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What do I love about this? The fact that you actually take the time to be accurate about Scrabble values of different names, deducting 10 points from double-Z names since there is only one Z tile! Your attention to detail is stunning.
I got them all! It's interesting to see a name from this perspective.
I was so undecided this year that I didn't even weigh in on the NOTY post. Your analysis of the trends and impact of the news stories on the name are insightful (as always) and now I can totally see Harvey as the NOTY. Brava!
Lots to love here! These are my very favorites: Betty, Harriet, Lois, Marjorie, Mavis, Maxine, Opal, Petra, Una, Alvin, Conrad, Cosmo, Ned, Oti, and Roy.
Laura, I'm so sorry to hear about your father.
My grandfather, Anthony, was called Tony by his siblings, but friends gave him the nickname Bob when he was a teenager and that's how I always knew him. He was even in the phonebook as A. Bob LASTNAME. :)
@Nesslee, according to Baby Names of Ireland's site (babynamesofireland dot com), 'keeva' is correct.
Nicely done! Excellent analysis, as always.
@TheOtherHungarian - I was surprised by Rage too. That seems hard to spin as a positive, but I guess some people must at least try.
I have to say PJ's assessment of Boaty McBoatface - "Be careful what you ask for, crowd sourcing, what is and is not a "legitimate" process or name, an underdog that's not taken seriously for good reasons that surprisingly wins, and the element of ridiculous absurdidity that becomes part of public discourse. Sounds like a name to represent 2016 to me." - is compelling, and encapsulates a lot of what went on in 2016.
I'm thinking this may be the NOTY.
(And I totally agree about the discussion not devolving into mud-slinging. BNW readers are awesome!)
I understand your claification, Laura, and I think alt-right is a proper noun. I'd sooner say Brexit doesn't fit the criterion outlined than alt-right.
@jwanders, I had to laugh at Boaty McBoatface!
As much as it pains me personally to do so, I'm casting my vote for "alt-right" with a second place vote for "Brexit."
I agree with Karyn's assessment that the name is a huge part of the alt-right story. If they'd called themselves what they are - white supremacists and white nationalists - they'd never have gained the traction in the mainstream media that they have. The push to rebrand them more honestly further demonstrates the importance of the name to the story.
With regard to Brexit, I can't say it better than CDGH, "That's an important story and encapsulation of a worldwide political moment, all tied up in a distinctive name. Endlessly flexible (Grexit?) and begging for parody (Quitaly? Portugone? Bailgaria? Polskedaddle?), the name is a big part of the story."
My favorite pairing in the top 1000? Number 992 - Frankie and Frankie! :)
I used to know a mother-daughter pair, Melissa and Melinda. I had such a hard time keeping them straight. I finally lit on the fact that "daughter" and Melinda both had Ds in them.
As for fictional characters with confusing names, how about Criminal Minds with Erin Strauss and Aaron Hotchner? I know some people pronounce those names differently and there would be no confusion, but I say them the same and people on the show do too. True, Aaron is most often Hotch, but I find it unnecessarily confusing. Plus, she doesn't seem the right age to be an Erin!
I'm not a fan of this style myself, but I have known a girl called Queen (she'd be 14 now) and one called Princess (she's probably 15 or 16). While I wouldn't choose either of those names, they don't strike me as particularly over the top. I think a name like Messiah, with strong religious meaning for many, would be much harder to wear.
Hmmm, Caitlyn or Charlie ... the name is central in many ways to both stories. However, a stronger case can be made for Caitlyn, especially if the focus is on personal names (Laura's comment ^^). Here is a situation where an individual actively chose not just a new name, but a new identity partly embodied by the name, for herself.
Laura, the cat's name is Juan. :)
I absolutely agree about the typical-adult name, Laura, but I had to share that I have a friend whose dog's name IS Kenneth! :)
My daughter just traversed the rocky shoals of middle school successfully with the name Astrid. Was there some teasing? Sure, but teasing is part of middle school and if it isn't someone's name, there are loads of other triggers. She generally owns the more scatological elements along the teasing spectrum, even incorporating one into an Instagram handle.
Plus, this is her name for a lifetime, so much more of which is spent as an adult, where you'd hope people could move beyond name-based teasing.
We think it's a fantastic name and, so far, so does she.
@Beth01 - I also like Myrtle so you're not alone!
As for name crushes, I love Abraham (my husband vetoed this as sounding like an elderly Jewish man), Laszlo and Pablo (not ethnic matches for us; I'd feel weird using them), and Solveig and Tadhg (pronunciation problems). Mary is also a fave, but it's my mil's first name and although she goes by a double-barreled first, I still couldn't use it (we used only deceased relatives' names).
Laura, this is a very thoughtful, gracious exploration of the choice of Caitlyn. I appreciate particularly seeing something in the name blogosphere that didn't skewer her decision to select a name that doesn't match those from her birth generation. As you rightly point out, this isn't the same as a parent naming a new baby in 1949. It's an adult selecting a name for herself that reflects who she truly is. I'd guess many of us, given the chance to rename ourselves, wouldn't select another name popular in the year of our birth.