September 3, 2008, - 9:30 am

Those Palin Kids’ Names

By Debbie Schlussel
I know I’m likely to offend a lot of readers (depending on your or your kids’ first names) with this post, but I’m writing it anyway.
Unlike a lot of liberals–and contrary the constant accusations against me by liberals–I don’t apply a double standard to conservatives and my side of the aisle.
In the past, I’ve mocked the absurd names with which vapid celebs afflict their kids for life. For instance, Penn Jillette named his first kid, Moxie Crimefighter. Jason Lee’s first-born is Pilot Inspektor. And then, there’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s Apple. I’ve dissed them all.
But I’m fair.
And that’s why I have to say that Sarah Palin’s choices in names for her kids are just annoying as all get out. Whacked out and pretentious. And frankly, stupid.


The Palins: Normally-Named Sarah and Todd

w/ Kids Track, Willow, Piper, Bristol (Trig Not Shown)

When Jillette named his daughter, I was quoted in the Las Vegas Weekly:

To further show us how much he “values” free speech–or wants to push its limits beyond acceptability and normalcy, Jillette recently named his new daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. She will be tortured all her life with this absurd name. No problem since her father’s house resembles a bizarre sado-masochism den mixed with macabre death penalty implements.

And I don’t feel differently about the Palin’s choices. Five choices. (Minus the bizarre, macabre stuff, which Jillette really does display all over his home.)
As I noted on Friday, her oldest kid, son Track, is named that because she likes to run. One story goes that the pregnant teen daughter, Bristol, is name after the city in Connecticut where ESPN is located (Sarah Palin was once a sportscaster who longed to make it in the biz). Though, the Palins are now saying it’s not true and that she’s named for Alaska’s Bristol Bay. And then there are Willow, Piper, and Trig.
When I heard names like this, I think: “hippy parents” or “very plastic”.
Um, whatever happened to names like John, Sam, Sarah, Rachel, Jim, and Bill? Not one of her kids has a conventional, normal name. Ditto for the Hussein Obama kids, Sasha and Malia. Funny, Sasha doesn’t look like a Russian male. Not impressed with Hunter Biden, either.
Whenever I hear of parents who name their kids with these pretentious and bizarre names off the beaten track, I feel these parents are saying: look at me, I’m special, I’m fancy, I’m different, and, oh yeah, did I mention, look at me? It’s annoying.
And the same goes for Governor Sarah Palin. If you name your kid after something you run on or a city where you longed to work (though, again, they’re now saying Bristol is named for the well-known Alaskan bay), I have to question your judgment. I wonder where the Miss America pageant was held the year she became runner up for Miss Alaska. If memory serves me correctly, perhaps she should have named one of her kids Atlantic or Boardwalk. Or Talent.
In the past, WASPy upper class women gave their children–particularly their male children–their maiden surnames as first names. Soon, though, those names became adopted by the aspiring middle class and, finally, the aspiring working class, from which they ultimately became stripper names. Tiffany, Taylor, Hunter, Carter, Cullen, Spencer, Lyon, Logan, Sterling, Walker, Tucker, Prescott, Grayson, Brittany-cum-Britney were all last names of some rich guy’s clan. Why would you name your kid after some old, fat, inbred rich guy you’ve never met? Trust me, he’s not reciprocating the favor. (Would you name your firstborn son, “Bush“? He fits the same bill.)
People who do this–who choose these fancy-sounding or obscure name–really strike me as ignorant and common. Some of them are immigrants, who want their kids to sound upper crust. Others are native born. They want to sound classy, but their choice of names for their kids betrays from where they really come. I knew someone whose parents named her Remy after a bottle of Remy Martin. Dumb (and she changed her name). Giving your kid a name like this is akin to a nouveau riche lottery winner buying a bright yellow Ferrari. Look at me–I’m fancy, I have class; Really, I do. No, really.
Logan, Ryan, Reagan (unless the kid is named after the great President Ronald Reagan–then it’s okay), Murphy, Kennedy, Campbell, and Reilly (in various spellings) all began as Irish surnames, which they still are. But I’ve seen a lot of Jews–especially those who don’t keep much of the religion and seem embarrassed by it–name their kids with these as a first name. I always think: Funny, you don’t look Irish. I can’t imagine any Irish person naming his/her kid Cohen or Feldman. Horowitz O’Houlihan doesn’t exactly have a great ring to it (though it makes for a great tongue-twister). Katz Flannagan is an improvement, but not by much–don’t look for that to happen.
