Sarah Palin types). Where they go, we in other ethnic groups often follow, especially when we congratulate ourselves over our education, careers and choice of neighborhoods. There are more "Taylors," "Averys" and "Chloes" and "Connors" in the Duluth, Ga. Chapter of Jack and Jill than in College Park, Ga., no doubt. Subconsciously we use many of these names as self-indulgence of sorts: names which evoke or convey a weird melange of quasi-class, pseudo-hip, hollow whimsy and historically-challenged vintage tastes. In other words, perfect for a bubble economy, a bubble world. Self-importance, self-righteousness, as positive character traits? Yep, that was America, pre-2008.
Note some golden oldies. Though I'm sure many of the "James" and "Williams" are named for daddies and grandaddies. My name's a perrenial fav. (Talk about self-importance/self-righteousness. I didn't say I was perfect or without sin, folks!) And isn't it reassuring to meet a little girl named "Jennifer" or "Jessica?" Of course, 75 years ago you hardly met a baby with that name, but there were plenty of "Mildreds." Where are the Faiths and Hopes? Watch out for 09, I say. Interestingly, it seems white people are subject to the same phonetic lock (see all those "Ay-den" names), as us folks with our (sound it out) "Kwa-on" or "Shay-kwan" or "Nee-kwa" fetishes. Indeed, I've even seen white kids sporting inappropriate apostrophes and accents in their names...and the kids were the scions of the white upper class, not from Ted Nugent double-wide world/Wassila Alaska, or first generation Romanian immigrants. E.g. "T'rel" (sounds Vulcan or Klingon!) or "Britneé." Must be an L.A. or Orange County thing? Nevertheless, it is nice to hear girls' names inspired from the women of the Bible: "Leah," "Rachel," "Rebecca." Sarah's in that phony quasi-classy category, sorry...
As evidenced by the utter derangement of the Right Wing/many whitesfolks, unequalled since their forebearers declared war on the American flag following the inauguration of another fella from Illinois in 1861, it appears we're too fragmented and crazy to get it together and grunt, sweat, bleed to fix this nation. I'm praying one indication of progress will be the rise of old fashioned baby names...old fashioned as in eschewing the rank bastardization of ethnic names, or hip-/vanity monikers or emulation of insane celebrities. Maybe we'll even see children amed after real heroes rather than HEROES on NBC. We saw that during the Depression and WWII. I'm Hope-ful. LOL I'm also Christopher, which, standing the test of both decades and coolness, has got to be the best damn boy name out there, good times or bad...

27 comments:

KRStyle said...

Yes, "Kristopher" is one of the coolest names out there! :)

Lisa said...

Was it possible to offend so many people across all groups with one blog post! I'm just joking for my son is a CHRISTOPHER. Yay! On the real tip--I don't think the economy will matter. It seems to be as you said driving people to entrench themselves on their old bad habits and attitudes rather than being better people. I think we'll see whack names for some time. It is likely one thing you can be proud of and be original.

MiamiBob said...

I am a white male (have to be specific on this blog, I suppose). My girlfriend's boss has four kids named: Bayne, Quillon, Griffon, and D'Artagnan. So no, some of the names heard "in the hood" sound pretty normal compared to these.
My niece is named "Edna" which is really "old school."

I went to high school in Columbus Ohio with a black dude named Carloze which was supposed to be "Carlos." We played football and he said he really wished his parents would have named him Carl or Carlos (Spanish spelling). He wanted to be a sportscaster after he played ball in college and he wanted people to take him seriously. I guess he is the type of black guy you would favor? He named his first kid "Charles" by the way. His wife's name is "Kimikisha." I'm not lying. I guess opposites attract.

Randi523 said...

Yay-my name, ALLISON, made the list!

I think it's going to be interestingly funny when the "Knowshons","Taquons", "Romeishas", and "Latrikas" become grandparents. Sometimes I really wonder what were some of these parents thinking?!

Anonymous said...

I understand people wanting to give their children unique names, but I think part of the reason this spate of "unique" names came about was simply Boomer and Gen X arrogance. I wish someone would just name their child Jane or John or Harry or something instead of Kimikisha. It's as if some of these people are not considering the deleterious effects these names will have on their children's employment potential. My rule of thumb is name a child something they would not be embarrassed to have on a resume.

Pebbles Flinstone said...

Umm, dude -- what's up with that picture? Bizarre! I am happy to say that everyone in my family has nice normal name. I like old names too. But parents should be mindful -- a crazy name could haunt a kid for life.

Anonymous said...

SoCal 82 Tiger Says:

Professor: The day WE choose names for our children like were choosing names for a pet is the day we're all doomed...

But WTF we already do name our kids like we're naming a pet...

Oh how I weep for the future!

Christopher Chambers said...

SoCal:

I didn't want to go as far as to use the term "Narcissism" for this. I know that sounds weird but I didn't want to seem too facile (even tho I'm just bein' a satirist). I have no doubt the celebrity baby names involve narcissism; it was the more "normal" ones in 08--the Ethans and Aidens and Emmas--that I wanted to examine. They are all over the place, and again, I felt there had to be a reason for the over-use. Satirically, I pointed to the bubble economy and rank me-ism. Being hip.

Concomittantly you have a bit of narcissism on the weird ethnic name level as well. If you don't understand Arabic or African (and African could mean over 300 dialects and tongues) meanings, then stick to Allison or Christopher or Joe. The phonetic spellings are killing me. That people still do this invites the old racist stereotype that poverty and ignorance aren't conditions, but attitudes, cultures.
Plenty's been written on that.

