Sunday, June 16, 2019

Kylo catching up to Anakin — Star Wars baby names for Fathers Day 2019

Once again, Happy Father's Day!   As I promised on Mother's Day and repeated earlier today, "I'm saving Star Wars names for Father's Day.  Stay tuned."

I begin by quoting what I wrote in Baby names from entertainment for Mother's Day 2018.
Unfortunately for Kylo, which was the name that increased the most in popularity in 2016, it was the name that dropped the second most in popularity in 2017, 245 places from 904th to 1149th.  The character's real name, Ben, fell 26 places to 729th place.  To add insult to injury, the actor's name, Adam, also fell two places to 77th.  On the other hand, Rey as a male name increased in popularity 99 places from to 769th.  As a female name, it didn't crack the top 1000.  The actress's name, Daisy, also became more popular, rising 20 places to 170th.  Leia also continues to rise in popularity, rising 43 places to reach 279th.  Oh, and Finn climbed eight places to 167th.  I take all these as signs that the Light Side is prevailing over the Dark.
The ultimate fate of Kylo Ren the character will not be determined until "Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker" is released in December, but Business Insider reported that the name is making a comeback.
The name Kylo also rose rapidly in popularity for boys, which appears to be inspired by the "Star Wars" villain Kylo Ren, played by actor Adam Driver in the reboot of the series.
Here's the graph showing Kylo returning to the top ten.

It had the eighth highest increase in popularity, rising 287 places from 1152 to 865, even higher than it ranked two years ago.  Kylo is catching up to Anakin, which fell 89 places from 739 to 828.  The character's real name, Ben, also improved its popularity, moving up 38 places from 730 to 692, also higher than it was two years ago.  Speaking of real names, the actor's name, Adam, fell just one place from 77 to 78th.

On the light side, Rey as a boy's name continued its climb, rising 21 places from 772 to 751.  As a female name, it once again failed to crack the top 100.  Luke rose just one spot from 30 to 29.  So did Finn, from 166 to 167.  On the other hand, Leia fell 14 places from 282 to 296.  The Light Side is catching up to the Dark Side, at least in popularity among baby names last year.

By the way, it's not just human babies being named after Star Wars characters.  ABC 6 in Philadelphia reported in January Missouri zoo names baby otters after Star Wars characters.

The Kansas City Zoo's names for three baby otters have fans joining the light side, including one well-known "Star Wars" alumnus. The Kansas City Star reports that the Asian small-clawed otter triplets born last October have been dubbed Han, Luke and Leia. The otters were introduced to zoo-goers for the first time on Friday.
May The Force be with all newborns given Star Wars names this past year, including the otters.


  1. My first reaction to reading this post was to write a sputtering ridicule of "Kylo" as a babyname, and then cop to having MY only child named after a notorious American stripper. ("Blaze" as in "Starr.")

    The deal with my first ex-wife was that if we were having a boy, I would get to name him, and if it was a girl, she got naming rights. XX chromosomes it was! So instead of a little Myfirstname Mymiddlename Myfamilyname VI -- because I am legally, on my birth certificate, Firstname Middlename Lastname the 5th, and my dad was Samenames the 4th, etc. -- my progeny shares a name with a 1960s burlesque queen.

    See, my first ex grew up in Miami Beach, she saw Blaze Starr's name on marquees back in the day and thought "That'd be cool..." I didn't object -- there was no objecting with X#1, which is part of the reason she's an X. Blaze knows the background to her handle, thinks it's interesting, and even met her namesake once (who lived in West Virginia and was a foul-mouthed harlot in real life. Not as intriguing as she was portrayed in the 1989 movie with Paul Newman.)

    Instead of ridiculing Kylo, tho, I'm feeling philosophical about names in general. Each culture has its conceits about what is proper to call a kid. Today, I gave an injection of a long-lasting antipsychotic medication to someone named Baiji. From a non-Anglo cultural background, of course. On a psych ward where I worked last month, there was a patient named "Robel" of African descent. Some Filipinos chose oddly historical names for their boychildren -- I've worked with Pinoy nurses named Rommel, Napoleon and Lenin. And don't get me started on the many variations of "Mohammed" one encounters in this land with its surprising number of Muslim residents.

    So no aspersions on Kylo from me. Seems kinda rare anyway. The name might have had a high PERCENTAGE change in terms of preferences from one year to another, but it's still way down in the totals, almost to "four-figure land." Hardly a comeback...

    1. "Myfirstname Mymiddlename Myfamilyname VI" -- That makes you sound like you come from old money.

      "there was no objecting with X#1, which is part of the reason she's an X" -- I can relate.