I also laugh when I see offspring of my fellow co-religionists with the names Hunter and Fisher. Like they or their parents ever did either. Hunting for sport and for food is prohibited in Jewish law (because of Jewish law requiring animals to be slaughtered in captivity, not shot). And even though most Jews are not religious, they just are not sportsmen in general. I know, I know–it’s a stereotype, but largely true. You don’t see a lot of Jews at Gander Mountain or Cabela’s looking for gear.
That said, my father and I loved the great outdoors and he took us whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, to see the rocks of Sedona, Arizona, in and around the Florida Everglades, on regular hikes, and encouraged us to learn how to identify different birds and animals in a field near our house. He was very much into nature and wildlife and taught it to me–subscribing me to “Ranger Rick” Magazine. And, yes, a few times my dad took me fishing. None of this inspired him to give me a pretentious name, though, and it doesn’t inspire me to have kids and name them thusly, either. Thank G-d, I’m not Ranger Schlussel. Or Sparrow.
My dad longed to see Montana (which he eventually did and was disappointed). Thankfully, that didn’t inspire my parents to name any of us after the state. I think the same thing about people who name their kids, “Dakota“–North or South? Isn’t that an American Indian name?
My own siblings are guilty of this phenomenon, sort of. One of my sisters named her kid, Bella (like an old lady or the guy who played Dracula–though he used one “L”). My other sister named one of her kids, Isabelle (that mistaken old-lady-name-as-chic thing, again) and another, Elliot. Why must everything be so fancy and pretentious? My father and I used to mock these haughty names, as we did someone at our synagogue who named his daughter Brittany Erin, which struck us as the name of someone more familiar with a pole and six-inch platforms.
Simple, Biblical, average names are where it’s at. They do well, when you’re applying for and interviewing for a job. Unusual names don’t.
Problem is, no one in America wants to be average. Sadly, they express their “aspirations” with their kids’ names, only to have themselves and their kids be average–frankly, below mediocre–anyway, in the way they live their lives. Better to have an average, plain name, and to achieve greatness in your accomplishments and deeds. But everyone wants their kids’ names to sound like they walked off the set of a soap opera.
It’s fraud, really. People who give their kids these kinds of names want to pretend they’re something they’re not.
Here’s a good rule of thumb. Don’t name your kids after any of these:
* fruits, vegetables, spices, drinks, or other foods (no Apple, Cherry, Pepper, not to mention Lasagna, Pizza, Lutefisk, Gefilte Fish, Jambalaya,Salsa, Shawarmeh, or CousCous);
* jobs, especially when you misspell them with a “k” (Hunter, Fisher, Pilot Inspektor, Moxie Crimefighter, Poet, Carnie Wilson);
* colors (Amber, Blue, Azure, Turquoise, Teal, Silver, Grey, Gray);
* places (Bryce Dallas Howard–Ron Howard’s daughter, named after the city in which her parents conceived her (real classy–well, at least she wasn’t named, “Buick Backseat Howard”), Bristol Palin, Paris Hilton, Paris Jackson (one of Michael’s other pseudo-kids) Tehran, Karachi, Dearborn, Walla Walla);
* natural phenomena (Leaf, Twig, Willow, Flower, Sierra, River, Lake, Sunshine, Sunset, Sky, Dawn, Tornado, Earthquake, Mudslide)–these names are the domain of American Indians;
* household items (Michael Jackson’s pseudo-kid, Blanket);
* fake royalty and weird perversions of real words (Jermajesty Jackson–Germaine Jackson’s kid, Prince Jackson–another of Michael Jackson’s pseudo-kids, Star Jones–real name, Starlet Jones);
And now a new one:
* sports equipment (Track Palin, Mitt Romney (to be fair, his is a middle name–real first name is Willard), Baseball, Jock.
(I won’t even go into the inner city, urban names that have nothing to do with Africa, despite the belief that they do. LaDainian, Condoleezza (supposed to be based on a musical term)? Who names their kid that?)
I’m sure you can add some other rules.
The bottom line is that a name is like a tattoo. Sure you can have it lasered off (or go to court to get your name legally changed), but the scars and a hint of it remain, and in general, this is a permanent, lifelong decision. If you treat it lightly or absurdly, I wonder how you make other decisions.
And I conclude that you don’t really think too much or too hard. It may sound trivial or old fashioned to you, but her choice of kids’ names makes me wonder all of these things about the woman who may be our next Vice President.
Even though I like Sarah Palin and I’m still voting for her, I wonder.
Reader Sean and his wife Rebecca put this list of naming rules together over the years. Some are the same as my own (great minds think alike!) and others are great additions:

