The poor Simpson-Wentzes caught a lot of flak last week for their baby name choices–not only for first name Bronx, but for Disneyesque middle name Mowgli as well, to the point where Pete Wentz felt called upon to defend the choice on the people.com website. In a story headlined PETE WENTZ: WHY WE NAMED OUR SON MOWGLI, his explanation was “The Jungle Book was something me and Ashlee bonded over. It’s a cool name.” Well, whether or not we agree, we shouldn’t dismiss the whole genre of Disney names–there are a few treasures buried in that vault.
In the beginning, the Disney folks were big on silly, often alliterative names for their cartoon creatures–Horace Horsefeather, Clarabelle Cow, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck. When they moved on to feature films in the 1930s, they began to draw on already created and named characters from fairy tales and children’s books, from Snow White to Peter Pan. Curiously enough, the one early character name that caught on with parents was Bambi–a male deer in the movie that became a popular namesake for girl babies.
The real winners, though, have been the Princess names from more recent Disney films–The Little Mermaid’s Ariel reached #66 two years after its release date and Jasmine from Aladdin has been as high as #23. Other Disney heroine names like Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Violet (The Incredibles) have also been boosted by their Disney connection. Here are some other good Disneyfied options:
AURORA Sleeping Beauty
BIANCA The Rescuers
BRIAR ROSE Sleeping Beauty
CELIA Monsters, Inc
ESMERALDA The Hunchback of Notre Dame
CLAUDE The Hunchback of Notre Dame
PHOEBUS The Hunchback of Notre Dame
REX Monsters, Inc
With the economy tanking and the presidential campaign getting nastier, what’s a forward-looking, optimistic baby namer, who wants to project a warm, welcoming, positive sense of the world to her innocent little newbie, to do?
First, and most obvious, stay away from bugaboo names like Fannie and Mae and Freddie and Mac and Morgan and Stanley. And definitely don’t take the Palin path–avoid names like Tank, Trip, Dip, Slip, Slump, Slide, Smash and Crash. Instead, look on the sunny side, and here are a few ways of doing that.
PICK A NAME WITH A HAPPY MEANING. There are lots of choices that mean or connote happiness, hope, friendliness and good luck. These include, for girle, Amy, Beatrice, Bliss, Blythe, Bonnie, Edwina, Farah, Felicity, Gioia, Hilary, Joy, Leticia, Merry, Nadia and Sunshine, and for boys, Asher, Auden, Bellamy, Darwin, Felix and Rafiq.
PICK A NURSERY RHYME NAME. The innocence of bygone childhood could be re recaptured by returning to a simpler Mother Goosey name. For girls: Dolly, Jenny, Jill, Lucy, Margery, Mary, Molly, Polly, Rosie; for boys, Georgie, Jack, Peter, Robin, Simon, Tommy, Willie.
PICK A NAME FROM THE LAND OF DISNEY. If, indeed, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, what better domain to pick a happy-ending name from? Among the many to choose from– Female: Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Bianca, Briar Rose, Cleo, Esmeralda, Fiona, Flora, Jasmine, Lilo, Nala; Male: Buzz, Eric, Gideon, Gus, Hercules, Jafar, Mickey, Sebastian, Timon, Toulouse.
PICK A VIRTUOUS NAME. Despite all obstacles, you want your child to be truthful, loyal, kind, honest and prudent. You can telegraph that positive message from the get-go by choosing a name such as Amity, Charity, Grace, Honor, Hope, Faith, Justice, Mercy, Patience, Prudence, Serenity, True, or Verity.
PICK A SERENE WORD NAME. Macho basketball superstar Allen Iverson recently named his fifth child Dream, one of the calm and comforting word names starting to come into favor. Dream was hardly heard outside the comic book world until rappers Sole and Ginuine used it for their daughter in 2002. Their other daughter’s name, Story (also used by Jenna Elfman), has a similarly calming, storybooks feel, also shared by such word and nature names as Fable, Haven and Prairie.