Free-Floating Hostility

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Do Alien Babies Even Have Placentas?

Well, it's born. I mean, she is, little Suri Cruise. In fact, it's front page news on CNN. Which I think means that as we speak the happy parents are chowing down on placenta. Now we should be able to clear space for the not-getting-vaccinated story.

There was an article on the cover of the Times Style section this weekend about celebrity babies with unusual names. As you know, I have an abiding interest in names and naming trends. I don't find Suri particularly objectionable, especially in comparison to names like "Audio Science." I kind of figure Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee was named when her parents started flipping at random through a German-English dictionary. It may be a sign of my failing mind that I can almost sympathize with wanting to name your daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. At least Moxie sounds like a name, and who doesn't want their kid to grow up tough?

I object, however, to the author's characterizing rare traditional names as part of the same phenomenon. I applaud all the parents out there who put enough thought into their children's names to open a book or, gee I dunno, look at a family tree. I object especially vigorously to trendy names. Does everyone have to have exactly the same idea at exactly the same time? And does that idea always have to be something like Madison? What's the point of naming your child at all if they're going to be unidentifiable anyway? Worse yet, by the time they're in college their names will date them. I'm sure Melvin and Dorcas were once edgy and chic.

On a final note, it has not been proven to my satisfaction that exotic names are exclusively or even primarily a feature of celebrity. I grew up with a pair of sisters named Lyric and Sonata (and very pretty names they were in my opinion). There were more waspily weird names at my high school than you can shake a chafing-dish at, including girls named Tenley (who was a friend), Perrine, Keaton, Nathania, Guini--you know what, I'd better not start.

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