1. Don’t name your kid after a season. That includes, Summer, Autumn, Spring, and especially any FRENCH versions of the same.
2. Don’t name your kid after a city/place. That rules out Dallas, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, America, etc.
3. Don’t name your kid after an occupation/pastime. No Hunter, Tanner, etc.
4. Don’t name your kid after a spice. No Cinnamon, Saffron, Sage, etc.
5. Don’t name your kid after a fruit. Sorry Gwyneth, that means Apple, too.
6. Don’t give your kid a normal name with a weird spelling. For example, Aymie, Ondray, Alyce, etc.
7. Don’t name your kid to show how artistic and/or freaky you are. So Moxie Crimefighter, Rumer, Scout, Moon Unit and the rest are pretty much headed for therapy at some point.
7. Finally, the “Boy Named Sue” test. This is named after the song sung by Johnny Cash in which a man leaves his family after naming his new son Sue. Needless to say, the kid’s life was hard. So while babies may seem cute when you name them Percival, Sidney, Gertrude, etc, you have to picture what life will be like when they go through middle school with that name. It’s a VERY different experience.
Here’s another way of looking at it. How would your child do if he/she was left stranded on the island from “Lord of the Flies” with that name?

Great advice. Too bad the Palins didn’t get the memo.
*** UPDATE: Reader Breda, a loyal reader in Ireland, writes:

My name in english means Brigid (St. Brigid of Ireland) When I lived in the U.S., I knew many Jewish people and they always loved my name, but when they asked what it meant and I explained, they would say it is a very obviously Christian name and we can’t use it. We use to have a great laugh.
I always said to them why do you want unusual names? We were brought up to use Biblical or Saint names which have great histories.
There is nothing more inspiring than having a name which has historical or religious connotions. [DS: Amen, Breda!]
God Bless you and your common sense which unfortunately is now an endangered species.

48 Responses

Some inner city children have names like: Placenta and Latrine.

lexi on September 3, 2008 at 9:54 am

But I’ve seen a lot of Jews–especially those who don’t keep much of the religion and seem embarrassed by it–name their kids with these as a first name.
Reminds me of Jackie Mason’s skit about American Jews naming their kids Tiffany Schwartz, Ashley Ginzburg and Crucifix Finklestein. 🙂

Shy Guy on September 3, 2008 at 10:07 am

Personally I think the off-track names (no pun intended) are not a huge deal… UNLESS your doing the MOXIE Crimefighter or Audio Science BS names.
I will say that Sarah & family are a class act. These folks are pretty darned tough. Actually, besides my wife – She’s the toughest gal I’ve seen in some time. My wife grew up on a farm in rural VA. She is the classiest woman you’ll ever meet. BUT- piss her off and she take you on and take you out! God I love that in a woman…

RC Flyer on September 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

Hi Debbie, why was your father disappointed when he went to Montana? Just Curious.

PrincessKaren on September 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

Hi Debbie, why was your father disappointed when he went to Montana? Just Curious.

PrincessKaren on September 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

Sometimes, the child can do the same as a parent by using his normal first name initial and going by their middle name, which is a family surname

Noncooperator on September 3, 2008 at 11:01 am

RC Flyer, “I will say that Sarah & family are a class act.”
I am assuming you are referring to Sarah Palin.
Welllll, not to sound overly judgemental, but having an unwed 17 year old is not exactly a “class act” to me.
Sorry, I do feel for the people and am glad she is having the child, but I don’t think a young teenager getting pregnant is something we should be giving kudos for.
I think the class acts are the people waiting for marriage and THEN having kids. Just because the family is pretty, white, and rich doesn’t make wrong right.

