Wednesday, May 3, 2017

creative naming

So many people praise creativity, others prefer normalcy. When i am on the road, i do not want to see creative driving. Creativity can be parodied, and sometimes [as Johnny Carson used to say] it's just 'rip and read'. Football just had its draft of college players, here are a few consecutive selections from the first round:

24    Raiders        Gareon Conley           CB
25    Browns        Jabrill Peppers            S
26    Falcons        Takkarist McKinley    DE
27    Bills             Tre'Davious White     CB
28    Cowboys      Taco Charlton            DE

Some, perhaps, would call these 'ghetto names'; but we have an earlier American subculture being inventive with names, the Mormons. One 'blog' writer has annually put up a list of baby names from her hometown in southeastern Idaho. She divides them up in theme groups. The biggest group is "mix and match syllables", here is the group--pick any two, any order. Another category that she lists is geography, place names. Another she lists as 'WTF', random words, and odd spellings*. What i noticed, there is someone of national celebrity that was born in Idaho (different part), and has not been a Mormon, and has given her children such names: Track Cj, Trig Paxson Van, Bristol ..., Willow ..., and Piper Indie ... This person was on the ballot in 50 states.

Now, i have written about naming dogs and people. I think there are names appropriate for the one, and not for the other, some for neither. Four drafts ago, the Cleveland Browns chose Barkevious Mingo; however he is as a person, people laughed at the name. Sometimes, people have been advised not to give a name that would have other children mock and harass the child. When so many children in an area have odd names, what happens. Some black children have been bothered by others for having a 'white name'. I pity the teacher at roll call.

The first list, some people may guess to be names of Black Americans. Traditionally, there have been counted three generations in a century. Going back two full generations, the names of Black Americans, and Anglo or rather Anglicised (mostly white) Americans had similar given names. Then in the middle 1960s, two men who became national figures had changed their names. Now, some said this was a casting away of slave names, some say this a rejection of white culture.

Malcolm Little began writing his name "Malcolm X" in 1950. He wrote in his autobiography, "For me, my 'X' replaced the white slavemaster name of 'Little' which some blue-eyed devil named Little had imposed upon my paternal forebears."  Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was a world champion boxer, in 1964 he took a new religion, and a new Arab Moslem name, Muhammad Ali. He also noted, that, his birth name was a slave name. Other Black Americans who changed religions also took names form the culture of the new faith.

Some people, who were not changing faiths, or chose not to have a religion took, or named their children with traditional ethnic African names. Some were Swahili, and some were Bantu...and some were faux names in the style of African names. Female names were less traditional than names given to males, this is true throughout the US.

Beyond that just mentioned, things became weird, and weirder still. There are faux French names. Louisiana was both a slave state with a large black population, and a French past. Some French Christian names were given alternative spellings, Antoine becomes Antwan, Antony becomes Anfernee. Faux prefixes become prevalent (D', Da, De, J', Ja, L', La, Le, Sha).

Then the stupid rolls. Grandiose titles (Marquis, Baron, Fabulous), and adjectives become given names, and the names of objects, and the brands of expensive consumer goods (Tiffany, Cadillac). And finally nonsense syllables are strung together, not unlike gibberish from scrabble tiles, and ouija boards.
* There were odd jokes before, i think from Tom Lehrer and Charles Schultz. Some name was spelt Hen3ry, the '3' was silent.

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