The Name Game: Creativity in Naming Children Gone Awry

Small town white populations are overtaking urban black communities’ long-running dominance in creating ridiculous names–and spellings–for their children

In grade school spelling tests, it used to be that even the most underdeveloped children were sure to get at least one answer right: their name.  Now that the new wave of millennium babies have risen to the ranks of schoolchildren, their mothers and fathers have placed that trusted notion in serious jeopardy.

Photo of a moran

Even this guy thinks some parents are "morans" for giving their children odd names.

Parents, in a blatant self-aggrandizing fury, have radicalized the way Americans name their offspring.  They seem to have deserted tradition altogether, scoffing at tried-and-true names found in centuries of literary richness and even Biblical reference, and are opting to hatch titles for their little ones that are better fit for science fiction or strip club nomenclature.

Growing up, many of us might remember the old joke about how people in China name their babies by throwing a fork down the stairs and using the phonetic clanging sounds to string a name together (e.g., Ching Chang Chong, etc).  Maybe a funny thing to laugh off as you wait in line for school lunch in 4th grade, but I assume that it still rattles the funny bones of the same parents who “creatively” name the unripened fruit of their loins.  Little do they know, the joke’s on them.

In their blog-turned-book, “Freakonomics,” Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner describe a California study that explores the impact of babies’ names on their eventual socioeconomic status when they grow up. In a nutshell, they first purport that children with decidedly black names (i.e., Roshanda, DeShawn, et al) are less likely to fare well in life compared to people with more common names because it is an indicator of their  parents’ socioeconomic background, whether its accurate or not (link to excerpt). They go on to talk about how a kid’s name also reflects the expectations set about by their parents, which are derived from mom and dad’s educational/socioeconomic status.

OK, so what is the point of all of this? Small town white people across the country are pushing the envelope of creative license in naming their children by using unprecedented, ridiculous combinations of letters to claim ultimate superiority in “moranic” behavior.

In an attempt to illustrate this phenomenon, we conducted a bit of online research and found several trends leading us to classify these literal “misnomers” into two categories: alternate spellings of common names, or Typos, and names derived from the combining of two or more names (or concocted from a randon assortment of letters altogether) which we will call Mashups.

While the approach may differ, the motives behind the act are unmistakable: parents really ARE out to ruin their children.

*Also note that names used in the following paragraphs are actual names of children; very, very unfortunate children.

Typos
These types of names range from a simple substitution of one letter to a complete phonetic makeover, all in a fleeting attempt to make one’s child–and self–feel special. Perhaps the most textbook method of bestowing a lifetime of poor grammar and language skills upon a baby is swapping out the letter “C” with a “K.” The most famous offenders of this rule would be Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, though this is a rather tame comparison next to some of the gems unearthed by many parents in their war against literacy.

Another popular letter switch is replacing vowels used for common spellings with a different vowel. Many choose to venture further down the path of alphabet abuse and utilize a letter that is “sometimes” a vowel–the “Y”– and have triggered a grassroots campaign for full vowel-hood to be bestowed upon the 25th letter.

We found the following nuggets of comic misspelling (note that laughs should be–and are–directed toward the parents, not the defenseless infant…at least until the kid turns 10):

Kourage: Bravery is multiplied exponentially when you use a “K” to underscore your child’s valor.  This one was actually a girl too. She’s going to need a lot of “kourage” in correcting future schoolteachers with her incorrect spelling of her name; however, I’m willing to bet her favorite candy bar (or is it kandy bar?) will be a Kit Kat.

Kloey: Not Chloe, like Joey, but different. This could also qualify as a Mashup between Klaus and Joey. In either case, any nuanced quirkiness implied by her name was lost when mom and dad thought it would be kewl to be different.

Jaxxsyn: “Jackson’s” parent(s) have obviously been taking a little too much inspiration away from gentlemen’s clubs or adult film, dooming their daughter toward a destiny to inspire future generations of porno purveyors. Again, this one was a girl. But wait, there’s more…

– Maddyssynn: Really? I thought “Jaxxsyn” was bad enough, but I’m sure she will have a new BFF in Maddyssynn. I also wonder what it would be like to go see a concert at world-famous Maddyssynn Square Garden. Probably almost as enjoyable as watching some guys named Mykk Jaggyr and Keath Rychyrdz play Rockband 3.

and my favorite…

– AlyxZandyr: Yes, folks. Marvel long and hard. At least we know this–he will never be mistaken for “the Great.”


