Who'd have thought that A Knight's Tale would be the touchstone for understanding this generation of parents. The New York Times reveals that both the film's lead actors had kids, AND they both gave them weird names! And thus, in one single Xena-style cheesefest, the soul and psyche of our weird-name-bestowing celebrity parent-worshipping culture is laid bare.
See, see, Shannyn Sossamon named her kid Audio Science, and Heath Ledger named his kid Matilda! Which is great, except that a) Matilda's not really that unusual a name, and b) Shannyn Sossamon's not a celebrity.
The article, which is clearly pegged to the birth of Moses Martin, unintentionally demonstrates the fatally flawed logic of celebrity-based analysis [and not just because practically everyone quoted in it is a therapist in Los Angeles "who has had actors on his patient roster."]
I think if you took an actual, number-crunching look at it, celebrities, or "celebrities," in this case, aren't that much more likely to give their kid an unusual name than the rest of us. Moxie Crimefighter and Audio Science are definitely odd, but they're just the ones we've heard of. Hundreds of people name their kids Lexus every year, only they're not on E! promoting a film. [In fact, I'd bet that Penn Jillette and Shannyn Sossamon are more famous lately for their kids' names than for anything else. Anyone want to run a quick Nexis search on that?]
Likewise, if the proliferation of Avas and Romans indicates anything, it's that actors are as susceptible as the rest of us to trends. Matilda's an old-fashioned name, and old-fashioned names are hot these days. And Moses? Since 1990 at least, Moses has been hovering around #500 on the Social Security Administration's top 1000; in 2004, it was #514 in 2004, above Moshe (#664), but below Moises (#361).
Why Stars Name Babies Moxie, Moses and Apple [nyt]
Previously: Strawberry, Apple. Apple, Strawberry.