Last year, Pamela Redmond Satran found 100 rarely used, abandoned names, called them “cool unusual names” and wrote an article suggesting them for use by expecting parents. The fact that many of the names were likely to subject baby boys and girls to teasing or embarrassment was not a factor she seems to have considered. (At the time, I wrote that most of the names “should have come with a warning.”)
I’m writing to let you know she’s been sorting through lists of unwanted, abandoned and unlikely names again and has come up with 15 names she’s suggesting for use in 2014. The good news is: she’s not calling them “cool” any more (except for Detroit*). Instead, she describes them, quite accurately, as “names you’ve never heard of.” Most of her “finds” are quite unusable. But she was clever enough to add three recycled surnames that may be of interest to fans.
Here are Satran’s latest list of strange old names plus some new ideas:
-6 read like combinations of random letters smushed together that don’t seem much like names: Betsan, Cabe, Kaius, Neri, Macsen, and Macson.
-3 are capitalized words that don’t seem much like names either: Camber, Legacy and Sender
-2 are place names (a bankrupt city and a town in Arizona that few people who don’t live there know how to pronounce): Detroit and Tempe
-1 is a rarely used (for good reasons) variation of a popular name: Isabeline
-3 are surnames of famous people that fans may want to consider: (Lou) Costello, (Rudyard) Kipling, and (Douglas) Macarthur
Why does Satran continue to recommend ridiculous and burdensome names? Why does Nameberry publish this outrageous advice? Why does Huffington Post feature this irresponsible information on their website?
It’s impossible to dig up buried bodies and breathe life into the corpses. It’s almost impossible to dig up almost dead names (used by ten or less people in the U.S.) and breathe life into them by writing an article about how cool or charming they are.
It must be a rush for Satran to check out last year’s “resurrection” projects to discover that usage on some of the names doubled, tripled or rose even higher from 10 to 20, 30, 50 or even 100. But it’s not so great if you look at it from the perspective of the children who wind up with weird, almost dead names like Neri or Betsan.
It’s difficult (but not impossible) to make up new names that might catch on using Satran’s approach: “Jaxson is a hot name, so maybe Macson or Macsen might work.” Unfortunately, this example from Satran’s latest post doesn’t work well, because Macson and Macsen don’t look like or sound like “names.”
Why would any parents knowingly doom their children to the teasing and torture of going through high school with these awful names: Cabe, Detroit, Kaius, Macsen, Sender, or Tempe (pronounced TEM-pee)?
*Believe it or not, here’s Satran’s “far out” rationale for suggesting Detroit as a name people should use in 2014: “Detroit has a so-far-out-it’s-gotta-be-cool quality.”
Actually, Detroit is a bankrupt city that is down and out. There’s nothing remotely “cool” about Detroit at the moment. I really hope that city makes a comeback, like Brooklyn did. Maybe one day Detroit will be cool. But it won’t impress your friends your children’s friends in 2014. They’ll be too busy shouting, “You must be kidding! Have you lost your mind?