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back to article US parents proclaim 811 'Messiahs'

A US psychologist has warned of the dire consequences of a "stunning rise" in "vanity" names for kids, revealing that no less than 811 "Messiahs" were proclaimed during 2012, joining 243 Princesses, 588 Princes and a whopping 1,423 Kings on the list of newborns. Jean Twenge used Social Security data to identify a growing trend …

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Not to be racist

But I'd love to see the breakdown of the parents' races who are giving their kids names like Messiah and Beautiful. African-Americans seem to be at the forefront of naming trends in the US. They started the whole business of swapping vowels around randomly to make normal names "unique" (like Kristina becoming Krystyna for example) That later became mainstream with whites, so I wonder if you looked at a decade long trend if you'd see Messiah or Beautiful be very rare among whites at first but become more common by 2020.

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You are not being racist. (was: Re: Not to be racist)

You are observing reality. Why people invent names is all very well and good ("Wendy" from Peter Pan springs to mind) ... but actually inventing a name for a kid based on some weird idea of "where we might have come from"? I don't get it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not to be racist

Of course it would be of significance - 8/11 - the day before 9/11...

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Re: Not to be racist

You're being a bit racist, oddball spelling are just as likely to come from Southern Whites and Utah is a hotbed of bizarre names in a desperate attempt to stand out from all the other blonde haired blue eyed people with the same last name.

That said, African-Americans do have a regrettable tendency to use registered trademarks as first names.

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Re: Not to be racist

Not in the US -- it's a MONTH before 9/11 :-)

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Alas, all is vanity...

Don't many traditional names have pretty meanings anyway, Ruth, Verity, Rebecca = happiness, truth, beauty. Alan - handsome, Simon = "TheRock". Wish I was called Simon now.

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Re: Not to be racist

Freakonomics, or a similar book, contains a table that plots weird children's names against the terminal educational age of parents. The lower the TEA, the more exotic the more exotic the name.

My personal bête noir is people who give their children names that are already familiar forms of other names. If you want him to be known as Jack, baptise (or register) him as John. That way he gets a choice.

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Re: Alas, all is vanity...

Etymology would suggest that it's Peter that means "The Rock".

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Re: Alas, all is vanity...

I guess the confusion is because Peter was the disciple formerly known as Simon.

Isn't god the ultimate narcissistic parent? Wants all his kids to worship him, and his avatar even went around giving them funny names.

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Re: Alas, all is vanity...

Surely the ultimate narcissistic parent names the kid after themselves (as in Fred Bloggs Jr or Fred Bloggs III if it becomes a family trait)?

That too seems to be more common over there than elsewhere (at least if royalty are excluded), although I don't recall much being made of it before.

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the ultimate narcissistic parent

Anonymous Custard, both Lawrence Eagleburger and George Foreman named all of their sons after themselves (respectively).

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Re: Not to be racist

Or if you want your kid to get an interview on Wall St name him John Alexander Fortescue IV, not Tyrone Brown. The fact that this works isn't the fault of Tyrone's parents!

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Re: the ultimate narcissistic parent

But at least George gave them different product lines

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Re: Not to be racist

" If you want him to be known as Jack, baptise (or register) him as John. That way he gets a choice."

In my experience he gets a choice anyway, since very few of his friends will ever see his birth certificate.

Even if you do, the law in the UK (and with Bill Plauger as an (vaguely IT-related) example, I assume the law in the US is similar) is that you can call yourself anything you like as long as the intent is not fraudulent. (Many married women use this freedom without even knowing they are doing it.)

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Meh

Re: Alas, all is vanity...

Don't want to burst your bubble about Simon, but the Greek is Petros, which means a pebble or a small rock. Unless you like being called a pebble?

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Re: Not to be racist

" If you want him to be known as Jack, baptise (or register) him as John. That way he gets a choice."

But whatever you do, don't name him Ray J. Johnson Jr., Bad things could happen!

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Re: Not to be racist

"(Many married women use this freedom without even knowing they are doing it.)"

If you are talking about the tradition of taking the husband's surname it's actually harder to not take it in some states. When the missus and I got hitched we were asked no fewer than four times if she was going to take my name and each clerk offered to sell accept the fee for the legal paperwork for changing her name, even the JP. Oddly many of them had a disappointed look when we politely declined, you would think they got a commission on each piece of paper filed.

I do recognize that women are currently more likely to switch back and forth because it can be such a hassle especially given dozens of longstanding accounts. Hell, I once nearly got into a row with a bank teller over check made out to the name I generally go by, my middle name Edward, and not my first name, Robert. In the end the bank manager had me fill out a form indicating Edward as an alias.

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Re: Not to be racist

I worked with a guy who went a different route... he took his wife's name. Created some headaches when I sent the name change paperwork in to the district personnel office. Human Resources had to have him write a statement and get it notarized showing both his "birth" name and his "adopted" name.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not to be racist

"Freakonomics, or a similar book, contains a table that plots weird children's names against the terminal educational age of parents. The lower the TEA, the more exotic the more exotic the name."

But as we know, correlation is not (necessarily) causation.

