Articles · Opinions

Can we not call names stupid?

Two days ago Gene Weingarten wrote this article for the Washington Post.  He discusses the growing popularity of fandom names like Anakin and Khaleesi, unusual spellings of common names, and the famous backwards name Nevaeh.  And of course, there’s a mention of the naming laws that many other countries have.

It’s an interesting article, and I see his point, but I dislike the semantics.  Calling a name “stupid” is like calling the person with that name stupid.  Children have no control over what their parents name them.

Anyway, Anakin and Khaleesi aren’t even that bad.  They’re nerdy, and they have meaning to a lot of people.  My only beef really with Khaleesi is that it’s supposed to be a Dothraki title, not name.  Her actual name is DaenerysKhaleesi seems like more of a cat name, honestly.

I’ve never personally liked Nevaeh.  It sounds pretty, but it’s backwards for “Heaven,” and I’ve never quite figured out if that makes it mean “Hell.”  But a lot of people don’t think that, and to them it does mean “Heaven.”  There’s nothing “stupid” about liking a name for its meaning.  Though Mr. Weingarten’s not wrong about other backwards-spelled names popping up too, sarcastic as he is…ever heard of “Semaj?”

I will tend to advise against many alternative spellings.  There are so many names out there that there’s no reason to spell a name differently simply to make it more “unique.”  They might look different on paper, but Jayceon and Jason will most likely hear the same name when called on the playground.  However, depending on the person, Emma may sound like Emmer and Emmalee like Emily.  I suspect that phonetic spelling is the cause for many alternate renderings of popular names.

Finally, the naming laws…the 1st Amendment makes it so that the U.S. has some of the least restrictive naming laws in the world.  May I just say, God Bless America?

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