If you were to go solely by the tabloids, you might think that every celebrity’s baby boy was given the name of a New York borough or a Disney character or was his parents’ quirky Scrabble-letter invention.
There is a very healthy segment of show biz parents who are creating a major backlash to this trend–either that or they just like conservative, classic names. Instead of screaming ‘Hey-look-at-me!’ (and my mama), these names provide a sort of protective coating against that kind of often mocking attention, a layer of dignity and tradition.
Evidence? Here, just looking at boys born since the Millenium, are some of the timeless classics, in their complete, traditional forms, that have been recent celebrity choices–not that they always succeeded in making their bearers paparazzi-proof. (And, by the way, I’d be interested to know if you think the preference for this kind of name relates to the celeb’s own personal or public image.)
DAVID — Mo’Nique, J. K. Rowling
FREDERICK — Mayim Bialik
In addition–though it’s not quite the same thing–there are the nickname versions, like Kate Winslet’s Joe and Charlie Sheen’s Bob, and the not-so-timeless semi-classics like Rainn Wilson’s Walter. And of course, there are the female equivalents–Amanda Peet’s Frances, Kelly Martin’s Margaret–but that’s for another time.
The economic downturn has affected just about every aspect of American life, and that even extends to baby naming. We’ve noticed–and I don’t think it’s just among our enlightened readers–a definite change in attitude, away from trendiness and towards more solid, serious, traditional names. In other words, frivolousness is out, and substance is in.
With the President stressing the importance of our kids getting to college, many parents start to wonder–consciously or not–whether Caroline might just have some slight advantage in the acceptance process over Coco when her application to MIT is being considered, and if Charles might be considered a more serious prospect than Karrsen.
And it’s not just the timeless classics like James and Elizabeth which have never gone out of style that I’m talking about, but rather names that until lately were judged to be too solemn and serious and unbabyish and dated for consideration: dusty in-law — or grandparent –names like Murray and Marian. The baby namers of the recent past, who were calling their kids Ashley and Brittany, Madison and Montana, and on to Jayden and Caden, would probably have laughed or turned up their noses at most of the names below, seeing them as way too adult, starchy and uncool. But the times they are a-changing and the tide is turning, and these names have, in addition to a solid past, a foreseeable place on the kindergarten cubbies of the future.