Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The dumbest article I've read in awhile

It appeared in the Huffington Post. The title was

Women's Names Ruined By Songs: 23 Names Changed By Music

The thrust of the piece was that due to songs that mentioned girls with these names, any girl with one of these names will be scorned and ridiculed. And furthermore, the article suggests that having the wrong name will scar you for life and make it much harder to achieve success and happiness.

So what are the names that will send poor women to their doom?

Amy, Stephanie, Caroline, Candy, Amanda, Kim, Roxanne, Sharona, Diana, Virginia, Jolene, Macarena, Delilah, Debra, Eleanore, Lola, Mandy, Molly, Konstantine, Stacy, Cecilia, Jamie, Iesha, Jenny, Shameka, Kesha, Tara, Shonda, Sabrina, Crystal, Deronda, Felicia, Tanesha, Sha'von, Yolanda, Monique, Christina, and Teresa.

If you’re counting, that’s 38 names not 23. But hey, they only missed by 15.

Yes, I can understand how it might be a liability if you’re a girl named Hitler, or Pussy, or Chlamydia. But Amy? Kim? Jenny? There must be 5,000,000 Jennys alone.

And when you think of Caroline, don’t you think of “Sweet Caroline”, the Neil Diamond song? Sure, Yankee fans hate it, but for most of us Caroline has a positive connotation. If you’re Amanda you’re really screwed because you can’t even use the nickname Mandy. And if you have a daughter you want to name Teresa after a dear departed loved one, you’re going to opt for something else because of a Petey Pablo song?

When writing scripts we’re always looking for names. We try to match the name with the character. If it’s a Jewish girl we’re not going to name her Mary Margaret. If it’s an Italian mother from the old country we’re not going to name her Suzette. And we need to match the name with the time period. Not many Chloes during the Roman Empire. Not many cheerleaders named Persephone in high school today.  Fortunately, there are hundreds of beautiful girl names -- many on that list. 

If parents are not naming children after relatives or themselves, a good portion name kids after celebrities they admire or characters in movies and TV. Wendy is a name made up by J.M. Barrie in his 1904 play PETER PAN. In the early ‘70s the single most popular name was Jennifer, based in part on the character Ali McGraw played in the smash movie (at the time) LOVE STORY (it's unwatchable today). The most popular girl’s name in 2012? Sophia. I’m sure many were influenced by SofĂ­a Vergara from MODERN FAMILY even though she spells it differently. Sofia – spelled the way she does is number 19. Number 25 is Brooklyn. Now that has to be for model Brooklyn Decker. Who named their kid Brooklyn ten years ago? Horrifying is to think of number 49. It’s Khloe and that can be for only person I know. Imagine going through life named after a Kardashian?

Personally, I think the article is ridiculous. Amy Adams has done okay. Kim Cattrall's career didn’t suffer. I don’t think Caroline Kennedy’s life would be any better were she named Sofia. Lord knows Amanda Peet has muddled through somehow. So has Jamie Gertz. And Crystal Bernard.

So if you’re one of the 38 girls who has the 23 names that will ruin your life, I wouldn’t sweat it. And hey, you could always change your name. To those unfortunate babies named Khloe – you might want to consider something else when you get older, a name that won’t cause you ridicule and shame. How about Lewinsky?

62 comments:

Carol said...

I used to hate it (and still do) when people sang 'Sweet Caroline' at me, but not because of the song so much as the fact they were getting my name wrong. My name is derivitive of Caroline but it isn't Caroline.

I wonder how many new parents nowadays even KNOW the song My Sharona.

Barry Traylor said...

My granddaughter is in 1st grade and I am constantly amazed at some of the spellings of the childrens names of her classmates. Don't their parents realize they are dooming their child to a lifetime of having spell their name for people?
BTW, one of her friends is named Presley becaue her mom is an Elvis fan.

Scooter Schechtman said...

Sounds like a "Good Morning America" make-work piece. The culture's changed, as we know, and we're not connected by radio songs anymore. There were many women named Melissa after the Allman Bros. song. Now the Allmans are a byte on someone's Iphone. I'm waiting for your rant on various sci-fi names like Kaylee, Shanna and Leela (threw a ringer in there, but what difference does it make, I can't tell those Pokemons apart anyway).

Donna said...

Growing up, I had all my parents singing "Oh Donna" from Richie Valens. Didn't help that when I was a senior in HS, La Bamba came out and then all of my friends started singing it. I really HATE that song. Every once in a while, someone will sing it to me and I give them the evil eye when they do

Larry said...

