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May 9th, 2013 07:17 AM #41Junior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
Second, although I personally would rather choose a name that wasn't strongly tied to one famous person, whether an author, historical figure, celebrity or literary character, if I read you correctly you're basically saying that it's only ok to choose names that don't have a very strong association with any character or person unless that person or character is extremely important to you. I don't agree with that. As others have said, once you start categorizing reasons behind the choice of name as ok or 'too pretentious' or 'too' anything else, well, it's akin to saying that only certain reasons for choosing a name are acceptable or beyond reproach, and that's problematic. I think many people see the names they choose as a reflection of their taste and social status, but there's no rule that says the names you choose have to have some deep personal meaning for you. Sometimes it's the aesthetics and practical considerations that make people choose one name among many they like, and if there is an association with an admired literary character, author or historical figure then they consider that a bonus.
I understand what you're talking about, truly - I think some people are trying so hard to be different or counter-culture or retro or literary-sounding that they possibly lose sight of whether or not they really like a name based on its own merits. A name like Salinger would strike me as a bit silly, I admit. But at this point, names like Beckett, Harper and Atticus are out there in circulation, and the literary associations may or may not be among the top reasons why a particular parent decides to use one of them.
May 9th, 2013 09:56 AM #43Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
If they choose it because the love the name, then that's ok. I do think some choose the names just because they are pretentious.
May 9th, 2013 10:11 AM #45Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
- SD, CA
It seems to me that the parents naming the child after an author or a character in a book are not being pretentious. The parents genuinely love the name and probably feel an attachment to the character or to the author. I have a much bigger problem with the judgmental attitude other people here have towards these parents and these names. Trying to pick apart the reasoning behind the choice of the name and then insulting and judging the parents' choice feels a lot more snobbish to me than a parent naming a child Harper or Holden.Mama to
Desmond Sanders, born 7/2013
and dog son, Lambeau
May 9th, 2013 10:54 AM #47
Salinger with such an obvious tie and little history of use as a first name, then it's reasonable to think that they have deliberately chosen that name to signal to all that they love Salinger and have read everything by Salinger. Especially as I believe it's important for parents to consider how easy the name will be for their child to live with (& it would be harder to be a Keats than a John). That's why very obviously literary names seem pretentious to me. With that said, I definitely don't think pretentiousness is the worst thing in the world! I would agree that it is better than choosing a name solely because it is pretty. Names should certainly have good meanings behind them, so if someone can only do that through something obviously literary, then that's better than just another little Isabella. I think maybe what people are disagreeing on here is whether being pretentious is such a bad thing!
Last edited by caroline147; May 9th, 2013 at 10:56 AM.
Annora Juliet, Elspeth, Verity, Zelda, Josephine, Marianne, Rosemary Constance
Edmund Henry, Josiah, Gilbert, August, Wesley, Clifford, Hugh Theodore
May 9th, 2013 01:07 PM #49
I simply don't find it at all pretentious, unless the parents care more about their image than their child, in which case they have bigger problems. Naming a child DRIECTLY after the person you WANT to name them after isn't pretentious by itself, as can be seen by the favorable reactions to others' use of family names, nature names, and names with generally good meanings. The argument seems to be that using literature or culture specifically as your source/reason is pretentious.
And I can see it in this sense: You have likely never met this person, this author, and there is no way you have met their characters. You are choosing a name based on something that is inherently indirect, and could easily be wrongly perceived. Because you don't know this author, you don't really know who you are naming your child after. You are naturally ill-informed. The assumption made is that you DO know what you're doing when you name your child, because you know this author through their books and you admire their characters who don't exist. But you don't. It's a fact more than an opinion; you may feel like you know them, but it simply isn't the case.
What's pretentious is saying 'yes, I named my child after someone reputable and wonderful' when most writers are quite the opposite. This is what would bother me.
But using a name because you love it, and you love what it says about your family, and you love where it came from, is not pretentious. That's normal.
Last edited by celianne; May 9th, 2013 at 01:07 PM. Reason: forgot wordI’m just trying to behave as I think a friend should behave. Granted, I haven’t had much practice.
~Elphaba Thropp, Wicked, by Gregory Maguire