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Category: Grover

Rescuing Names from Old Stereotypes

kermit-the-frog

It doesn’t seem fair.  Why have some perfectly good names become permanently tainted by their links to a particular fictional character while others haven’t?  How come Olivia is OK despite her porcine persona, all Oscars aren’t considered grouches, and even Dexter‘s popularity seems to be rising in spite of his avocation on TV as a serial killer, while Jemima and Jethro, Elmo and Eloise remain somewhat stigmatized?  I say let’s take another look at some of these names and see if we can’t get them out of quarantine.

The first place to look is on Sesame Street.  Seems that once a name is tagged to a  fuzzy multi-colored Muppets, it becomes his exclusively.  Here are some reasons why they shouldn’t have to be:

ELMO–A lively O-ending saint’s name, Elmo is the patron saint of sailors, and the legendary St. Elmo‘s fire is a bright glow that sometimes appears on ships during thunderstorms, as well as being the name of a seminal 1980’s Brat Pack film.

GROVER–A fine upstanding Presidential and nature-ish (originally given to someone living near a grove) surname crying out to be considered for its own spunky self.

KERMIT–Enough with the ‘It isn’t easy being green’  froggy references.  Instead think of its relation to the well-liked Dermot, Kermit evolving from the Irish surname MacDermot, or son of Dermot.   And Teddy Roosevelt used it for his son

And a couple of others with kiddie references:

ELOISELong associated with the imperious little 6-year-old who ruled the Plaza Hotel, Eloise is the most likely on this list to redeem herself, what with the growing popularity of similar names like Eloisa and Elodie.

LINUS–No, using this name does not condemn your baby boy to clinging to his security blanket for life a la the Peanuts character.  Linus has considerable grown-up charm and some interesting associations: in Greek mythology he was the inventor of rhythm and melody who taught music to Hercules, and a distinguished modern namesake is Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel prizes.  And, believe it or not, cinema characters named Linus have been  played by Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Matt Damon and Harrison Ford.

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