But sometimes naming children after fictional characters can get out of hand. I was once in a movie theater and a teenage mom was yelling at her two children. She said, "Cory! Topanga! Quiet down!"

I'm as big a fan of Ben Savage as anyone, but there are limits.

gottacook said...

Perhaps the Caroline song the author was thinking of was the Beach Boys' "Caroline, No."

brian t said...

Meanwhile, across the Pond, I wonder how many girls aged 25-7 are named Kayleigh? The Marillion song was a massive hit back in 1985 and catapulted Kayleigh up the baby name charts ever since.

Mac said...

My daughter Hitler Pussy Chlamydia is not happy with today's post.

Scooter Schechtman said...

Kayleigh? We don't have no booklarnin here,Lord Brian. Kaylee is how our Cuoco chick spells it and you can't argue with our yankee dollars or our big boobs.

slgc said...

On the subject of names, how did you come up with the name Lilith? I know the Biblical mythology behind the name (Adam's first wife, pre-Eve), but what made you decide to use that name for a character?

Daniel said...

I think some of the Brooklyns may be named after the terrible musical.

My name is Daniel, and I've discovered that almost all of the songs with my name in them are lousy. "Danny Boy" and "Danny's Song" are cheese. "Daniel" by Elton John was a pretty terrific song when it was first recorded, but it's so overplayed that it's gotten painful to listen to.

Fortunately, there's "Daniel and the Sacred Harp."

Don't get me wrong. The article is still really dumb. But I'm sick of hearing "Danny Boy" every time I introduce myself to someone.

Ray Barrington said...

Didn't Caroline Rhea use "Sweet Caroline" as the theme song on her talk show?

Roger Owen Green said...

My friend Norman hates the song Norman. But Michelle Obama was OK with Paul McCartney singing Michelle to her.

Amy said...

When I was growing up, I used to have creepy old men singing 'Once in Love with Amy' to me. I've never heard that song except in that context, and all those men are dead now. I don't think I was emotionally scarred from my name at all. I doubt anyone else was either.

Though, when naming my child, we made a 'beat up on the playground' list. I think Ulysses is in much more trouble than I am.

Jennifer said...

I'm definitely scarred for life by the name Jenny, but only because pretty much everything that moves has the same name.

Mike McCann said...

I guess time has moved too far forward: there seen to be no issues with The Four Seasons' songtitles "Sherry" and "Ronnie." I don't think "Marlena" was ever a contender.

CRL said...

Donna Summer and Bruce Sudano named their daughter Brooklyn in 1981.


John said...

Tommy Tutone caused way more problems for anybody with the phone number 867-5309 than he and his band did for girls named Jenny.

JonCow said...

How about middle names? A family I went to school with named their kids after celebrities. Joe DiMaggio Tackley was in my grade. He had an older sister named Joan Crawford Tackley, an older brother named Leonard Bernstein Tackley, and a younger brother, Perry Como Tackley.

olucy said...

How tackley is THAT?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

...and recall the Friends episode when Joey the actor asked Chandler for help selecting a more attractive show-biz name thinking he'd win more auditions. Chandler suggested "Joseph" to make Joey seem more mature. Then mischievous Chandler suggested a last name that Joey never heard of but thought sounded pretty good.

At the next audition, Joey proudly identified himself with his new moniker, "Joseph Stalin."

benson said...

For some of the older baseball fans, I went to high school with a Deefondy James. (sort of namesake of 50's Cubs first baseman Dee Fondy)

I guess it might also depend on when the song becomes popular. My son played hockey with with a girl named Delilah ("Hey there, Delilah", not the Tom Jones song) and it was right around the time the song was popular, so she took a bit of a ribbing and hated it.

Eric J said...

Numbered lists like this on HuffPo and other sites are the word equivalent of stock photos and deserve the same attention.

Wolfram Alpha is a great place to research a name to determine its popularity, ethnicity, etc. They even show a graph plotting estimated number of Khloe's by year. It was nonexistent, then spiked in 2010. Estimated age of Khloe's is 5.

cadavra said...

When my then-assistant gave birth to her son Max, I suggested his middle name be Bialystock. Inexplicably, she rejected this.

lucidkim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I'm amazed at the amount of Sofias out there, these days, not only in America, but pretty much everywhere.

