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The Downside of Odd, Original Names

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messiah

A Tennessee judge exceeded her authority by blocking a mother’s desire to name her baby boy, “Messiah.” But it’s easy to sympathize with a general discomfort with the current mania for odd, attention-getting, non-traditional names. Led by Hollywood celebrities who have imposed monikers like—yes—“Moxie Crimefighter,” “Pilot Inspektor,” “Audio Science,” and “Blue Ivy” many new parents seem to embrace the trend for coming up with names no one has heard before.

This ignores difficulties associated with unusual names and reflects a willingness to treat kids like cherished pets or fashion accessories. It also kills the chance to connect with family history or cultural tradition by selecting a name with ties to the past. It’s safe to assume that Prince William and Princess Kate never considered “Pilot Inspektor” or “Messiah” as the name for their royal baby boy.

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  1. LAPhil  •  Aug 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I don’t see what the big deal is about naming a kid “Messiah”. Don’t a lot of Hispanic parents name their sons “Jesus”?

  2. Charles A.  •  Aug 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    LAPhil: It depends on how you define “big deal”. Do parents have the right to name their kids whatever they want? Sure! Should outsiders be able to prevent it or force a change? No! And can “odd, original” names be somewhat subjective? Yeah, maybe a little. But it’s like the famous quote about porn – “you know it when you see it”. All that said though, are parents doing their children a favor when they name them thinks like “Kal El” and the like? No. Are they ensuring their kids have to spend a lifetime explaining and spelling their names? Absolutely! Is that a “kind and loving” thing for a parent to do? Probably not. Will their kids eventually resent it? Often – see the “Telula Does The Hula” case. When asked “Why”, some of these parents might reply, “Why not?”. In my experience, “because we can” is often the worst possible reason to do something. Just my take. 🙂

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