Jeff_W on September 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

[Even though I like Sarah Palin and I’m still voting for her, I wonder.]
Good. Keep wondering. Who knows what surprises she has next?

Norman Blitzer on September 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

Great post, Debbie. I couldn’t agree more with this silly phenomenon.
Here’s another silly thing in Nashville that is on the same level. We are having a bunch of wannabes and yankee transplants who want to give silly names to districts in Nashville because they want to sound “cool” like New Yorkers.
First, they add the tag “Historic” to each neighborhood sign, now. Seriously, there are these run down housing projects with a sign “Historic Buena Vista.” Historic alright, historically awful.
Then, they are building a bunch of condos that all have a “The” in front of the name to sound important, such as “The Icon”, “The Encore”, etc.
They name parts of the city “The Gulch”, “The District”….bleccch!!!!
The People Magazine-ization of this once great country makes me want to puke.

Jeff_W on September 3, 2008 at 11:36 am

(Sorry for the 3 posts in a row, but…)
With a kid named “Track” and one named “Bristol”, she should claim they are named after her favorite NeckCar race track and she could get the Southern NeckCar votes.

Jeff_W on September 3, 2008 at 11:38 am

isn’t Biden’s son named Hunter??

PrincessKaren on September 3, 2008 at 11:51 am

Debbie; I agree that some names are weird. However, there are also the cases where we name our children in terms of carrying on a family name. An honor thing
My name, Nina, is generations old from my mother’s side of the family
My daughter’s name, Tyler, is also generations old from my father’s side of the family. We didn’t find that out until this summer at a family reunion. The name Tyler comes from the time of the revolutionary war. However, I named my daughter Tyler in honor of my father.
So, sometimes the names of people/children aren’t what you would agree with. You have to admit, that sometimes there are very valid and honorable reasons why those names are given.
That being said; is how Gov. Palin named her children what you want to concentrate on? How about really examining her record and then putting forth your commentary on that?
Thank you, Nina

nda96 on September 3, 2008 at 12:43 pm

When you criticize your siblings for their choice of names, you refer to the girls’ names as “old lady” names. This implies names go in and out of fashion. Perhaps future parents will look to the bible, as you hope, and bring back names like Dorcas and Jedidiah. cool

LoveAManInAUniform on September 3, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Here is my rule:
If the name is not in the Bible or is not a Catholic saint, don’t name your kid it. Otherwise, you are being trendy.
Another rule: Don’t name your kid anything that your Southern great aunt or her neighbor would use as a term of endearment for kids, e.g. “Honey,” “Sugar,” “Sweetheart,” etc.
I have a student named “Precious.” I feel so stupid calling out her name.

Gabe on September 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Great observations on this, Debbie–
“The bottom line is that a name is like a tattoo. Sure you can have it lasered off (or go to court to get your name legally changed), but the scars and a hint of it remain, and in general, this is a permanent, lifelong decision..”
I am always interested in this topic–the name, the “why” of the name –why it was chosen, and the etymology of the name, ethnic origin–what family links? etc. I always love to ask someone about their name–could be about the first or last or both.
We stuck with the biblical names for our several kids, choosing those with much care and thought and even prayer.
You do see this in the Bible itself–from Adam and Eve to the 12 tribes of Israel and so many other names were all taken right from events and situations that were going on at the time the person was named. So, to choose a name from events or a promise of based on what is going on–that has been going on for millennia. Jacob had his name changed from Jacob (deceiver) by G-d himself—to Israel (a prince with G-d) during a great wrestling match with an angel.
I don’t mind unusual naming techniques and different names–but, please do it with some intelligence. Your main point–don’t saddle your kid with a name they will have to “contend” with. That is a selfish way to “tattoo” your child without his/her permission.

BB on September 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Jeff_W said:
With a kid named “Track” and one named “Bristol”, she should claim they are named after her favorite NeckCar race track and she could get the Southern NeckCar votes.
S-OPs replies: The “southern neckcar” votes are a myth. NASCAR-National Assoiation for Stock Car Auto Racing- is just that: National. They host races in California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, etc. Moreover, I live less than 100 miles from the epicenter of NASCAR

Southernops on September 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

oops, I posted accidentally…
Charlotte NC…and I have never followed “neckcar”.
And Debbie is right on about the silly names…even though I kind of like Shaniqua Schlussel. ; )

Southernops on September 3, 2008 at 2:27 pm

The “Nosmo King” story is an old joke I can recall from decades ago and is absolute bubba-meises [DS: YIDDISH FOR “GRANDMOTHER’S TALE”].