Hell, one of my nieces is named Sofia (born in 2009).

Anonymous said...

They make up stories and call that "news."

Huff News SUX my Sharona.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky said...

My name is Becky. There happens to be a rather unfortunate song by some guy who Google tells me is named Piles that uses "Becky" as slang for oral sex. Despite the fact that it's a terrible song and I'm pretty sure it's not that popular, it's not uncommon for people to sing "gimme that Becky!" at me. It's way worse than back when people would quote the opening to "Baby Got Back."

Alan C said...

I am so glad we named our kids Daniel, Amanda, and Brian. Though the last is sometimes misspelled "Brain." And Amanda does not seem scarred by her name, although at her wedding the father of the groom tried to get one of the brothers to sing a Waylon Jennings song called "Amanda." Fortunately he did not succeed.

LouOCNY said...

Well - as a Louie, I think I pretty much have the 'bad songs for life' thing pretty wrapped up - not only the immortal 'Louie Louie', but I happened to be lucky enough to be in the beginnings of adolescent angst when the Stories' hit, "Brother Louie" was a FM staple.

Must be why I eventually started letting myself be known as 'Lou'....

In case one has forgotten: http://youtu.be/k-5Y5PX2qHQ

benson said...

Speaking of Hitler Pussy, from last week's Slate

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/01/17/hitler_the_cat_star_of_the_1939_world_s_fair.html

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Ken, Ken, Ken, do yourself and your blood pressure a favor and don't read HuffPo. Should you need more incentive: remember that the site prides itself on not paying writers. (What's worse? Giving people hits who don't pay writers, or giving writers hits who write this sort of drivel?)

wg

RCP said...

They remember Lola but not Layla?

I'm sure the exposure on HuffPo counts for something, Wendy M. Grossman, but never paying its writers is just one (though a big one) of the reasons HuffPo has lost its luster. Articles like this one and an invasion of nasty commenters are among others.

McAlvie said...

I'm with Carol ... most new moms and dads today won't connect Sharona with a song, and for sure the kids their kid hangs with won't. Same goes for Cecilia, Lola and Jolene. And if its appropriate to reach back in time for names to add to the list, there's a whole bunch more. You'd have to forego Layla, Donna and Michelle, just off the top of my head.

Janice said...

I still cringe when I'm reminded that Pamela Anderson named her boys Dylan and Brandon.

RhondaGC said...

I'm named Rhonda and fortunately (?) there's only one song out there with my name in it. It involves "help" and people sing it to me all the time upon meeting me. It used to annoy me, but I've finally got over it and now use "Help Me, Rhonda" as my ringtone.

John Farine said...

Names. Very interesting subject. For those of you interested, I suggest the book Freakonomics which has a very informative chapter on the subject. Also, CBC's "The Current" also had an item on baby names recently...
http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/01/22/naming-a-baby-rituals-rights-regulations/

John Farine said...

And how about the poor "Tammys" from the Debbie Reynolds' 1960s movies?

YEKIMI said...

Same can be said about guys names. "Michael (Row The Boat Ashore" by The Highwaymen (and also the first record my mother ever bought for me)was a popular song when I was a wee lad but even at that age it got tiring when people started singing it AT me. After a while, even a my young age, just giving them a "you're a fucking idiot" look discouraged them from ever doing it again.

Paul Duca said...

George M. Cohan wrote about Mary a century ago, and plenty of them have succeeded.

Robin Raven said...

My name was cleared from the list, so I guess I should be proud of "Fly, Robin, Fly" and "Rockin' Robin"...

Jeffrey Mark said...

Brian Wilson wrote a song called MARCELLA. I haven't a clue who she is/was. Great song, never became a hit - should have. I think The Beach Boys have performed it on their latest tour with Brian singing lead on it. Not too many girls named Marcella. Almost none. Anyone out there with this name?

Ref said...

So I shouldn't have named my daughter Wildfire?

Jim Pettinger said...

I was having a conversation with a lady named Miri once and asked, if by chance, her parents had been Star Trek fans. She was quite amused and allowed as how, thankfully, it had been a number of years since anyone had gotten that.

Phillip B said...

The process can work the other way, evidence the number of women named Rhiannon in the late seventies. One can only hope they get annual birthday cards from Stevie Nicks.

Also thanks to Eric J for the tip on Wolfram Alpha - http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=women+named+rhiannon

Julie Kistler said...

