Pop Culture & The Meaning of Life

The 2012 Pop Culture Baby Naming Guide

My sister who lives in Florida is about to have a baby any day now. I say any day because she’s been ready like that for the past 9 months. She’s definitely not catching Angelina Jolie anytime soon. Or ever.

Since I’m about to become UncleClaytion again, I thought I would take time to comment on a topic that women go crazy over every year: What to name people who don’t exist yet.

My dog's pouting because he wants a cool and relevant name like Tolkien.

The  new list of most popular baby names came out recently and it appears as though people are taking their cues from pop culture. For example, the Kardashians and Twilight are influencing many young parents searching for just the right name to identify their flesh and blood for all time.

Maaaaaakes sense*.

As a result, we have a lot of Isabellas and Jacobs running around. The rest of us will just have to hold our collective breath in crushing anticipation of what the next pregnant Kardashian names her child. Sigh. Even writing that sentence satirically makes me want to punch myself in the face to numb the pain of reality.

Well, I thought I would hop into the debate since pop culture happens to be my area of expertise. I want your baby to have a name that will stand out and exude important characteristics like power and success or at the very least sound cool.

I want young parents and animal owners everywhere to stay ahead of the trends, so here is the 2012 baby naming guide, pop culture edition.

1. Katniss–The Hunger Games movie will change everything when it comes out in March 2012. Top name of the bunch? Katniss. But by 2013 you’ll also start seeing some babies named Primrose, Thresh, Rue, and maybe even Peeta.

2. Adele–She’s a singing sensation and ready to win a bunch of Grammy Awards. I would watch the show and all, but I’m sure I’ll be washing my dog’s hair or something. Musical runner up for boy name could be Bruno, as in Bruno Mars, as in I hope I don’t ever hear “The Lazy Song” ever again.

3. Muppet names–I’m thinking it’s about time for some new baby Muppets and wouldn’t be surprised if someone dropped a Kermit or even Beaker on their little Animal.

4. Thor–You know it’s going to happen.

5. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what a lovely name either Kate or Emily is. What do you mean I’m just saying those two because of some personal and selfish reason? Psshhaw. Emily was also my grandmas name, so that’s a nice bonus.

6. Selene–The new Underworld movie comes out in a couple weeks, and I’ve been waiting for, oh, years. Yes, it’s a Kate thing. But Selene really works for me IYKWIM.

7. Lorax–Dr. Suess is coming back to the screen in 2012, so maybe Lorax will catch on. Could work for either a boy or girl that you don’t really love.

8. Gatsby–Did you know that a new version of The Great Gatsby is hitting theaters for Christmas 2012? Leo DiCaprio is playing the iconic Jay Gatsby, so either half of his name works. I like that actually. Also look out for Daisy.

9. Abraham–It’s not coming out until summer 2012, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter excites me. Fantastic book. Maybe we’ll get a new wave of little Abe’s running around the countryside with throwing axes.

10. Alice–There’s another Resident Evil movie coming out next year. If that doesn’t make sense to you just check out Box Office Mojo and look at how many hundreds of millions the last one made. Alice continues to rise in popularity and is the name of the title character here. Also look out for Milla as in Jovovich.

The wildcard in all this is the guaranteed blockbuster The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 2012). By the time we get to 2013 it’ll be all Bilbo and Frodo and probably even Tolkien. That last one makes a great name for a pet.

So there you go sis and anyone else who relies on me for that perfect pitch of cultural relevance**. Or something.

*God help us.

**God help you.

What other baby names can we get from pop culture?

December 30, 2011 - Posted by | Humor, Life


  1. ha! great post. I had the opportunity to ride a 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 motorcycle this summer courtesy of Cycle World Magazine (thanks to an epic entry piece I wrote and submitted).

    My point is.. I named the bike Thor. 😉
    Fortunately for the bike, the name didn’t have a jarring impact on it’s life.

    Comment by Darlene Steelman | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Ha, nice! I wish I owned a real ninja. Maybe I would call him Thor too.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  2. Vampire Hunter is being made into a movie? YESSSSS. I tried to get my history-buff husband to read that book, but he just got mad and huffy and said, “Some idiot is going to think it’s real history.”

    Also, the Lorax part made me laugh.

    Comment by Meet the Buttrams | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • So you’re saying he was a huffy buff. Well, as a history professor, I was surprised at the research that went into the book. Very clever.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  3. J – Let us not forget Men in Black III comes out this year.

    Just sayin…

    Comment by adam | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Hey Adam! I considered that movie but didn’t have anything witty. Good call.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  4. Favorite actual kid names; Mystic Powers, and her sister, Rise Powers.

