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Opening Arguments

What's in a name?

It's not just the rich and famous who are saddling their kids with dumb names:

Apple, Suri and Shiloh may be household names because their parents are stars, but a new study of millions of babies finds it's not just celebrities who seek out distinctive names for their kids.

Regular folks do, too, driving down the percentages of those who pick popular names.

[. . .]

People today are more interested in standing out rather than fitting in, she says: "Being unique is now popular."

In 1955, 32% of boys had one of the year's 10 most popular names, but by 2007, just 9% had names on that list. For girls, 22% had a top-10 name in 1955 vs. 8% in 2007, the study found.

Sure, go ahead and stand out instead of fitting in, but aren't their better ways of doing than giving poor Apple or Luke Skywalker miserable childhoods? I confess to disliking my name "Leonard" (uncommon but not unusual) as a child, which is probably why I didn't resist when a few classmates in high school started calling me Leo. And I envied my brother and sister, with the more peer-friendly monikers Larry and Judy. I also had some relatives with interesting names -- my uncles Denver and Riley come to mind. My father was Rader, and, no, I don't have a clue where the name or the spelling came from. It'd fit right in today, probably. Maybe he was a Jedi Rader.


Thu, 05/21/2009 - 11:15pm

Leo is better than Lennie, so you did fine by your name. Rader works better than Radar, but then again your folks probably didn't hail from Ottumwa, IA. Your dad wasn't with the 4077 MASH in Korea, was he?