Mashups

A DJ has the ability to splice beats, rhythms and riffs from different songs into a fresh mix of music that nicely complements a night of banter among friends. When taking this approach to baby-naming, the results are quite the opposite.

– Bryken: Maybe a Mashup for Bryce and Kendra, or maybe Bryan and Kenny’s baby girl, we do not know. What we do know is that when pronounced out loud, it eerily resembles the cacophony of mommy’s morning sickness as she projectile vomits into the cold, porcelain toilet bowl. “Bbbrrryyyyy…kkkeeeaaghghahnn.” To be sure that the baby fully appreciates the burden her mother bore for nine long months, Bryken will be reminded of merry ol’ mum’s miserable pregnancy for the rest of her life.

– Cornicole: Cornelius and Nicole were high school sweethearts and consummated their love for each other with a teen pregnancy. Baby girl is born, the parents show their love for each other by naming baby girl after both of them and become a happy family. Six months later, poor Cornicole’s parents fall out of love, mess around, go on the Maury Povich show and find out that Cornelius is NOT the father. “Corn,” as her friends will call her in her teen years, ends up meeting a Latino heart-throb named Julio at a party, gets knocked up, and names baby boy Cornjulio. Probably a true story.

–Treysen: Unclear if this was a boy or girl, but I’d bet mama’s name might be Tricia (or Trysha) and daddy is Jason (more likely Jaycyn) and they came to an unequivocal compromise–to honor themselves in their toddler while giving him/her an air of unique dignity by inventing a new name. A strange one at that.

Brand Names, Particularly Alcoholic Beverages
Americans’ brand loyalty is unsurpassed by no other nation on Earth. Are you a Coke or Pepsi person? Ford or Chevy? Many of our self-identities are tempered by the white-hot flame of mass consumerism and, not surprisingly, this dedication is reflected in the way Americans name their children. Naturally, parents honor the inspiration achieved during the child’s conception by bequeathing the very name of the spirit they credit for the subsequent birth of their baby. Here’s proof:

– Skyy

– Hennessey

– Champagne

and my favorite:

– Young Boozer


In a country that values individuality above all else, this psychosocial phenomenon is now taking root in the way we name our kids.  But what is really happening? Having a child with unique name, or a bizarre twist on the spelling of a classic, does not make your kid special.  It makes you–the parent–look bad.  Very bad.

As a married man of more than a decade and a grand total of zero children in my household, I will laugh a little more heartily each time I see a “Jaivery,” “Kaydence,” “Asspyn,” “Decklyn,” or one of my all-time favorites: “Getman.”

So please, parents, keep it coming. Continue to pass over “Charles,” “Thomas,” “Catherine,” “Susan,” and be creative. Use more consonants, less vowels; more “X”s and “Y”s, and less “A”s and “I”s. The world can use a laugh.

********

Read the ever-growing list of Stupid Kid Names here >>

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4 thoughts on “The Name Game: Creativity in Naming Children Gone Awry

  1. Reading this delightful recap of wrongness in modern american society reminded me of my long lost school buddies, Miller (after the beer, of course), Summer and April…poor souls.
    Anyways, on a more pro-active note, I would like to suggest a solution to this: Last weekend Betsy and I took Abita (great name for dog, not so good for your child, even though, unlike Miller, it is a good beer) to a cemetery that a neighborhood watch had converted to a place-of-last-resting-dog-park-on-the-side venue! That in and of itself should warrant a paragraph or two on your part, but my real point is that Betsy started looking at the tombstones for “inspiration” for naming our un-born…and as of yet un-conceived child! While extremely morbid and freaky, maybe this is just what the doctor ordered in the case of middle of the road America to stop bastardizing the English language….If it’s not on a tombstone at your local cemetery, it shouldn´t be registered.

    • You mean to tell me there is a dog park that used to be a cemetery?!?! You’ve got to tell me where that is — I’m definitely interested in doing some “investigative reporting.”

  2. One day 1 walked down the street and i heared a woman say to her kid fuck you you made me cry right yes but… the next day i seen her in town now this little boy is a very nice little boy and he allwayg got shouted at now any1 know who is the little boy…

    HE’S MY COUZEN
    Now this woman god knows who it was but this woman he was scared of. bye

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