I’m looking forward to this one – I’ve been hanging on to it for a while now.
A few weeks ago I took my daughter down to the local hip and happening spot for the vertically and age-challenged. It’s usually an interesting place to do some people watching. This particular time I was letting my little girl play in the sandpit, watching her wriggle her toes in amazement and grab great handfuls of it to try and sneak into her mouth when she thought I wasn’t watching. There were a few other kids there that I didn’t really pay much attention to until one of their mothers starts wrangling a few kids to leave and sounding exasperated yells out “Come ON Anakin” to a kid about 8 years old. Oh yes, you read that right, Anakin.
I know that crazy fans exist. I do. And for the most part I don’t necessarily have too much issue with parents naming their children something similar to their passions – just look at the ridiculous amounts of new babies named Bella, Edward and Jacob. I don’t particularly like Twilight, I think it’s terribly written and even more horribly acted, but if people want to name their kids after the characters at least the children will have some semblance of a normal upbringing and won’t be teased mercilessly because if they are horrendously embarrassed by their namesakes I’m sure they can at least throw out a couple of plausible sounding reasons why their parents chose to name them as they did – there’s been numerous kings named Edward and Edward James Olmos is pretty badass, Jacob has biblical connotations and Bella, well Isabella is a pretty famous Spanish Queen.
Naming your child something like Anakin is not giving a subtle nod to a thing you love, I think it’s a name that highlights the vanity of the parents. I don’t really know whether it was actually a name before George Lucas stamped Darth Vader all over it, but these days nobody hears that name and doesn’t make that connection. Anakin was a whiny teenager who totally disrespected everything and everyone at pretty much every turn he ever got, never got over his little temper tantrum and ended up slaughtering an entire organisation that opposed him, men, women AND children and began a long career of terrorising the galaxy and blowing up heavily populated planets simply to prove a point. Knowing all this, as I’m sure everyone who’s ever seen Star Wars probably would, how in good conscience can you name your child Anakin? You’re basically giving him license to grow up and be a brat, obviously you know what a poohead Darth Vader is yet you still loved him enough to name your son after him!
If you were inclined to name your child after a mass murdering head of a quasi-religious cult (and I sincerely hope that nobody EVER uses that as a reason to name their child), at least have the decency to name him something like Charles or Jim so he has a chance to fit in at school before he’s old enough to change his name. Otherwise, just maybe, he will grow up to have a chip on his shoulder the size of Darth Vader’s – especially if he’s forced to watch Star Wars starting from Episode I!