Name Quotes #99: Silbestre, Iris, Kin

Silbestre Esquivel’s inscription (via Petrified Forest NP’s IG)

About the historical “Silbestre Esquivel” inscription inside Petrified Forest National Park:

Who was Silbestre Esquivel? In 1811, he inscribed his name in what would become Petrified Forest National Park. Was he passing through? Was he a lonely cowboy or shepherd? Even the history of discovery of the inscription is mysterious. Two different articles in a magazine and a newspaper in 1943 and 1945 claim to discover the name. The earlier one found it by directions from a business woman in the area—wouldn’t she be the one to have discovered it? A professional photographer, Michael Bend, did find out that the man was part of a party traveling from Santa Fe to Utah lead by José Rafaél Sarracino to trade with the Ute people. Such fascinating secrets!

(The name Silbestre — like the related name Sylvester — can be traced back to the Latin word silva, meaning “forest.”)

From Blake Lively’s WIRED Autocomplete Interview [vid] with Anna Kendrick:

Anna: How did Blake Lively…get her name?
Blake: My grandmother’s brother was named Blake.
A: Oh!
B: But he was murdered. So thanks for asking, Google.
A: She’s so dark.

From a Louder interview with John Rzeznik about the Goo Goo Dolls’ hit song “Iris”:

By the time Rzeznik had ironed out some of the “ugly chord sequences”, he had a swooning future classic on his hands. Only the name was required. “I’m horrible at naming songs,” he says, “so it’s the last thing I do. I was looking through a magazine called LA Weekly and saw that a great singer-songwriter called Iris DeMent was playing in town. I was, like: ‘Wow! What a beautiful name.’

(The song doesn’t actually include the name Iris in the lyrics, and yet the usage of the baby name Iris does seem to rise at a faster rate in 1998 and 1999, so…did the song influence the name? Wdyt?)

From the book Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State (2016) by James E. St. Clair:

Amid much publicity in the early 1950s, [Herb Shriner and his wife] had given their children names that reflected his Hoosier heritage: They had a daughter named Indiana (known as “Indy”) and a son, Kin, named in honor of Abe Martin creator Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard. Kin Shriner became a soap opera actor; his twin brother, Wil (named for Will Rogers, but with one l), became a comedian, television, director, and talk show host with a laid-back style reminiscent of his father.

From an essay about names in The Arizona Republic by Karina Bland:

When Jim and I were choosing a name for our son, we turned to the dictionary.

Sawyer has three half-siblings — Sonnet, Sky and Savannah. Each name is an actual word, not a name like Sam or Sarah. We wanted to do the same for this baby.

Our list is still there in my Random House College Dictionary with the red cover — 22 possibilities neatly printed in purple pencil on the back of a sheet of paper shaped like a cluster of grapes: Street, South, Story, Satchel, Sage, Saracen.

We had narrowed it down to a handful — Storm, Sawyer, Story, Scout, Scarlet — when we saw him on an ultrasound for the first time. A boy. And he was instantly Sawyer, one fist raised above his head, all boyhood and adventure.

From an essay on baby names in The Guardian by Ed Cumming:

The one truly radical act for a British parent is to pluck a name from further down the class ladder. Yet it might not be the worst idea for the downwardly mobile upper-middle classes, whose jobs in accounting and law are about to be replaced by Elon’s robots. They continue to worry that Liam or Wayne wouldn’t fit in at Eton, little realising that will be the least of their concerns. Cressida and Monty will have a much harder time fitting in at the robot repair shop.

Name Quotes #98: Judith, Xochitl, Rajaonina

From an article about famous people reclaiming their names in The Guardian:

Earlier this year, the BBC presenter formerly known as Ben Bland changed his surname to Boulos to celebrate his maternal Sudanese-Egyptian heritage.

[…]

The Bland name had masked important aspects of his identity that he had downplayed as a child, not wanting to be seen as in any way “different”, including his Coptic faith, Boulos said. “Every name tells a story – and I want mine to give a more complete picture of who I am.”

Boulos’s grandparents, who came to Britain in the 1920s, had chosen the surname Bland because they feared using the Jewish-Germanic family name “Blumenthal”. “They decided on the blandest name possible — literally — to ensure their survival,” he wrote.

(Two more quotes on name-reclaiming were in last month’s quote post.)

Actress Camila Mendes [vid] talking about her name on The Late Late Show With James Corden in 2017:

So my name is Camila Mendes, and there’s a singer called Camila Cabello, and a singer called Shawn Mendes. And people seem to think my Twitter is a fan account for that relationship.

