Monday, November 7, 2011

Bad Names

There's no such thing.

I'm dead serious. There's no such thing as a bad name, at least not in the way that most people judge what names is good and bad. There might be certain names that are just not my taste, but that doesn't make them bad.

While I do believe that there's value in discussing what makes certain names problematic, they too often dissolve into the naming police saying, "Meredith? His name is Meredith?! WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR SON?!"

Meredith is not a bad name. I'll tell you what makes a bad name. A bad name is Amy picked out by the father when the mother finds out later that it's the name of his mistress. A bad name is Adolf Hitler when the parents continually run to the newspapers every time the same bakery refuses to put his full name on the birthday cake. It's using a name that is also the exact same name of a sibling's adopted daughter and not caring because the other girl's not blood related. It's 285 girls named Unwanted.

I've been inspired to post this because of the reactions that Zeffy got when she posted a youtube video, a website that has always been the bastion of thoughtful discourse. Hon, there's nothing wrong with your names, and there's nothing wrong with the naming enthusiasm community. Some people just don't have their priorities straightened out.

What's being played out is the "it's the parent's job to make sure that their children aren't bullied" fallacy. And that's not true. It's the parent's job to make sure that your child doesn't bully other people. If more parents got that right, the world would be a much better place.

I have yet to get those type of comments here. But when I do I'm going to gong those comments so quickly that they'll have no idea what hit them. Because there's no such thing as a bad name.


  1. Hear, hear!

    On a side note, I always like to point out that the indigenous Welsh pronunciation of Meredith is muh-RED-uth, which so many people don't take into account.

  2. I was actually really amused/ confused by that one comment, and it did make me question what is a 'good' name. I've always been open-minded when it comes to names, and I try to see the potential in all that I come across. It's very, very rare for me to dislike something strongly, but other people who I encounter day to day are absolutely put off by anything that is outside, say, the top 20.

    I always thought there's something to love in a name, you just have to look for it. But, not gonna lie, that comment did make me think 'am I nuts to like this?' But you're absolutely right. A bad name is one that will inflict pain and bring humiliation to a child.

    Lesson for today: Only go on YouTube to watch funny cat videos.

  3. The trouble with people trashing "bad names" on the Interwebz is that things soon start getting out of hand.

    It's amazing what people consider to be a "bad name". I've seen perfectly harmless names such as Huckleberry, Azure, Harry, Gigi, Michael, Cherry, Aspen, Hunter, Griffin, Agnes, Rose, Liadan, Emilia, Damien and Samara all listed as "completely unusable".

    Most of the time they don't even explain why - they just assume everyone will immediately agree with them that Michael and Rose are just utterly disgusting names that only a child abuser would ever think of using.


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