Friday, May 6, 2011

What's In a Name?

I don't know about you, but when I see a reality TV star humiliating herself (or himself) on national TV my first thought, particularly during my pregnancies, was not to pat myself on the stomach and think, "What a wonderful baby name! That's exactly what we should call you... You see, your oldest sister is named after her great great grandmother and great grandmother, and your second sister is named after two great aunt's who happened to share the name of a great Scottish queen-saint and her middle name is her Godmother's and then there's you... We named you after a girl who cursed like a sailor and couldn't keep her shirt on when the cameras were rolling!"

It kind of gives me pause to read articles like this...

I've been trying not to lament what this says about our culture too terribly much... I mean, look at the things so many people are able to turn a blind eye too (abortion comes to mind)... but this just strikes me as... bizarre:
...And this year, the trends are being driven by reality television.

"America's No. 1 baby name stylemaker this year is not Angelina Jolie, not Barack Obama," Wattenberg said. "It's Maci Bookout."

Bookout is a teen mother from Chatanooga, Tenn. who was featured on MTV's "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." In 2010, Maci was the fastest-rising girl's name in America. Her son's name, Bentley, was the fastest-rising boy's name...

...While reality-TV names often show up on the fast-risers list (Khloe, like the reality show star Khloe Kardashian, has been on the rising star list for three years, Wattenberg said), they also litter the falling-star list each year.
"The data suggests that this really is a 15 minutes of fame," Wattenberg said. "The longer trends that you see at the top of the chart require a more broad-based popularity...."

Read the entire article here.
It kind of gives me new appreciation for the Catholic Tradition of naming kids after saints...

Let's not forget the Pope's words on names:
"Every baptised child acquires the character of the son of God, beginning with their Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit causes man to be born anew in the womb of the Church." He added that a name was an "indelible seal" that set children off on a lifelong "journey of religious faith"."
Even if your not religious, a name is still the start of a lifelong journey... and I'm not sure I'd want to start off my lifelong journey with the dubious honor of being named after someone who frequently did "embarrassing" things on national television...


  1. We named our daughter, (born in 2010) Lilliana Isabella Marie and call her Isabella, which is after St Queen Isabella of Portugal.
    I just heard yesterday on the news that the most popular girls name in 2010 was Isabella. I am thankful that it is the name of a saint, but kinda bummed that Isabella will have a lot of peers with the same name.

  2. That is such a beautiful name Julie! I love the name Isabella too, and I keep hoping it gets a little less popular. It is on our list of favorite names though!

  3. I'll play devil's advocate for a minute and say that I don't think that people are naming their children after teenage mothers but rather they see the name and think "ah, that's a cool name." But honestly I don't know if that's the case. I just try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    Personally, I hate made up names. Names that seem to come from no where. Names that I have to ask the parent how to pronounce because they are so unusual. I also don't like names that spelling variations of a common name. Like Izayah (Isaiah). Why?

    I'm also not big into common names. Both my husband and my brother have saints names but they are very very common so it was annoying to go to school and have to use your last initial to be identified. There are plenty of saints names that don't remotely make it to the top 100.

    I've heard that because of technology that we're going to be using the same top 100 names for a while. I can't remember why but I think it has to do with people being able to find out what's common. I also have read that the vast majority of children aren't being named from very common names. It's a small percentage that are using the top 100 names. Most parents are trying to find names that are different or uncommon. Or if they use a common name it's the child's middle name.

    But that's me. Everyone has a list somewhere. I'm not going to look at mine until we know the sex otherwise I'll drive myself crazy scrutinizing over names. I'm a little hypersensitive to names because it's something that they have to live with for a long long time. And I can't imagine an adult filling out an employment form with the name Izayah. But that's me.

  4. Isabel was on my list before I married... but our kids are all getting Arabic or Gaelic names so that cut that out lol.

    I agree though... naming a child after someone should be an honour... If I know someone who's not so great (to be nice lol) then it almost ruins the name for me. Beyond that though... I am confused I suppose. I like traditional and unique names... typically at the same time lol. Meaning has to be nice/good. Saints names are a plus.

    We got lucky with Kalila. Family name (her g-g-grandfather was Kalil), male version is very traditional but female is pretty rare, beautiful meaning & I love it. A St. Khalil was canonized soon after she was born too lol. Haven't been able to find anything on him since the thing came out in the bulletin though :-(

    Zavier is pretty easy too. St. Francis Xavier is special to me... and Zavier was originally an Arabic name, but almost unheard of in it now.

    Our future names are a bit harder. Boy is Keiran which there is a saint... but too close to my nieces name and will start issues lol. Meaning isn't so great either. He's insistent though. Sultana is a family name on my side and ok meaning, but try to find a saint :-/

  5. I think that is a good point Deltaflute! I'd probably be disappointed to see a girl with my favorite name on the Jersey Shore, because I'd be hesitant then about using it... although I guess the association would probably fade by the time they were old enough for it to matter (I hope at least!).

    I know I read somewhere that our next favorite girl name, "Mary," had fallen off of some list for the first time in decades. I've never lived anywhere where saint names were super common.. we always had lots of "Jennifers" and "Heathers..."

  6. We've been choosing natural names paired with saintly middle names. If this one is a girl, we're planning on Yarrow Paraskeva, if a boy: Ash Ilya, or Ash Iosef.

    I've always been a little horrified by the naming of kids after fictional characters, I'm not exactly sure why.

  7. I think it depends on which fictional characters you name your children after. It's pretty hard to go wrong naming one's daughters after characters in a Jane Austen novel (ok, perhaps with the notable exception of "Fanny").


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