From the book I Speak of the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (2015) by Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo:

Babies were baptized with new and strange names, particularly in the 1920s, names taken from the titles of various socialist experiments (for instance, in Tabasco with Garrido Canaval, who established socialist baptisms), and as a result of the emergence of the radio and the indigenist turn of the city’s language. Masiosare became a boy’s name (derived from a stanza of the national anthem: “Mas si osare un extraño enemigo…”), but also Alcazelser (after the popularity of Alka-Seltzer), Xochitl, Tenoch, Cuauhtémoc, Tonatihu (the biblically named Lázaro Cárdenas named his son Cuauhtémoc).

From a Good Morning America article about ’90s sitcom Saved by the Bell:

The names of characters came from people [executive producer Peter] Engel knew growing up.

“I knew a guy named Screech Washington. He was a producer. I said I’m not going to hire him, but I’m going to steal your name,” he said. “Slater was a kid who was in my son’s kindergarten class, Zack was named after my dear, dear friend, John DeLorean. […] His son’s name was Zack. Lisa Turtle was a girl I knew and Mr. Belding, Richard Belding, had been my cranky editor when I worked at Universal.”

From the book Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood (2004) by Robert S. Birchard:

DeMille interviewed Gloria Stuart for the part of the high school girl [in This Day and Age], Gay Merrick, and said she was “extremely enthusiastic,” and he also considered Paramount contract player Grace Bradley, but ultimately he selected a former model who called herself Mari Colman. In April 1933 Colman won a Paramount screen test in a New York beauty competition, and DeMille was apparently delighted by the innocent image she projected.

In a comic sequence in David O. Selznick’s 1937 production of A Star Is Born, the studio’s latest discovery, Esther Blodgett, is given a new name more in keeping with her status as a movie starlet. As This Day and Age was getting ready to roll, Mari Colman was subjected to the same treatment as DeMille and Paramount tested long lists of potential screen names. Among the suggestions were Betty Barnes, Doris Bruce, Alice Harper, Grace Gardner, Chloris Deane, and Marie Blaire. Colman herself suggested Pamela Drake or Erin Drake. On May 15, Jack Cooper wrote DeMille that he had tried several names on seventeen people. Eleven voted for the name Doris Manning; the other six held out for Doris Drake. Somehow, the name ultimately bestowed upon her was Judith Allen. DeMille and Paramount had high hopes for Allen, and she was even seen around town in the company of Gary Cooper, one of the studio’s biggest stars.

From an academic paper by Denis Regnier called “Naming and name changing in postcolonial Madagascar” (2016):

Nowadays, most names borne by individuals in Madagascar are a particular mix of foreign names (mainly Christian, French, or British but sometimes Muslim) and Malagasy names. This is because the spread of the Christian faith in the nineteenth century resulted in people increasingly giving names from the Bible to their children. These biblical names were often modified to follow the phonological and morphological rules of the Malagasy language (e.g., John becomes Jaonina or Jaona), and often the honorific particle Ra-, the word andriana (lord), or both were added to them (e.g., Rajaonina and Randrianarijaona). While at the beginning of Christian evangelization most people still had, in traditional Malagasy fashion, only one name, progressively the most common structure of names became “binomial,” as Gueunier calls it (Gueunier 2012, 197). In this case, a Christian name (or other foreign name) is often juxtaposed to a Malagasy name, although sometimes both names are of Malagasy origin or, more rarely, both names are foreign.

And let’s end with a related quote about Madagascar’s very long names:

Names were reduced in length when French colonization began in 1896 — the shortest names today include Rakotoarisoa, Rakotonirina, Andrianjafy or Andrianirina, and tend to have around 12 characters minimum.

Name Quotes #97: Netley, Cordelia, O’Shea

Anne Shirley quote

From the book Anne of Green Gables (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a conversation about names between characters Anne Shirley and Marilla Cuthbert:

“Well, don’t cry any more. We’re not going to turn you out-of-doors to-night. You’ll have to stay here until we investigate this affair. What’s your name?”

The child hesitated for a moment.

“Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

“Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?”

“No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

“I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

“Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

“Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

“Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia–at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

“What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

“Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”

From a Graham Norton Show episode [vid] that aired in January, 2016, in which comedian Kevin Hart talks about baby names following a discussion between Graham and Ice Cube about Cube’s birth name (O’Shea Jackson):

Lemme educate you on something. Black people are notorious for picking things that they saw one day and saying, “That’s my baby name.” That’s all that was. That’s all that was, Graham. It was nothing — there was no amazing story behind it. We’d love to tell you, yes, it actually came from a Irish forefather that did this…that’s not the case. His mother was reading the paper, and she was eating some cereal, and somebody in back said, “O’Shea!” She said, “That’d be a good name for the baby.” That’s it. That’s how it happened.

From a New York Times interview with Kate Winslet:

[Ms. Winslet] has a son, Bear, 7, with her current husband, who has gone back to his original name, Edward Abel Smith, from his playful pseudonym, Ned Rocknroll.

