Like obesity and crotch shots, one of America's favorite pastimes is baby name judging. And now that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's baby name has been revealed (North West, no middle name), everyone is jumping on the name-judging bandwagon.
Some of these names may be destined for the top 10 and others will surely disappear. But together, they show us something about what's new, what we're thinking about and where we're heading.
When my wife and I chose the names of our three precious children, we were committed to naming them after family members we had loved and lost. It struck me immediately, when our youngest daughter was named, that the pantheon of my ancestral family was whole again.
Plenty of authors dating back to Shakespeare have invented names that caught on with parents. But a name taken from a word that's not a name, from an imagined language? I can't think of a precedent.
How does one name step up to win the hearts of hundreds of expectant parents? This year, the recipe boils down to two words: Beautiful and deadly.
If you can choose anything -- anything -- how can you be sure you made the best possible choice? How do you even know when to stop looking?
I won't keep you in suspense. The "buzziest" names in America, the names rising to the top of expectant moms' lists, are...
One time in grade school, as our substitute teacher read through the attendance list, he paused, laughed out loud, and then read my name. That sort of stuff stays with you.
When a restaurant or a vacation destination is described as "popular," that's usually considered a compliment. A popular spot is an attractive and crowd-pleasing choice. Yet, in the world of baby names, "popular" has become the least popular designation around.
Do you find yourself discussing celebrity baby names more these days? Do you notice more articles about the top names of the year, or hear more friends agonizing over whether Amelia and Atticus have become "too popular"?
I couldn't wait to hear who the new pope was going to be, not because I'm a practicing Catholic any longer or because I cared which Cardinal got elected. No. As usual, I was in it for the name.
As celebs attempt to out-quirk one another with increasingly unusual baby names, they fail to consider the repercussions that little Blue, Apple or Bronx Mowgli will one day suffer.
Does her name work because it's perfect for her, or because we have started to associate certain personality characteristics with it?
It took us 20 minutes to name the dog. So why has it taken weeks to come up with a name for our baby? After hours of discussion I finally realized why -- with a dog there is just one pitfall. But with a baby, there are dozens.
Perhaps non-celebrities should consider following the path of Metta World Peace by naming a child after a cause, rather than a vegetable. If it's a slow news day this might be your opportunity to become a quasi-celebrity.
Perhaps nothing unifies Jews across levels of observance and backgrounds more than our adherence to superstitions involving babies. We Jews don't mess around with this stuff. Frankly, I find this curious.