Arts and Entertainment

The Baby Naming Conundrum

Focus Sentence: Parents have been tasked with providing their progeny a name that will endure with them for the rest of their life, yet many fail to understand the significance of this.

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“You know this is a human child and not an EP right.” —Twitter user

Ushering a new life into the world carries with it the innate responsibilities that will determine the child’s future, one of the crucial tasks being to determine the baby’s name. In light of the various rights and justice campaigns that have been put in motion recently—such as the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements—people today care more about self-view and individualism than ever before.

As many of today’s parents are millennials who currently harbor that individualistic fervor, it’s only natural that they want to instill that same spirit in their progeny. These parents know that their children won’t see anything remarkable in themselves if they are one of five Johns in their gym class. Studies have shown that in the U.S. fewer parents are naming their children with a moniker itemized on the top 50 most common names of that respective year. That may seem like nothing to be worried about, until we begin to see headlines of people naming their children the most outrageous names (for instance, Burp, Pube, One Too Many, and, quite facetiously, Covid). It becomes important to question the motives of these kids’ parents in giving them such peculiar names.

Why would any family, having spent arduous months nursing a child until birth, ridicule them with a truly horrendous name that will remain with them all their life? Can you imagine the doctor’s countenance when the mother and father of the newborn tell them that they would like to name their child “Little Sweetmeat?”

One such case has been all over social media recently: SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his partner, singer, and musician Grimes fomented controversy when they announced their newborn child’s name on Twitter: X Æ A-12. After a few days of online mayhem and confusion, the two parents finally shared both the pronunciation of their child’s name—whom they are raising to be gender-neutral—as well as its significance. Grimes posted on Twitter that “X” is the unknown variable; “Æ” is her “elven spelling of AI” (artificial intelligence); and A-12 is an homage to the precursor to the SR-71, their favorite aircraft. The general reaction of the internet was encapsulated eloquently in a Twitter comment saying, “You know this is a human child and not an EP right.”

Many have called into question the life that this child will lead in terms of how others will treat them growing up. One shrink shared how many of her clients have suffered the long-term psychological effects of childhood bullying due to being named Dick. With parents continuing to concoct even more ludicrous names for their children, the issue of bullying and ostracism that these children will inevitably experience will only augment.

Some baby-naming situations have been undoubtedly ill-intentioned and with the purpose to cause harm. Parents Heath and Deborah Campbell piqued national attention in 2008 when their failed attempt to get ShopRite employees to inscribe their three-year-old son made headlines. Their son’s name is Adolf Hitler, and his sister is named Joycelynn Aryan Nation. Heath Campbell remarked, “a name's a name; the kid isn't going to grow up and do what Hitler did.” Not only was the family’s ignorance of the severity of the situation distressing, but the parents would also pervert their own children’s lives in order to propagate their political agenda. Despite claiming to not have any affiliations with the Nazi party, the Campbells were later spotted sporting swastika tattoos and hanging Nazi symbols around their house (and Campbell’s toothbrush mustache was not quite inconspicuous enough). Manhattan psychotherapist John Alpert showed his contempt for the family, stating that their motivation in naming their children as such was “entirely selfish” and “at the cost of the [children’s] emotional health.”

Though many adults have certainly expressed their sheer dearth of sensible parenting skill—my dearest apologies for the poor child out there named Orgasm—many say it is a necessary step toward a more diverse community of people. Without room for experimentation, baby-naming will be left stagnant, as the current name pool runs dry. One way parents have discovered new names for their child without going overboard is by taking common names and spelling them backward, with some successful results being Nevaeh and Semaj. As the generations go on, we will grow up to see new, unique names sprout to life. By becoming more receptive to unusual approaches to life, our horizons will broaden greatly.