What's the world coming to! Longstanding urban legends about newborn babies being saddled with bizarre names based on product brands ("Orange Jell-O" and the like) have given way to the disconcerting reality that more and more American children are actually growing up with first names like "Celica," "Xerox," "Timberland," and "Espn."
According to a BBC News report on the phenomenon, Bellevue University psychology professor Cleveland Evans, who has been tracking baby naming trends for over a quarter-century, says these days American parents are more keen on making their kids stand out than fit in, and are looking further and further afield for unique forenames to accomplish that.
If you think it's unprecedented that people would give their babies hoity-toity names like Armani (after the fashion house), or Courvoisier (after the cognac), think again. "It is no different from the 19th century when parents named their children Ruby or Opal," Evans told the BBC, "it reflects their aspirations."
I predict a new trend in the coming years: kids changing their names when they reach legal age to tried-and-true monikers like "Robert," "Alice," "Jennifer," and "Dave."