    Comment by Mary Jo Gibson | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Must’ve been born on a commune.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  5. Ha ha. It’s kind of silly how we name our kids, and then they’re stuck with our choices forever. It seems like we should name ourselves when we’re old enough. But, before we have names, what would people call us? Child A, Child B? Hmm, the one flaw in my amazing idea.
    I love coming up with pet names. I would like to name a pair of pets Ginger and Wasabi, and also give them names like Reginald and Ma’am. Ma’am would be funny because it would result in such sentences as “Don’t puke on the rug, Ma’am!” “Stop eating the Christmas tree, Ma’am!”

    Comment by duckofindeed | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • If I could name myself right now I’d go with Inglebert Picklesauce. This will change in 5 minutes, but it’s how I feel right now.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  6. My friend named her son Thor two years ago. She came up with it before the movie. I’m not sure if that is better or worse. Took me a year to realize it wasn’t a nickname.

    Comment by Marianne Hansen Rencher | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Hmm. I wonder if his middle name is Axe.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  7. Let’s not forget the classics. Kal-El? Jor-El?
    I name my cats after Supreme Court Justices.

    Comment by Melissa | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Yes. You KNOW me. And uber cool dork points for naming cats after SC justices!

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  8. I feel for all the poor little Lindsays out there. It’s always a crap-shoot naming your kid after a real person who is still alive. Safer to stick with the fictional names.
    I really do like Adele as a name. It’s classic, but unusual. And, I would almost consider having a kid just to name it Lorax.

    I name all my pets after characters from movies. I had a cat named H.I. and a rabbit named Ed (short for Edwina, turn to the right!). I think I told you about my dogs named Nikita, Ripley, and Mathilda.

    Comment by Amy | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You say interesting words 🙂

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

      • Gives me the warm fuzzies every time. 🙂

        Comment by Amy | December 31, 2011 | Reply

  9. Where were you 8 years ago when I started my child naming debacle? These names have much more oomph and meaning to them. I have apparently failed miserably on the naming front. I put two n’s in Fionna so it never gets spelled right, & for some reason the majority of people refer to or write poor Regan’s name as Ragen. (All the women just scrunched up their faces and moaned ooohhhh.) Liam gets a,”What? Leem?” And Keeley always gets pronounced as Kiwi! I wasn’t going for sound or coolness but rather meaning of the cool sounding names. Ohh,wait. Never mind. 🙂

    Comment by Jess | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Well, Liam should be easy. I like the names. At least you didn’t go with Destiny or something that really becomes a problem later in life.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  10. You forgot Susie!! I believe it will make a big comeback in 2012. Did you see the Verizon ad?

    Comment by susielindau | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I haven’t seen the Verizon ad, but you can DEFINITELY make a come back.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

      • It’s posted on my blog with What’s Up with Susie? I am sure you will recognize it!
        Happy New Year Clay!

        Comment by susielindau | December 31, 2011 | Reply

  11. Sara Grambusch and I just had this conversation when we blogged about The Hunger Games how it’s going to start a revolution of little Katniss’ and Bella’s and Peeta’s and Jacob’s. LOL. You know it WILL happen. I’m more afraid of the reality TV names that could start popping up. Suddenly a whole slew of Mehmet’s, Tabitha’s, and a colorful parade of miniature Real Housewives of whereverland… *shudder*

    Comment by Jess Witkins | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • “This is our little Snookie and we have The Situation on the way next month…” *double shudder*

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  12. When I was in the hospital with my third baby, the girl opposite whose sir name was Davidson, named her child HARLY, i kid you not!! c

    Comment by ceciliag | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I bet that was one gassy baby 😉

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  13. Great suggestions, Clay!
    This probably happens a lot. I wonder if there were a lot of Rhetts and Scarlets and Dorothys in the 1930s.

    PS – I hear that the new Gatsby movie is going to be in 3D. Please say it ain’t so.

    Comment by jacquelincangro | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • If you mean that me making great suggestions happens a lot then I have to agree. Of course, I also agree if you mean that pop culture baby naming happens a lot 😉 Gatsby in 3D? Why? Fitzgerald worked before we even had TV!

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  14. It may not be a pop culture reference, but ever since you introduced me to the name “Moonsauce” I’ve been eager to use it. Too bad I’m done having kids…

    Comment by Larry Hehn | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • $100 to the first parent in 2012 to name their baby Moonsauce! (You will split the cost with me, right Larry?)

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  15. I have fab suggestions from teaching internationally: for a girl…Pornchai or Arunrat; for a boy: Natapon or Nimrod.

    And Alice? My niece’s name. No prob though. Only if you’d made fun of Vivian. Or William. Or Leanne.