Shy Guy on September 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Got this little gem from the Labor Day weekend:
My husband, daughter (Reagan Olivia), and I were at an antique steam show in a nearby county in Indiana. The kid loves trains. 🙂 We were waiting for Daddy to come back to the toy train table, when I heard it…
“Anakin, put the train down and come on.”
Yes, it was that Anakin. sigh.

cirrus1701 on September 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Agreed! Plus, as Cathloics, we have a tradition of naming our kids after Saints. Granted, there are some pretty unusual Saint’s names (Norbert being one that is not exactly in style these days). But, for the most part, they are solid, familiar names.

dm60462 on September 3, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Also, the spring months, April, May or June, and names that are close to fruit; for instance, Sherri is not a fruit, but is close to Cherry. Whenever I’m at a business meeting & encounter a woman with a screwy name like this, it’s hard, at least initially to take her seriously. I don’t think Hope, Faith or Charity are much better. You’re talking with Faith about a business deal? Hard to keep a straight face or think of her as an adult. If I work out on a treadmill should I call my son ‘treadmill’? Just more more example of narcissism, naming a son or daughter to show vanity towards your hobby, or similar things. The feminization of society.

c f on September 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm

George Foreman (The former boxer) has five sons. All named George.
I think what George Foreman did is even worse than giving your kids ridiculous names.

I_am_me on September 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm

What are your kids’ names, Debbie?

JoeChill on September 3, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Forget this name nonsense. Give your kid a number as starter name, and when they reach the age of 21, let them give themselves whatever name they choose. After all, it is their name.
For example, good starter names are:
#1 Son (where Son is the middle name)
and the non forgettable: 12345678

Happiness Pursuer on September 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Then there is the inner city three syllable rule which southern has pointed out to us “Shaniqua Schlussel. ; )”
I work(ed) in emergency medicine for many years and always hated triage for one specific thing and that was the stupid parents who name their kids with stoopid names. Bryttania comes to mind as an example. I can’t tell you how many times I would ask parents how to spell simple classic Christian names and get weird spellings.
And at times it can be dangerous especially in trauma situations where trauma kits are not used (a number system to tag everything like blood samples). Any lab or x-ray that cannot be matched exactly to the name is suspect and must be repeated. Thats why trauma centers started using numbered kits.

Azygos on September 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm

I like to look at some of the very old names that have not been used in centuries, many of them from the 10th century AD and on up:
For women: Ermengarde, Adela/Adelina, Matilda (or Maud) and Hedwig were very popular names for girls.
For men: Renaud/Reginald, Louis/Ludwig, Karlos/Charles, and Guillaume (Norman French for William) were popular names for boys.
The name “John” is the most widely used name in the world, that which you can find so many different variations of John, even a Japanese name for John: Yohane (“h” is silent).
And one more thing… don’t name your kid, “Cool”.

Bobby's Brain on September 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm

A funny thing that goes along with what you are saying…my 4 year old daughter is the only Mary in her school of 100. But rest assured there are several Aidan’s, Delaney’s, Bella’s, etc. It also boggles my mind when I try to purchase pre-printed trinkets for my daughter across the country (i.e. mugs, pencils, pens) and Mary is not there. And not to brag but Mary loves her name and we often receive comments about “how unique?” Go figure.

aislinn04 on September 3, 2008 at 10:03 pm

As much I despise Obama his kids names are nice. Sasha is a trendy name, but Malia is the Hawaiian version of Mary. Plus Malia sounds much better than Mary. As for Palin, oh well, if that is the worst then that is fine with me.

