Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dear Gadabout Jack: The Name Game

Dear Gadabout Jack,

I'm trying to make sense of the 21st century "Parent" and their rationale on the names they are bestowing onto their children. My wife and I are pregnant with our second child (a girl) and we're discussing names for the baby. It would appear popular names for boys such as Michael, David, or Christopher has now been replaced with Cameron, Parker, Carter, Cody and Chase. Friends of ours named their first born boy Forrest. Forrest? Another friend named her oldest son, River. River?

I think parents need to feel "Trendy" and in turn give names for their children that are "unique" and different from the status quo. Now, it is none of my business why parents name their children what they do, perhaps it’s a family name or a distant relative name or there might not be any reason at all!

Maybe I'm just off base and confused, and need to get with the 21st. century, but the good old fashion names like Mark, Jim and Scott bode well with me over the Logans, Cassidys, and Fullers.

Confused Dad and name Hunter

Dear Name Hunter: Gadabout has a position on this matter and been waiting patiently for someone to bring this topic up for a long time now. You are correct, names have been going through change over our lifetime and on the surface this trend may seem troublesome and confusing. Names like Hunter, Scout, and River have taken off in popularity and are “shaking up” traditional standards.

Name selection, and the changes noted over time must be taken in the context that measuring time is difficult since humans live for relatively short periods of time. Changes in children’s popular names can be compared to changes in global temperature shifts. Global Warming, with all its charm, occurs very slowly over thousands and millions of years. The big question is whether the temperature shift is moving towards or away from a mean or norm. Riddle me that, Batman, and you’ll solve one of our greatest mysteries!

For anyone to expect or demand that Mother Earth remain constant is foolhardy. It is simply scientifically improbable. Change is the inevitability of existence. And existence is a process structure. A River, for example, remains a river from one instance to another, but from one glance to the next it has changed. The water in front one’s eyes has been replaced by upward flows, the sands and sediments have tumbled and the aquatic life forms multiply, flourish and die. In this sense, all patterns in life resemble process structures, and name selection is no different.

Children will most likely always be given names but those names will always change. [As a side note, Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” offers a chilling outlook for possible future outcomes and is a must read for those engaging in thoughtful reflection on societal dynamics.] Let’s face it, once popular names like Ethel and Jeremiah have gone by the wayside. Can you imagine naming your daughter Ethel? It would enslave her to a life of humiliation and disgrace. Times change, my soon-to-be dad. And don’t think that female name selections are stable either.

Have you ever heard about a hot looking chick living in California who goes by the name, Paris? Remember the movie To Kill a Mockingbird? In that film Gregory Peck played the roll of “Atticus Finch” and his daughter’s name was “Scout.” Atticus and Scout! The film claimed three Oscars. My advice is to look to the movies for answers. Movies are fun. Movies bind us together as a nation and makes America GREAT!

Good Luck…GJ


Anonymous said...

As long as 75% of the population can pronounce your child's name without difficulty, you have saved him/her years of ego-deflating taunts & teasing....What a dad!!!

Gadabout Jack said...


Alusna said...

When I lived in Portugal, first names had to come from an approved state list, leaning heavily towards Catholic approved name, no birth certificate. That's why you'll never meet a Portuguese named "Dweezil" or "Tanisha." Maybe the U.S. needs a similar list? :)

Gadabout Jack said...

Let's leave "lists" to the socialists and commies! Hey, we are an open society. Movies. It's all about the Movies!

Alusna said...

Schindler's List? :)

Gadabout Jack said...

I never watched the movie! Excellent Checkmate, though.