“He added ‘Winslet’ as one of his middle names, just simply because the children have Winslet,” the actress said. “When we’re all traveling together, to all have that name on the passports makes life easier.” (Bear’s middle name is Blaze, after the fire that Kate and Ned escaped that burned down the British Virgin Islands home of Richard Branson, her husband’s uncle.)

(The article also mentioned that a Delco sandwich shop now sells a hoagie called “The Mare” in honor of Kate’s Mare of Easttown character, Mare Sheehan.)

From a Vogue UK interview with Thandiwe Newton (whose first name means “beloved” in Zulu):

Meanwhile Thandiwe and her younger brother attended a Catholic primary school run by joyless nuns […] where the W of her name drifted inward, out of sight and earshot, in a futile hope to make her feel less different.

[…]

No longer is Newton afraid of the red carpet because of how much it reminded her of her invisibility, and she looks forward to a future where the illusion of race will no longer narrow who we are. […] All her future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton, after the W was carelessly missed out from her first credit. Now she’s in control. Many lives lived and she’s come out triumphant, preserved in the magic of the mist and sun that made her, and wanted her to shine. “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

Speaking of reclaiming names…from an article about immigrants reclaiming anglicized names on PEI (the speaker is a man named Chijioke Amadi, originally from Nigeria):

“What I didn’t really know then was I was trying to fit in, because that’s what society made me think, that my name was so hard to pronounce.”

Ironically, he found that going by CJ made it harder to fit in with his own community.

“The fact that I never used my real name made my community start veering away from me, rather than coming towards me,” he said.

“It makes you second guess who you are, what you are.”

From a review of a book about famous English con man/writer Netley Lucas (born circa 1903, died 1940):

Anyone keen to make sense of the chaotic career of Netley Lucas could usefully begin by compiling a list of his aliases. I managed a dozen; there are doubtless more. They include the debt-bilking naval officer Gerald Chilfont; the travel agency-swindling Viscount Knebworth; that fabled Asian potentate the Emir of Kurdistan, in whose name Lucas reserved accommodation at the Savoy; the hotel-haunting Honourable Basil Vaughan; the celebrity biographer Evelyn Graham; and a certain Lady Angela Stanley who, proposing to write a life of Queen Alexandra based on her years as a lady-in-waiting, was discovered to be quite unknown to the royal household that had supposedly employed her.

(He also claimed that he was born aboard a yacht anchored near the village of Netley in Southhampton, and that this was the source of his first name.)

From an article about Mormon baby names by USU professor Jennifer Mansfield:

It seems as though members [of the LDS Church] in Utah feel so similar to everyone else that (consciously or unconsciously) they try to find other ways to express their individuality in ways that do not carry negative consequences. Names carry an especially heavy weight in the LDS Church (perhaps inspired to some extent by Helaman 5:6-7), so naming feels like a meaningful place to invest creativity without suffering the repercussions that come from being different in other ways.

That all being said, my strong impression is that very few Mormons deliberately use baby naming practices to rebel against the pressures of social conformity that come along with being part of a tight-knit religious subculture. No one I’ve spoken with seems to realize that their “unique” names are not unique at all, but instead are yet another characteristic they share with many of their Mormon neighbors.

Name Quotes #96: Walker, Huascar, Keith

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the NPS booklet Bears of Brooks River 2018 (PDF):

Bears at Brooks River are assigned numbers for monitoring, management, and identification purposes. Inevitably, some bears acquire nicknames from staff and these nicknames are included in this book, but naming wild animals is not without controversy. Is it appropriate to name wild animals?

[…]

Names also carry meaning, intentionally or not. What stigmas would you attach to a young bear nicknamed Fluffy versus a large male bear named Killer? How would those stigmas alter your experience when watching that animal?

[The booklet also included the nicknames of various Katmai bears, including “Walker” (whose “large dark eye rings” were reminiscent of zombie eyes) and “Evander” (who was missing part of an ear, much like Evander Holyfield after his 1997 fight with Mike Tyson).]

Bear 151, aka “Walker,” in 2016 (NPS)

From the 2011 book Children in the Roman Empire by Christian Laes:

A first important moment in the lives of newborns was the day of naming, or dies lustricus, when the family celebrated not only the purification and naming of the young child, but also his or her entry into social life. […] On this day of naming, the ninth day after birth for boys and the eighth day for girls, the baby underwent purification rites and was ‘born socially’ as it were. Only after the naming was the child recognised by the state. […] Prior to the dies lustricus, an infant was considered to be ‘more like a plant than an animal’.

From the 1812 book A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels (Vol. 4), edited by Robert Kerr:

When the eldest son of Huana Capac was born, he ordered a prodigious chain or cable of gold to be made, so large and heavy that two hundred men were hardly able to lift it. In remembrance of this circumstance, the infant was named Huascar, which signifies a cable or large rope, as the Peruvians have no word in their language signifying a chain. To this name of Huascar was added the surname Inca, belonging to all their kings, just as Augustus was given to all the Roman emperors.

