Call me Shiloh. A Friday piece in the WSJ's Weekend Journal cracks open past and present baby-naming trends, including the marketing of "Mary," the selling of "Sally" and the history of baby names like "Notwithstanding" (which -- its biblical source notwithstanding -- must be a doozy of a first name to bear). The feature also clocks the explosion of an industry, exploring the many ways a coterie of name mavens are both fueling and quelling "unprecedented levels of angst amongst parents trying to choose names for their children."
These self-described "nameologists," numerologists, sociologists, astrologers, consultants, writers and webmasters are all cashing in on parents' urge to give newborns a leg up any way they can, including agonizing over the most auspicious moniker. But the baby-naming industry is also cranking up the pressure to avoid screwing up your kid's name. Want to avoid the fate of a mother who Googled her chosen baby name only to find it taken by a British porn star? Look no further: Amazon alone offers 323 baby-naming books (a bounty that might trouble already indecisive parents), while a name page on iVillage.com warns, "you'll want the perfect name for embroidering on blankets... and cooing softly in baby's ear. And, of course, for hollering at the top of your lungs when sweet baby reaches puberty."
We expect to see the first name-middle name combo "Getoverhere Rightnow" start climbing the Social Security charts any day now.