Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

I woke up this morning and scrambled groggy-eyed to my laptop so that I could check in and see how my dear ones' early-early-early morning C-section had gone over in Eastern Standard Time.  And how happy I was to meet the little girl who's the newest favorite baby on my ever-growing list of favorite babies.  (Welcome, Josephine!  We're so happy you're here.)

Happier, then, was I to see that she'll go into the world bearing such a classic and original name.  (Not that I ever doubted you, Hearns).  But there are just so many, erghh, ugly ones out there right now.  Missteps.  Sweet naive young parents who think they're coming up with the world's most original name when in fact every small child you meet in a stroller on the street is bearing some variation of that name.  (Kaden?  Jaden?  Really?)  

Witness: Madison.  Or Madeleine.  The latter especially is an exceptionally lovely name that would've been so original a decade or so ago, but has since been overtaken by misguidedly "creative" alternative spellings and will soon be the "Jennifer" of the post-millennial generation.

And I swear: if I meet one more "Ava" here in SF - and have to pretend I haven't met 64 before her, all wearing the same infant onesies - I'll gag.  What a beautiful name.  What a creative idea.  Ten years ago.  And now: mainstream hell.  Just like "Emma."  Which, according to the SSA baby name list (conveniently released today), rides atop the list of names for 2008.  I'm sorry, but that name hit its cultural apex when Ross and Rachel on "Friends" named their spawn Emma.  In 2002.  At that point, saturation.  No mas.  That's it.  You really wanna name your kid after some washed-up sitcom seven years past its prime?

Read the list.  Pray that yer kid's name isn't on it.  The boys' names tend to be more unchanging; lots of old-school Biblical names and whatnot, interesting when you look at the sociology of baby names, which has long shown that boys' names tend to be more classic and girls', more trendy.  Note that "Isabella" is #2.  Nod your head and recall all the babies you've met in the last year whose well-meaning parents thought they were being super-creative by naming their tots "Isabella" and calling her "Bella."  Be glad you didn't.

And be glad the wide-eyed babies in your life* are called sweet things like "Zoe" and "Henry" and "Mia" and - the newest! - "Josephine."**

* This is also an excellent excuse for me to post a gratuitous photo of my adorable and impeccably-named goddaughter, Rachel D.  Don't you just wanna squish those cheeks?

** Love it, Team Hearn.  Congrats.


Mariah said…
Oh I laughed out loud at this one Rach, especially after working with all those Lincoln Park families - I know my own handful of Emmas and Bellas! :)

And now every name is ruined in my book, because I affine the name to some child who bit me or hit me or told me to f off. So my someday children shall be nameless. Shoot.
mruhlman said…
its a tough one. its best when you have someone to name a new little person after so you arent just picking at random and there is some grounded reason, as it can be tough to hit the curve just right. zoe is fast rising up that list and is aparently especially popular with lesbian unitarian couples. at least at our church.
Meliss said…
Try being a teacher and finding a baby name. My profession makes it impossible to pick a name, but also educates me on the name trends of the time. Parents like to change the spelling of the name to "change up" the trendy name, which results in massive mispronunciation on the first day of school. Watch out for Diamond and Destinee.

I'm with Mariah, I may have children some day with no name.

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