californiascreaming on September 4, 2008 at 1:26 am

WASPs frequently to use family as first names, and not for the girls: many of us consider it tacky unless they are obvious like Joy or Macy in our case.
Our family tends to name children for people we admire and love, even if they are not in the family itself. If you are not proud of your friends or family, I pity you. Remember that the Jews made a monument to Alexander the Great by naming children after him.
I have seen atrocitis with vogue name. Poor girls called Brie, when had their parent been smarter than tomatoes would have known to name them Aubrey and call them Bree say.
When I was in college many many girls were named Suzy, and later Jennifer and so forth. I think their parents have it right: they were totally fungible.

taffy on September 4, 2008 at 8:10 am

Dear Debbie,
How vapid can you be to make this the topic of your sermon on the day after Sarah (that’s a grand
old name….sorta like Mary…..another, but I digress) siglehandedly deconstructed the Obama
candidacy and all that you hate?
I do hope that my too girls names (Aileen and Colleen) don’t reflect on me too much and make my
point any less persuasive. In another galaxy I might just enter the discussion and agree with you
that some names used these days are over the top,
but it would have to be after a few more repeats of the Big Bang before I agree with you that the names Sarah Palin (and presumably her husband) chose for their children were anything but cute.
You should be ashamed of yourself for making any comparisom with the low lifes you mentioned here!

GW Bramhall on September 4, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Sarah Palin singlehandedly deconstructed the Obama candidacy? Ahahahahaha! What, during that astute Couric interview?

    Belcherstein on July 14, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Ok, who were all the saints and biblical people named after?

Tempus Fugit on September 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm

OK. My spouse had a list of rules when naming our kids. Our last name begins with “K”, so
1) The name can’t end with a hard “K” sound: (Clark, Jack, Barack (LOL as if), etc.) This wouldn’t roll of the tongue very well.
2) The name can’t be gender neutral: (Corey, Jamie, Kelly, etc.) Just don’t like ’em.
3) The name can’t have the ability to add a “Y” to the end of it: (Donny, Bobby, Sandy, Cindy, etc.) My mom does this with evey kid and grandkid and it drives my spouse crazy!
4) The name can’t be stupid, as outlined in Debbie’s column!
So we were challenged with this list 5 times. But, it was wasn’t much of a challenge as it was very easy to come up with the names.

you are right on September 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Somewhat, but not entirely, off-topic:
I cringe when I hear the following:
-“Woila” – now in widespread use, and more commonly heard than the correct “voila” (Fr.)
-“Eck cetera” – this malapropism is used increasingly
-The now-fully entrenched, but still utterly incorrect “Between you and I”
-Statements inflected so that they take on the characteristic of a question (example: “My name is Mary Jones, and I’ve lived in New York for ten years?”)
-In my area (lower NY State), young people – girls in particular, although I don’t know why – increasingly drop consonants, especially “T.” (Examples: 1.”My ca’ just had a li’er of ki’ens.” Translation: My cat just had a litter of kittens. 2. “I lost my keys, bu’ I know I ha’ them when I left.”)
Put all of the above together, and you’ll get this: “Look! I found the bu’erknife! Woila!
I knew I could find it? Between you and I, whoever pu’ it down shou’a though’ o’ where they left i’? I’ was with the spoons, forks, eck cetera.”
Valley Girl English. Evolving, but not in a good way. And, by the way, along with Lexi, I also know of a black woman named LaTrine. Mercifully for her, perhaps, she was never teased about her name, astoundingly, and, until recently enlightened, did not know what a latrine is.

commonsense on September 4, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Not sure if you have mentioned BHO’s mother who was named Stanley Ann. Her father wanted a boy and got a girl so he named her Stanley after himself. Talk about narcissism! Eventually she dropped the Stanley (hated it from what I’ve read) and went by Ann.

CarpeDiem on September 4, 2008 at 11:44 pm

I have no know why parents brand their children with bizarre names their kids have to defend the rest of their lives! The bizarre phenomenon I’ve seen seen in my Son’s own generation is bizarre misspellings of normal names, which explains why so many of those kids can’t spell. Even common names like “Barbara” (which means “stranger”) can create bad memories for an adult woman who grew up hearing her Mom say, all her life, “You were an accident that never should have been born!”
When I named my Son “Peter Andrew”, I never dreamed when I put all his initials “P.A.N.” on his lunchbox that the school kids would torment him unmercifully with the nickname “Peter Pan”!
There are so many bullies, not only in school, but in the adult World who judge people based solely on their name! Be very careful, parents, what you name your kids because Debbie Schlussel may end up making fun of your child’s name if you ever become famous! Seriously, be careful what you name your children because it will cost them a lot of unnecessary heartache growing up and it will also cost your children a whole lot of money to go through the Courts years later to legally change their name! I would never brand my little girl with the name “Apple”! GEEZ!