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Named after his dad

Nope, that's been going on for centuries in England. Having researched my own family fairly thoroughly, I can attest that it's a great source of confusion. I have one branch where four successive generations of men carried the same name. The use of a roman numeral suffix is a peculiarly American thing, though, I believe.

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Pint

"Despite Twenge's grim vision of future school playgrounds packed with Messiahs, Kings and Princesses"

Let a Game of Thrones begin!

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Anonymous Coward

Twenge's grim vision of future school playgrounds packed with Messiahs

Cue to teacher - "you're not messiah's - you're very naughty boys"

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Brits will be disturbed...

...to learn that "Beckham" as a boy's Christian name is on the up-and-up Stateside,

Why? What is it with all this Beckham bashing that I don't get? The pair of them are successful, good for them, I wish I were as successful. I couldn't give a flying monkeys what anyone wants to call their kid so this Brit is definitively undisturbed by the trend.

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Stop

Re: Britons will be disturbed...

It's the use of his surname as a first name that is the problem. It's not bashing the Beckham family, it is just that Beckham as a first name is really naff, IMHO of course.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Britons will be disturbed...

It is indeed, but at least it's not Peckham.

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Re: Britons will be disturbed...

They're Americans, what do you expect from a nation that can't put a baseball cap on the right way round and use shotguns to loosen wheel nuts.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Britons will be disturbed...

Or even Lewisham - as in Lewisham'Ilton

Icon - a relative?

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Re: Britons will be disturbed...

Why would Britons be disturbed by the use of a surname as a first name? Many British people sport such names - Bamber Gascoigne, for example.

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Re: Britons will be disturbed...

Ah, but simply by existing we seem to unhinge quite a few British nuts with no resort to firearms.

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Re: Britons will be disturbed...

Why would Britons be disturbed by the use of a surname as a first name? Many British people sport such names - Bamber Gascoigne, for example.

And, indeed, me. Popularized after Khartoum.

Mind you, given the "Beautiful" and "Greatness" - how many US citizens have now been named "Posh"? We need to know....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Britons will be disturbed...

"It's the use of his surname as a first name that is the problem."

It's hardly an unusual or uncommon occurance in the UK. There are plenty of pretty common names that are used interchangably as either a forename or surname - for example James, David, Grant, Howard, Mitchell.

Other forenames are often used as surnames with the appendage of the letter s - for example Peters, Matthews, Richards.

Wasn't John the surname of Robin Hood's friend Little? ;)

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Re: Britons will be disturbed...

"the use of his surname as a first name"

There's huge historical precedent for this. Cecil and Percy were surnames before they were first names, and using the surname of particular ancestors (there were rules for which ancestor to use for which child) as a middle name of your offspring was a common practice in parts of the UK until very recently (like, 20th century). Genealogists love this sort of thing.

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Down here, all the boys are called Bruce

Makes it much easier to remember names.

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Fucking close to water

Not to mention Bruce from the Biology department.

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Re: Fucking close to water

Are all Bruce's down there vegetarians?

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Re: Fucking close to water

Vegetarians and BBQs don't mix.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Down here, all the boys are called Bruce

Don't forget rule # 1

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Re: Down here, all the boys are called Bruce

You don't mean "condition #1" by any chance?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Down here, all the boys are called Bruce

> Don't forget rule # 1

Don't talk about Bruce club?

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Re: Down here, all the boys are called Bruce

Rule 1, No poofters.

Rule 2, No member of the faculty is to maltreat the "Abos" in any way whatsoever—if there's anyone watching.

Rule 3, No poofters.

Rule 4, I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out.

Rule 5, No poofters.

Rule 6, There is no... rule six.

Rule 7, No poofters.

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Ironic possibility

Imagine naming your kid beautiful and she turns out to be beautifully challenged.

A boy named "Prince" with a familly name of Albert could be amusing.

A asian boy named "King" with a familly name of Dong could also be amusing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ironic possibility

I met someone called "Sunshine" a few months back. I have to say, it suited her perfectly!

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Re: Ironic possibility

I used to know a girl named "Patience". Yeah, that name didn't particularly fit... :)

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Re: Ironic possibility

I think we should use this information and perform an in-depth study on nominative determinism. Are children named "Beautiful" more statistically likely to be attractive, or at least present themselves as such? Will "Massiahs" start new cults, or "Kings" spend more time on the throne when they are older?

Now that there is a rising number of these names, maybe we can get a statistically valid study on.

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Trollface

Re: Ironic possibility

I knew a woman once called Rain. Hilariously she ended up marrying a guy called Day, so her name became Rain Day. I never quite worked up the courage to ask if her middle name started with an E.

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Re: Ironic possibility

"A boy named "Prince" with a familly name of Albert could be amusing."

Would his nickname be "Pierce", then?

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Re: Ironic possibility

There were a couple of kids in my school when I was a kid with very unfortunate names.

We had one Tammy Paxman and a rather unusual name of Paul Styrene.

No word of a lie.

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Re: Ironic possibility

I once knew an E. Orr. Not nice when the register was called al school.

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Joke

Brian

It's clear that 811 American families haven't seen "The Life Of Brian" otherwise they'd know that their offspring is not the messiah...

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