America, you made up over 1,100 new names in 2017, and we need to talk. No, sit the fuck down, we really need to talk. This conglomeration of names, compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration, and detailed by Quartz, contains every name given to five or more children. More than 1,100 names weren’t on the radar in 2016. Then, suddenly, in 2017, 20 sets of parents are naming their kid Kior, which as best I can figure is a biofuels company gone wrong. Are these the only people on the planet without Google?
America, look. Cultural tributes or family names aside, these names are a window into the dark depths of your psyche. You named 91 kids after a Toyota model, then had to set them apart from the Toyota model by subbing -y with -eigh. And that’s how Kamreigh happened. Noctis — well, those 17 kids must be the result of either the D&D afterparty or a some dark elf roleplay gone wrong. There were 12 kids dubbed Ledgen. As in “Legend,” but misspelled. 11 Miraclles.
America, get your shit together.
And when I say, “get your shit together,” that includes “drop the pop culture and back away slowly.” 11 small, innocent, sweet little baby girls were named after incestuous, murdering, pretty-much-one-of-the-worst-characters-ever Cersei Lannister from the blockbuster series Game of Thrones. F’real? You looked at a sweet, squishy little baby in a pink and blue hat and thought, “Let’s call this one Cersei.” Or “Let’s call this one Benjen,” after Ned Stark’s beloved brother of the Night’s Watch who becomes, you know, undead. Like, from a certain point of view, sort of a zombie. You named a baby after that, America.
Then we had to get all Rogue One on people’s asses. Before December 2016, no one had heard of the name Jyn. But then a girl named Jyn Erso, according to Wookiepedia, “became a pivotal member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic when she led Rogue One in stealing the Death Star plans.” We also stole the name “Cassian” after the other hero of Rogue One, misspelled it into “Kassian” because K’s are better than C’s, and stuck it on 22 babies. We are America and we cannot be stopped.
Check out the Name Dame’s predictions on popular names for 2018:
Then there were the other pop culture misspellings. Which breaks our heart on a deep and fundamental level — for the baby, for the parents, for us all. There were a total of 8 Renessemaes in 2017. Consider that in 2012, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer actually told Entertainment Weekly, “I am someone who strongly believes in reality, and that you don’t monkey around with people’s names. Whether they become a stripper or a lawyer has a large part to do with the name you give them. I would never name a real child Renesmee” after Edward and Bella’s vampire spawn. And she’s talking about the “real” spelling, not the one American just made up and stuck to 8 babies.
And then we come to the hipsters. Oh, hipsters, with your love of unique, vintage-ish names that sound old-timey and vaguely upper-class. You created 11 babies named Owlsley last year. Whom you will presumably call “Owl.” There were also 11 Imonas, a baby name that sounds like the archaic Imogen but updated! New! Hip! Surprising! All the things a name should be in 2017!
Count 10 Alisannes, because it’s sweet and cute and terribly misspelled; 9 Osians, which is just resurrecting some random white people name from Wales; 8 Haseleys and another 8 Hazeleys, because even hipsters can’t agree on a properly unique spelling for weird names; 8 Henslies, presumably female, presumably middle class, presumably doomed to spell out their names for the rest of their lives to distinguish it from a henley shirt; and finally Iveigh (8). Because Ivy with a Y wasn’t good enough for you, America.
In kindergarten, you learned that vowels come in several flavors: a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y. Y is a perfectly good vowel substitute for a long -e. We do not need the tedious, trendious workaround of –eigh. Because therein lies madness. Therein lies Iveigh. Kamreigh. Addleigh. Kayzleigh — which double-whammies with an -eigh and the dreaded -z substitution. Lakeleigh and Riverleigh, expressing both of love of bodies of water and the -eigh suffix. And there was Brexleigh, with 10 babies, sort of combining Brexit with the the beloved U.S. suffix into a trainwreck of pure American awful. I vote that those parents get a do-over. Write to your Congressman.
But, on the other hand, once you filter out YouTube and Instagram celebrities, many of the names are a cause for celebration. For example, 11 boys were given the Arabic name Irtaza. 9 girls had the Armenian name Arev. Olenna is a Ukranian name; 9 girls received the Indian name Dhanvika. We were always a nation of immigrants, and it’s amazing to see them make their mark on the Social Security List.
You always had your soaring good points, America, the ones that make the good outweigh the bad. Those little boys from African and Middle Eastern countries, those little girls who speak Farsi and Swahili, whose names are popping up — they are the future. So are Brexleigh and Gyn, of course: because, after all, it’s just a name. Their grandchildren will laugh at her name the way we laugh at Dorcas and Bertha.
We welcome them all. Sort of.
Because in the end, a baby’s a baby, no matter how ridiculous their name. Welcome to the world, babies. Do your best. Make you mark. Live your lives. And try not to hate your parents too much. Remember, you can always change your name when you turn 18.