@Pebbles

I love that photo. The baby looks s like Tom Thumb...

Knute Rife said...

My daughter Sarah says, "Stick it, Christopher."

Hathor said...

I'm with anonymous 8:48.

BTW my son is Christopher.

Keith Andrew Perry said...

Well thankfully my daughter TAYLOR made the list, I guess I was ahead of the curve in 1992 when I named her. I am shocked that the powerful name of KEITH is not on the list. I guess it was a '60s thing like authentically liberal politics and the Beatles.

Anonymous said...

Well at least the English variation of my son's names made the list. They have meaning: Christopher :Bearer of Christ and John - Gift of God. We opted for their slavic variations


Joseph
(Yeah, my name is there too.)

Christopher Chambers said...

Knute,

I'm standing firm like the 300 Spartans on "Sarah." Of course any name (within reason) parents bestow is a gift (like the way I'm backing out?). $100 says "Sarah" is in the top five names in Utah...

But okay smart guy, why isn't your name "Canute?" A Hoya prof told me this a.m. that this is the "correct" spelling.

PS stop by Henneman's blog. He's now gone will bore wingnut. Even Kopel raises an eyebrow. But it all appears so reasonable hahaha

@Keith:
"Taylor's" in there, but like "Sarah" I'm hearing it shouted at the supermarket too much. I think I could lead a pretty decent sized invasion force with warrior princesses named only Taylor and Sarah. lol

kdubyaj said...

Chris, I'm with Knute's daughter, Sarah-- stick it! But that's only because my name is Kanisha. When I was much younger, I wished I had a more mainstream name, but as I got older, I grew to appreciate my moniker. I have never been embarrassed to have it on a resume, I have never had a problem getting employment and the top reaction that I get when I tell someone my name is "what a pretty name!" The second is usually a sad attempt to spell it. I've had people of Indian and Sri Lanka descent take delight in my name as I've found that Kanisha is a derivative of an elephant god-- I have many restaurants named after me. I can leave messages for most people with just a first name and they know exactly who I am. I fancy myself to be one who brings a little dignity to the name and may change someone's prejudices once they meet me. I've never used a nickname, never tried to smokescreen by using initials only to get in the door. If someone throws my resume in the the trash because of my name, it's their loss. I was born in the 70's and my godmother named me-- my parents were college graduates, my dad was a young army officer at the time, and they just thought the name was pretty and rather unique, so they went with it. Now, I'm one of the first to joke that when people see my name their initial reaction is to never give me a credit card, but that hasn't happened either. Kanisha is my name and I wear it with pride. I have come across many an ignorant person with a "mainstream" name, so I make no judgements until I experience you for myself.
Really, people need to get over themselves. BTW, neither of my son's names-- Robert and Julian-- made the list either. We're just a gaggle of undesirables, I suppose.

kdubyaj said...

I was wrong- Robert did make the list--I skimmed the list too quickly. Apologies abound!

Christopher Chambers said...

I think your unique personality was formed in childhood due to your name...PSYKE
Robert and Julian. OK I can get with that. Definitely Robert. LOL

Knute Rife said...

Shows how much Georgetown profs know. "Canute" is a total anglicization. As for the popularity of "Sarah" in Utah, they aren't terribly Biblical here. They make up some of the most gods awful names, though.

Well John Boy always had it in him. Do you remember the day Kopel got his gun religion?

Christopher Chambers said...

Well, this prof is a true Anglophile Brit-whore (as is Henneman). His son's name is "Brock" and his daughter's is "McClean." He and his wife are Southerners, by the way. Southerners are notorious for names like that; Tennessee Williams, Faulkner and Nell Harper Lee didn't make that stuff up.

Kopel's metamorphosis was no shock to me. It's petty silly looking back on it now.

You should tell your friends and neighbors that people outside of Utah watch "Big Love" on HBO and think the whole state's like that.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Chambers, you never dissapoint!

Anonymous said...

My twobabies' names are in the top list, yay!

tchaka owen said...

No matter how you cut it, Tchaka never makes it on any of the lists, 40+ years and running....

postpostracial said...

I am so glad that my experience trying to come up with two baby names is a decade in the past. This is not an easy process--just to get the two main folks involved to agree, let alone the fact that *everybody* has an opinion. So I say let people name their kids whatever they want. Hopefully kids will have at least a first and a middle name so they will have somewhat of a choice.

Personally, I have nothing against "unique" names. In one of my kids' classrooms, out of about 12 girls, there are 3 Emilys and 2 Sophias!

tgrno1 said...

We recommend when your 100% satisfied with your sterling silver charms, have them attached to your bracelet then soldered by a professional jeweler.
If a local jeweler isn't available in your area, please contact us for assistance in returning your jewelry to us for soldering by our staff of professional
jewelers.

netdating online
white gold bracelet charms

chili said...

The antioxidants present in also rid the body of toxin causing cancer. Many people believe that the positive effects of coffee far outweigh some of its health risks.

website video production
lexington real estate search

price per head said...

Hello, Such a wonderful blog i ever read. Please keep posting good blogs. Thank you very much...

Anonymous said...

You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really
something that I feel I'd never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very large for me. I am having a look forward in your next publish, I'll attempt to get
the dangle of it!

Here is my web blog; workouts to improve vertical jump

Anonymous said...

I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don't know who you are but certainly you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!


Feel free to visit my blog post - PW50 Intermec