Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Monday, 9 May 2016

"An Ashley By Any Other Name"

I won't bore you with a map of the wormhole down which... no, one falls down rabbit holes, right? wormholes are more a matter of falling through, I think.... there. I've done it again.
Start over.
I won't go into how I ended up here, (thank you, Time Suck Yclept Interwebz), but because several young couples in my family are going through the minefield of whatever shall we name junior? and all the juniors so far have been girls, I found it arresting.
Large family, names have good and fairly immediate associations, but also, of course, unpleasant one; names are taken or over-taken; names create awkward monograms; names have too few or too many syllables for euphony; names sound too indicative of one nationality or another, (sometimes one appropriately enough claimed); names are oocky.
(That last is an actual, quoted appraisal of one suggestion.)
Add in some specific familial... I won't say requirements, but no one has defied certain expectations for generations... customs having to do with eldest offspring being named after a parent and bequests of purely sentimental value being given along with the name.
And smart aleck relatives who favor vaguely insulting or gross nicknames for pets and children.

Absent, yes, I will say sadly absent, from the negotiations is any thought of honoring ancestors, (other than in that one instance mentioned,) or the Faith.
This saddens me.
No thought of patronal saints, or looking to the liturgical calendar.

And with the resurgence of "old-fashioned" names for girls, (flowers, or Old Testament heroines,) there has been no trendy rise of virtue names, has there?
Well, I suppose modesty and constancy are no longer considered virtues, and "Purity" would just be tempting fate...

But there is an irony to the above linked piece from 1985, to a degree that would probably shock the author were she alive - she wondered why "pink" children, girls, were being given names that "mask their gender."
If only she had known! By 2016 we would have been past such creaky notions, that the options for an infant's gender were binary! What, only "boys" and "girls"?
What an antiquated notion!
Not only are there dozens of conceivable genders, being "fluid" in ones gender is a gender in and of itself!

But perhaps most important of all, masculinity or femininity is hardly something parents, or even medical personnel can tell, or would dare to assume just from looking at the little, squalling, red thing.

Brave New Relativistic World that has such creatures beings in it, we can't call them "creatures" because that would imply something or Someone created them, and that surely can't be right...

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