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Hogarth judge

November 2018



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I won't be forced to breed children!

Whye doe briedyrs doo thysse tou theyre daughtyrs?

On another site, there was a thread about a newscaster whose first name was "Megyn".

I cringe whenever I see its title. "Megyn". Apart from the fact that "Megan" itself is a faddish name and ought to be rarer than it is, but why on earth did the parents who chose to bestow it also choose to tart it up with an original spelling?

Eccentrically spelled names are only one part of what I'm griping out. I became aware of a problem about fifteen or twenty years ago, when it seemed that every breeding couple was calling their daughters something like Tiffany or Chelsea or Kayleigh or Amber. These were often spelled in highly original ways also. Their clueless fathers had either:

1./ No hand in the selection, or
2./ Were so cowed by the womenfolk that they never visited the back room of the video tape store.

(We had video tape rental stores back then.) And if you visited the back room of the video store, you'd know there was an obvious problem with these frilly, ultra-feminine porn star names. I wonder how Tiffany fills out her med school application now or in a couple years. For the first of the big flock of Tiffanies, it's probably getting to be about that time. Dr. T. Something Something, I'll wager, or else she just changed it to something less ridiculous.

Of course, if you name your child Lashonda or Roveeta or T'Juana or something like that, you may as well be hanging a "KICK ME" sign on her ass. All of these names mean one thing in Greek: "You can't read my tattoo."

I blame heresy.

Specifically, the practice of anti-paedobaptism. Used to be, at least in Christian folklore, a baby didn't really have a name until it was conferred at baptism, and up to then the parents could change their mind. Baptism made it official. And that meant that baby names were conferred at a religious ceremony in front of God and the family and everybody in the congregation. In ritualistic, ceremonial occasions like this, creativity is happily restrained.

When you postpone baptism until adulthood, naming the baby becomes a matter of filling out the form at the hospital. Nobody's looking, and the creative juices start flowing. Odd spellings and improvised names get put down and copied onto birth certificates before the drugs have worn off completely.

If you breed and get a daughter, here are a few suggestions:


Names like that are given to people who go on to be taken seriously. Unless that's not what you want.....


Megan is a perfectly acceptable Welsh name.

What you are arguing is that girls should be given anglo names. I'm not English, why should my daughters have an English name?
In one sense, you're probably right.

On the other hand, I don't want people to choose Anglo names as much as I want them to choose old, traditional names, and these are naturally going to differ from place to place and from group to group.
You might be appalled by the naming conventions in our mother's family. Some of it is Biblical as you'd expect, but then takes off at eldritch-looking angles which are actually variants on ordinary Hebrew.

Men who have been in the armed services may suggest names from some of the places they've been. This is why there was a swarm of Kims (male and female) in the 1950s. The upcoming generation is likely to have its fair share of girls named Amirah, Nawar, Layla, Aziza, Akilah, Shada and Noora.

One could do as Gloria Gibbons did and assign a relatively plain first name and flashier second name (Jennifer Lorraine, June Alison).

This is a tough call. Tiffany has been around since the jewelry store, and Megyn is an accepted variant spelling as far as we can make out. We went to school with a girl whose name -- first and last -- resembled that of a certain kind of marijuana.
If you want to choose an unusual name, there are two reliable sources. Unix, and the Book of Mormon.

Instead of a name, use a shell command you can sort of pronounce, like: Sed, Awk, Grep, Chmod, Pico, Mach, Mkdir, Sudo. You will notice they're all conveniently unisex.

The Book of Mormon: Nephi, Lehi, Korihor, Teancum, Zemnarihah, Ammaron, Zarahemla, Cumorah, Jashon, Lachoneus &c. Most Book of Mormon names sound like 1930s soft drinks or industrial strength insecticides.