    Comment by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • That icon was supposed to be sticking its tongue out, not grinning…

      Comment by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I wasn’t making fun of anybody! Except maybe someone. But not Viv or Will. Matter of fact, William is back in top 10 yet again. Yay for your steady parenting hand Shirtless.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

      • I like to create conflict where none exists…keeps people on their toes. And Shirtless? Yes. I played a whole basketball tournament Shirtless when I was 18…

        Comment by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) | December 31, 2011 | Reply

  16. Bilbo: Great name for a sci-fi character or pet turtle- but for some reason I’d feel sort of dirty naming a child Bilbo. Good work on your list- shame, shame on the world for following the Kardashians and/or Twilight. 🙂

    Comment by Stephen Haggerty | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I think if someone ever introduced me to their pet turtle named Bilbo that I’d want to hold him. Unless it was a girl. Then that name wouldn’t make any sense.

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  17. I want a kid named Isabella Lorax. I think It works. Or Lorax Edward. Either way..Lorax will be thrown in there somehow.

    Comment by genesismeranda | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  18. Gaga should be a big one. And her twin, Googoo. 🙂

    Cute! Thanks for the smile. Happy New Year!

    Comment by Piper Bayard | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • If she was Asian we might be able to say that Gaga goes googoo for moo goo gai pan. Happy New Year to you too Piper!

      Comment by educlaytion | December 30, 2011 | Reply

  19. I once heard a mom at Chick-fil-A beckon her kid named Riker. Glad it wasn’t Spock or Worf. There may be a resurgence when the next movie comes out.

    Comment by Kim Wilson | December 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Nice! They could have a little Picard too. My mom and aunt once named an entire series of cats after Star Trek. I grew up alongside Captain Kirk and Uhura. Spock didn’t make it past the highway 😦 #illogicalkitty

      Comment by educlaytion | December 31, 2011 | Reply

  20. Love it clay….you make even simple things interesting and funny. which got me to thinking. is washington county full of doodles or what? i actually know a remington and a beau hunter (whose dad has camo windshield wipers)

    Comment by nicole | December 31, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Nicole =) And yes, WashPA is a special place.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 1, 2012 | Reply

  21. Frodo is a beautiful name.
    I think Zooey and Joseph Gordon will also be famous names this coming year.

    Comment by EllieAnn | December 31, 2011 | Reply

    • Good call! Zooey is definitely going to be there.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 1, 2012 | Reply

  22. You know what’s sad? I really wanted to name my daughter (when I have one) Isabella. Now I can’t because everyone will think it’s a Twilight reference.

    Let me just put it out there that my new daughter name is Liliana. There. I documented it on your blog.

    My boy name is…First name Sherlock, Middle name Holmes.

    Comment by thoughtsappear | January 1, 2012 | Reply

  23. Only one of my children was named for something from pop culture: My oldest, Kaylee, was named after a song popular a couple of years before she was born called “Kayleigh”…I modified the spelling because I thought would be easier (I was wrong). I feel bad when I run across girls named “Fallon” from the Dynasty TV series…ditto for “Shania.”

    Kaylee is pregnant with our second grandchild…she and Scott refuse to tell anyone what the baby’s name will be until it is born…

    Jim and I have been watching episodes of Eureka…there’s a granddaughter of John Carradine on there named “Ever Carradine.” I think that’s a pretty name…

    Happy New Year, Clay!


    Comment by writerwoman61 | January 2, 2012 | Reply

  24. […] blog Educlaytion.  His sister is about to have a baby, making him Uncleclaytion and he wrote an amusing piece on baby names.  Check it […]

    Pingback by 2012 Brought A Little 1987 With It | Six Ring Circus | January 2, 2012 | Reply

  25. Working at a children’s hospital for a year gave me a crash course in horrific baby names. Oh the stories I could tell you! I will say this to anyone naming their next child. Don’t name your daughter Neveah. You might thing it’s cute to spell Heaven backward but it’s not.

    Comment by HopefulLeigh | January 2, 2012 | Reply

    • Sorry, that would Nevaeh. But truly, both iterations are horrendous.

      Comment by HopefulLeigh | January 2, 2012 | Reply

  26. How could you forget “Sharlto” or “Wikus” with the next D9 movie coming out? I’m disappointed.

    Oh, and there’s always those old chestnuts “Bosco,” “Hannibal” and “Templeton,” not to mention “H.M.”

    Comment by Howlin' Mad Heather | January 4, 2012 | Reply

  27. […] The 2012 Pop Culture Baby Naming Guide ( […]

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  28. […] which is where I’m heading this afternoon as I fly to Florida in just a few hours to meet my newest nephew! Enjoy this guest offering from J Butt, America’s sweetheart and my hero. We may disagree on […]

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