"Julie Julie Julie Do You Love Me" scarred my junior high years. The thing about blue and brown eyes and "My name is Julie -- Lisa left you years ago" scarred my high school years. And yet Julie doesn't make the list. So we therefore know the list is stupid.

Carrie said...

16 years ago a friend named her daughter Brooklyn and my first thought was "you named your daughter after a bridge?".
Jeffrey Mark I have another friend who named her daughter Marcella. :)

Fred said...

Whew..a lot anguish out there. I suffered through elementary with "Sittin' in the back seat - kissin' and a huggin' with Fred" only to be impaled again with "Do the Freddy".

Cap'n Bob said...

Rough times ahead for my daughter Stephanie and her daughter Sofia, I reckon. But I survived "Bobby's Girl," and "Wait 'til My Bobby Gets Home," so anything's possible.

You want a bad name, a big mama on a recent Judge Judy was named Latrina.

Unknown said...

The older generation used to sing "K K K Katy" to me when I introduced myself as a child. Now those WWI/roaring 20s folks are gone, and I miss them...

slummingitforthelord said...

Jeffrey Mark.... Regarding Marcella, according to wikipedia "The tune was named for a woman who was working as Brian Wilson's masseuse at the time."

Storm said...

I've gone by Storm for nearly 30 years now, and until fairly recently, whenever I'd introduce myself people seemed to feel the need to sing "Stormy Weatherrrrrr!" at me, with a great big "Aren't I Clever?" grin on their face, like they were the first ones to ever think of it. And sometimes, I'd get a chorus of "Stormy" by the Classics IV, which at least gave the annoyance a bit of variety. I love both those songs, but damn.

I know a girl named Medina... boy, did she HATE LIFE when Tone-Loc's "Funky Cold Medina" was popular, and AFAIK, people STILL sing it at her. So I count my blessings; I'll take getting Lena Horne warbled at me over that mess ANY day.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Janet T said...

well you just haven't lived until you spend your high school years with guys singing
"Dammit Janet, I love you
Here's a ring to prove that I'm no joker"

Steph said...

As a chick named Stephanie, I now understand why everything has went so wrong.

Jeffro said...

This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry's dating a girl and didn't bother to remember her name, bu knew it rhymed with a very private part of the female anatomy.

"Mulva"!

Need I say more?

Dude of The House said...

In response to you asking who named their kid Brooklyn 10 years ago: lots of people. Because David Beckham named his kid Brooklyn in 1999. I think it's a horrible name, unless you are a pissed off member of the O'Malley family.

Lorimartian said...

Enjoyed the post and comments. "Love Story" was unwatchable when it first came out. I hated it. Ali McGraw's performance was just awful.

Judith said...

I have to admit, I have a bit of a complex over, "It's Judy's Turn to Cry."

Judith

VP81955 said...

Melissa Joan Hart was named because her parents loved the Allman Brothers song "Sweet Melissa."

And let's not forget Frank Sinatra's '40s standard, "Nancy (With The Laughing Face)," in honor of his daughter (and co-written by, of all people, Phil Silvers!). The first girl I had a crush on was named Nancy, in the early '70s. Had I only known the song then...

Tom Galloway said...

I recall reading an article a number of years ago that claimed if you wanted to avoid giving your kid a name that every other kid on the playground would also have, you should read a newspaper's weekly soap opera summary and not use any name found in it.

I've wondered for a while if "Madison" was solely inspired by its use in Splash.

My own rant on naming a kid includes:
1) Give the kid one "normal" name and one somewhat unusual name so they have options when they're of an age to decide which they prefer to go by.

2) Give some thought to the name's playground friendliness, including initials. While any name can be made fun of, some names/initials are just asking for it.

3) If naming the kid after a parent or someone else who is around a lot, be sure to give the kid a usable middle name, in case they don't like being called the diminutive of the given name (i.e. my full name is Thomas Young Galloway, Jr. I hated "Tommy", but Young was unusable [my grandmother's maiden name], but since Dad already claimed "Tom", I couldn't switch until he died. I am willing to cut my parentals slack on including both "Young" and "Junior" in my name, since they couldn't know in advance I'd always be the youngest kid in my class.)

Candy Miss said...

@JonCow, I think I know that family and I don't think they told you the truth about their middle names. More like Perry James T., Joan Ardela T., I don't know my uncle Joe or, Uncle Len's middle name but I'd bet that wasn't it. lol.