BJ1949 on September 5, 2008 at 2:53 am

What kind of name is Debbie??

Killakelli on September 5, 2008 at 10:43 am

Names are always a fun conversation (our son is named after a television character, but it’s ‘Jarod’; not very much of a reach…).
I agree with much of the above — but thought I’d chime in on the Palin family names; I found the girls’ names to be feminine, memorable, and not strange in any way. But for some reason the boys’ names came off as awkward.
But so long as they answer when they’re called…
I wonder, does every family recite a child’s FULL LEGAL NAME when they’re in serious trouble? We do. 🙂

MacBigot on September 5, 2008 at 12:05 pm

I find these answers pretentious and snobby.

M: Yes, telling the truth is “pretentious and snobby.” Facts are stubborn things, and sadly the right has become as idiotic as the left in refusing to hear them, when it comes to their chosen “messiahs.” DS

Martin on July 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Has anyone done a study on common prison names? I would think that Cole, Cain, Tyler and Travis would make the list.

Mike Hornstein on July 24, 2010 at 9:04 pm

So when are you going to have children to name, Debbie? I sense some jealousy on your part.

VanBon on October 31, 2010 at 12:50 am

Why do you waste your time even discussing such things. Worry about yourself, and your own family. I really really dislike Sarah Palin and her politics, and you have put me in a position where I now am defending her.

Get a life, and maybe take a class on how to present an argument without rambling like a moron.

Carrie on November 8, 2010 at 1:02 am

Their freaking names for god sake, if you have the time to analyze the names parents give their children YEARS before anything happened its ridiculous. Their names, what do yu have to say about the parents who have kids named after Paris or the months or the names of planets? Stop wasting your time analyzing something so stupid and irrelevant and spend your time actually doing something for the planet that’s not stupid. You should be fired because this article is beyond ridiculous, i don’t even like Sarah Palin but this is just such a waste and a sign of stupidity.

cas on November 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm

These names sound funny just because they are new. But people have been naming their children “weird” names for a long time. Some actually sound normal to us now and some sound dated but used to be more common …

April, Grace, Florence, June, Brittany, Olive, Rose, Felicity, Pearl, Christian, May, Austin, Violet, Carol, Prudence, Mercy, Iris, Ivy, Holly, Basil, Lily, Jasmine, Myrtle, Ginger, Destiny, Hope, Ruby, Joy, Hazel, Scarlet, Noel, Brooke, Crystal … and by the way, America came from Amerigo, a first name, just like many other words like August (Augustus) and July (Julius) or last names, Braille, Caesarean.

Somehow all these people with these “weird” names made it through life. Do a little genealogy research and you’ll discover some pretty unusual names as well as unusual versions/spellings.

You might like to live in Germany where all baby names must be officially approved.

mj121 on December 9, 2010 at 2:18 am

Wow, most of the names you mention as being out there and over the top are actually very common. why do you care? We cant all be named after bible character names. this does not make us or our children any less Christian. It is a personal choice as what we name our children. My daughters have different names and I am good with it. Yes, I think some people use some out there names and they can be a little weird. not for me, but not my child. They can always change their name when they are an adult.

You should find something else to worry yourself about.

Omara on January 5, 2011 at 1:42 am

Personally, I like odd names. I was named for my great grandmothers and my husband is a JR so we decided to go a differ route. We have Kassidie Lynn, Salem Kiah, Rhys Douglas Parker, Broox Finnley and Jasper Elliot. I don’t judge what people name their children. I had names like Aubbie Michelle and Ophelia Ember and Rune Burdell picked out. I would never name my child Apple or Bear Bleu, but to each their own. Our grandparents hated the names our parents picked out….it’ll never change.

Anna on September 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am not a Donald Trump fan but his granddaughter has a lovely name of Arabella and I think it’s a nice change from Isabella!

Bridget on January 23, 2016 at 12:39 am

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