Out on a name limb
Pilot Inspektor. Moxie CrimeFighter. Tryumph, Whizdom, and ESPN. Each of these has made headlines as a baby name in the past few years. Call them creative or call them crazy, they seem to come out of left field, breaking all the naming rules.
But even the wildest names are products of their times. The most famous celebrity baby name of all, Moon Unit, now shines as a clear reflection of the psychedelic '60s. In the same way, Pilot and ESPN carry the sound of today. They just carry it to extremes.
What is Pilot Inspektor, after all, but a tradesman name? That's been one of the hottest name categories for the past decade, and Pilot fits nicely at the macho end of the style. Hunter, Gunnar and Ryder are all popular choices in the same vein, not to mention Jett for the aviation theme.
CrimeFighter ratchets the energy up a notch, past the mere trade names. (Top-1000 name kin might be Maverick, Cannon and Blaze.) The real surprise is that it's a girl's name -- the middle name of young Moxie Jillette. Moxie is an inspired creation at the intersection of two popular styles. First, it's what I call a "guys and dolls" name. You picture Moxie as a jazz-age dame, getting into scrapes with guys names Buster and Rocky. Ruby, Sadie and Lola are all "doll" names that have come back strong, and near-match Max is hugely popular for boys.
At the same time, Moxie is a word name (meaning gumption). It bursts with confidence, which puts in right in line with the bold style of new meaning names for girls. Destiny and Justice fit the theme...as do Whizdom and Tryumph, the daughters of Jayson Williams.
ESPN is a brand name, a jock counterpart to girls named Lexus and Chanel. It stands out chiefly because of its fanciful spelling. Spoken aloud as "Espen," it has a thoroughly mainstream sound. Easton and Aspen are close matches, and the ubiquitous -n ending dominates current boys' names.
No matter how far we go out on a limb, it seems that limb still grows from the same naming tree. When Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette is Moon Unit Zappa's age, her name will probably sound like a perfect souvenir of 2005.