      I grew up in Los Angeles and worked in a medical reference lab where all the best gossip was in Tagalog. I resolved to learn the language. Then I got fired. End of language lessons.

      As for the commonality between Blaze and Kylo, both go to show the power of pop culture.

    2. "That makes you sound like you come from old money."

      Not old money so much as "old stability." Mainly on my dad's side. Mom's side was the standard mixed American lineage, with a hefty Scots-Irish middle Appalachian element (strengthening my affection for Bageant) but they couldn't trace themselves much further back than the 1850s. My paternal grandmother had a genealogy book, commercially printed and hardcover-bound, that followed various branches of her side of the family back through three or four centuries. One part of the Pitkin family line was listed as living in New England in the 1600s.

      No big money, though. I had one rellie, a childless great-aunt in New Jersey, who died the early 1990s with a net worth of $3.2 million, mainly the value of the house that she and my great-uncle lived in. It got split 11 ways, between my dad, my two sisters and me, plus some distant cousins in St. Louis I had never heard of. Wound up being about a third of a million U$ to each of us, which is always a nice thing to have laid in one's lap.

      There's a value to having a sense of where one came from, in terms of how a person defines themself. I've never been hung up on feeling like "I'm from some special family!" but I've also felt like I wasn't just a speck of humanity adrift with no connection to the past, either. It made me realise I was rooted*, not a tumbleweed. It seems to mean something to Blaze, too. I took her on a tour of the White House when she was still small enough to ride on my shoulders, and my dad pointed out a painting in one of the rooms done by Samuel Morse (inventor of Morse Code, which was the world's first Internet, if you look at it in historical terms, but he was also a painter.) Morse was a distant kin of my paternal granny, a fact she was inordinately proud of. That seemed to impress Blaze, that she had a connection to something in the presidential palace, that she was grounded in the American tradition.

      I compare that to many of the people I meet here in this land of descendants from convicts, refugees and other storm-tossed souls. I get a bad view of humanity because most of the patients I encounter are from broken family situations (a great predictor of mental illness.) So many don't know who their fathers are, much less great-grandparents. Then there are all the patients who come from troubled nations -- the South Sudanese, people whose families fled Lebanon or Vietnam during the 1970s, etc. I reckon it predisposes one to having problems (not causative, certainly, but increasing the odds) if one does not have a sense of their continuity in the human procession.

      As a uni instructor, do your classes have heaps of non-American students? I find immigrants to be much more interesting than Anglo types -- the diversity of cultural experiences they have compared to mine...

      * "Root" in Aussie slang means "fuck." One of my favourite smirky terms here. When you go to the footy pitch, you "barrack" for your team, not root for them. Unless you're a cheerleader under the grandstand...

    3. Thanks for sharing those vignettes of your family history. I can now say I know a relative of the inventor of Morse Code, which might live on past the collapse.

      I also have famous relatives, all of which are related to my paternal grandmother. The one that my family has the firmest connection to is Johnny Fry, the first Pony Express rider out of St. Joseph, Missouri. I write about him on National Donut Day, as local and family legend has him as the inspiration for the invention of the donut. That's not really true; a Massachusetts sea captain invented it decades before the farm girls of Kansas supposedly created donuts for him. He didn't leave any descendants as Quantrill's Raiders killed him in 1863, but his brother is my great-great-grandfather.

      I am also supposedly related to the Carrolls of Maryland, one of whom, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signed the Declaration of Independence. A painting of that event hangs in the Capitol. My father took me past it when I was young and pointed him out. His cousin Daniel Carroll signed both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. However, the genealogy isn't as clear about their relatedness as it is about Johnny Fry's.

      I actually teach at a community college, not a university, but I definitely have a lot of immigrants and children of immigrants in my classes. I count Albanians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Indians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Iraqis, particularly Chaldeans (Iraqi Catholics), among my current students. I've also had Hmong (ethnic minority in Vietnam and China), Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Yemenis, Bangladeshis, and Egyptians. Yes, Metro Detroit has a lot of thriving immigrant communities.

      I know that bit of Aussie slang. I worked with a son of an Aussie in Los Angeles, who told me this off-color joke. A woman invited a man over that she fancied to her place. She cooked him dinner, they ate, and they made love. Instead of staying the night, the man went home right afterwards. On his way out the door, the woman exclaimed "You wombat!" Curious, the man looked up wombat when he got home. The definition read, "a small furry creature that eats roots, shoots and leaves."

      Speaking of which, I celebrate a fake holiday called Souther that has a wombat for a mascot. Don't blame me; Greer came up with both the name and the mascot. This year, Souther will fall on July 21, which is also National Ice Cream Day. Ice cream and wombats!