Last week’s story about a woman allegedly naming her new baby daughter Hashtag has social media all, aherm, a-twitter over the future of the Christian name.
Have we gone too far in search of uniqueness? Is nothing sacred? Are we doomed to live our golden years tormented by the conversations we overhear among young people, unsure whether they’re talking about people named after things or, like, actual things?
On the one hand, if it’s true, well, that’s a pretty crappy thing to do to your newborn. Hash is a pretty OK nickname for the dim-witted confidential informant in your crime novel, but your real-life daughter? What’s more, it’s difficult to fathom how someone could be so obsessed with an Internet phenomenon, and not realize that Twitter will probably be long gone before the kid gets through elementary school. She’s gonna have to explain that shit to everyone, and it’s not even a cool story, like she was named after the call sign for her great-grandfather the World War II bombardier and bullfighting cabaret crooner. Nope:
“My parents liked a website for a while. It’s gone now.”
(Insert slidey sad trombone notes here.)
On the other hand, if it isn’t true — if it’s just some corporate viral campaign or ingenious satire — the name Hashtag has already served its purpose: It identified anyone and everyone who thought a name like Hashtag was cute, or clever, or timely, or unique as an utter jackhole.
That’s what baby names do. They don’t tell us anything about the new life just joining us in the world, except maybe sometimes an ominous bit about what their future might be like.
Rather, they tell us about the parents.
Here’s what some of BabyCenter.com’s most popular baby names of 2012 say about the people who procreated this year:
Mia: Parents enjoy elements of both high and low culture. Arguments over Meryl Streep’s contributions to both have led to more than one night sleeping in separate rooms.
Jayden: Dude, your son’s mom totally wishes she’d done it with Will Smith instead of you, and she convinced you it’d be OK for everyone to know that.
Zoe: In his or her secret heart of hearts, at least one parent wonders if there might not be at least something “to” astrology. Smells in the kitchen are only occasionally tainted with the faintest aura of “red meat guilt” — unless her name is pronounced like “doe,” in which case meat is never served and parties are attended by Rosicrucians and affluent, rumpled people who take wonderful photographs.
Lucas: Parents wear glasses that are actually good fits for their faces, and have read the books in the home. They will allow their son to decide for himself whether or not to grow into a Luke, but will abide neither fisticuffs nor an all-encompassing Star Wars fetish.
Ava: At least 30 percent of the movies in the DVD collection are more than 20 years old, and VHS cassettes are still viewed on occasion. Both parents can list all 50 states on a blank sheet of paper from memory, but time stretches out once Texas and both coasts are accounted for.
Mason: Uh, derf. They’re Masons. Have you ever looked closely at a dollar bill?
Emma: They’ll never, never, ever admit it, but one of them pushed for Emma because of Ross and Rachel’s baby on Friends … and the other one knows it.
Liam: Parents are obviously proud of their English heritage. They’re only weird about it after everyone has gone home for the night, though — that’s when goofy British accents whispered back and forth over the crib turn into hardcore Victorian roleplaying, and The Monocle makes an appearance.
Sophia: In the bedroom, there’s at least one mint-condition Glamour magazine with Princess Diana on the cover.
Aiden: Parents don’t remember what so endeared the name to them, unaware it was nothing more than seeing it at the top of the BabyCenter.com list for the past eight consecutive years.
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