A question about politicians' names

  • Thread starter mech-eng
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  • #71
mal4mac
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Well, I don't remember anyone in my schooldays who was named 'Ian' or 'Trevor', both perfectly good names, but not particularly popular on this side of the pond, but it's a large leap to conclude that a particular name lacks popularity because it is some sort of insult, especially when the nature of the insult is so elusive.

Would you call your son Wally? (Not Walter - just Wally.) No? Why not? Would it be a large leap to conclude the name lacks popularity because it's an insult?
 
  • #72
SteamKing
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Would you call your son Wally? (Not Walter - just Wally.) No? Why not? Would it be a large leap to conclude the name lacks popularity because it's an insult?

Yes, I'm afraid it would. It violates Occam's razor in this instance.

The popularity of names waxes and wanes over time. There were once a lot of boys named Percival, but not so many nowadays. Is it because Percival morphed into a derogatory term of some sort? Unlikely. It could be because parents wanted to name their son Steve or Jim or Joshua, etc., and they felt Percival was old-fashioned or stuffy-sounding.

The Social Security Administration apparently has a lot of time on their hands, so they've compiled lists of the most popular given names over the last 100 years.

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/top5names.html

'Charles' was a top five boy's name throughout the 1920s, and then dropped off the list. 'Michael' debuted in the top spot in 1954 out of nowhere and stayed there until the late 1990's when it was knocked off by 'Jacob'. 'Michael' stayed a solid No. 2 or No. 3 for a few years afterward, but has since dropped out of the top 5. The most popular boy's name for 2013 was 'Noah' of all things. Apparently, the only reason for this was there was a movie of the same name being produced staring Russell Crowe; it certainly wasn't because arks had suddenly become popular again.

The name Wally is no insult. He's even got his own Facebook page, and I'm sure FB would not allow him to use his name if it were an insult or derogatory in any way:

https://www.facebook.com/whereswally

You're talking past me on whether 'Wally' is a desirable name for my offspring. I occasionally watch reruns of 'Leave it to Beaver', where the title character, Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver, has an older brother named 'Wally', whose given name was Wallace, instead of Walter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leave_It_to_Beaver

Now, if you want to give someone an insulting name, you call him 'Hitler' or something, but if the insulting nature of the name is so hidden or obscure that not one out of a hundred is aware of it, what's the point?
 

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