[The name Huascar was a one-hit wonder in the SSA data in 1997, incidentally.]

From the Scary Mommy essay “I Regret My Kids’ Religious Names” by Alicia Mosby:

So I’m not blanket-condemning religious names. It’s about a problem we have with the religion: we left it. At the time we named our sons, we believed they needed to have religious names, and we named them accordingly. Now I don’t believe it, and I wish I had takebacks. You can’t say “well, you should have thought of that before,” because no one thinks they’re going to leave their religion, especially that one [Catholicism]. It’s not a contingency you plan for. In fact, when we did leave it, we were stunned and lost for a very long time.

[…]

Right now, I’m regretting the hold this religion exercised on my children’s names. No more and no less. It told me to give my kids religious names. So I gave them all very, very religious names.

From a People interview with Mindy Kaling (whose two children are named Katherine Swati and Spencer Avu):

“I don’t trust my own judgment with those kinds of names,” she admits. “If I name my son River, that connotes a certain kind of person who is very go with the flow, artsy. But what if he’s not like that at all? Will he be furious with me?”

“I just tried to pick classic names that felt like they would have to work really hard to get mad at me about later,” Kaling says, with a laugh.

From a Daily Mail article about nominative determinism:

And now, a man called Keith Weed has been appointed president of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Of course he has. Especially when you hear that his father’s name was Weed and his mother’s name was Hedges.

‘If a Weed gets together with a Hedges, I think they’re going to give birth to the president of the RHS,’ said Mr Weed, 59, who lives near RHS Wisley in Surrey.

Name Quotes #95: Caoimhe, Warren, Jolene

sorry your name is karen

From the apologetic M&M’s Super Bowl commercial :

“Sorry I called you Karen.”

“That’s my name.”

“Sorry your name is Karen.”

Some interesting thoughts on why only certain Irish names tend to be anglicized, from the Irish Arts Center:

“Caoimhe” has been consistently more popular than the anglicized spelling, “Keeva.” How did this happen when so many other Irish names appeared to make concessions to English spelling norms?

While Medb/Maeve, Sadhbh/Sive, Seán/Shawn and other names were popular at a time when the Irish language and pride in Irish identity was against the ropes, Caoimhe and Fiadh are names that rose in the ranks when Ireland was swaggering culturally and commercially. It was also a time when Irish language television and schools were making strides.

Caoimhe is one of the names given by parents to the first generation of daughters not expected to emigrate, who would grow up surrounded by people who would know that the “mh” sounds like a “v” in the middle or at the end of a word.

…And another quote from the same site that I just couldn’t leave behind:

Teachers warning their students of the importance of a fada will often point out that without the accent, Orla (‘uhr-lah’) would mean “vomit” rather than “golden princess.” However, Órlas have to live with this indignity in an online world where many websites won’t accept non-standard characters.

[According to this letter to the Irish Times, the same holds true for the names Méabh and Síne, which, without the fadas, turn into the words meabh, “hen,” and sine, “nipple.”]

From a Telegraph essay by Warren Watson (b. 1950), who had a “surprise” twin brother named Wayne.

So, what happened to the name William? […] It was the traditional family name for a Watson male, going back at least four generations in England and Scotland.

Fairness was paramount for my mom, you see. […] If I were named William, it would not be fair to my twin brother. So, neither Watson would be honored with the family name.

In 1950, she dug out a baby name book, purchased earlier at the Rexall drug store downtown. “Warren” and “Wayne” sat there in the same column. So, “Warren” and “Wayne” they would be. In alphabetical order, of course.

From Larry King’s 2016 interview with Dolly Parton [vid]:

Years ago when my song ‘Jolene’ came out, I came home one day from work, we had our new home in Brentwood, and there was a basket at the gate, and I thought, “Oh, somebody’s left us some food or something.” And I looked in it, and there was a baby in it, and there was a note that said, “My name is Jolene and I want you to have me. You can have me for keeps,” or something to that effect. And I freaked out.

[Dolly ended up calling the police, who came and took the baby away. She never found out what became of little Jolene.]

From a Condé Nast Traveler article about hotels using artificial intelligence, including robots with interesting names:

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the M Social hotel is using a front-of-house robot called Aura to deliver small amenities like water, towels, and toiletries to rooms. Another robot, Ausca, cooks your eggs in the morning. Elsewhere in the city, Hotel Jen uses colorful butler robots named Jeno and Jena to perform guest services that include in-room dining delivery.

From a 2014 Macklemore AMA on Reddit:

Mack-La-More is how it’s pronounced

Should have picked an easier name to say