Thank you for all of the submissions on the baby name scores. Since most people were understandably uncomfortable sharing full names on the internet, most of the scoring is honor-system which will prevent the March Madness name bracket. After watching BYU lose to Texas A&M tonight, it's probably better for many of you reading this blog to not have your hearts broken again by seeing your baby's name lose to somebody else's child. (I can just imagine an irate BYU fan yelling at the TV, "What in the heck is Tavernari thinking pulling up from 30 feet with a full minute remaining!" and then opening a browser to check the Baby Name Bracket and screaming, "How can our Rachel Jessica Stewart lose to Elizabeth Ruth Thompson!? That's a horrible name!" Believe me, it's just better this way.)
A total of 43 submission have been received and the average score is 76 points, which puts me toward the bottom end of the spectrum with my score of 67. I was surprised to see all of the scores that kept flooding in that were in the 80's. I had always thought that my name was at least average, if not above, but I was apparently mistaken. It's not like my parents named me LaDoyle Humphrey or anything like that, so what gives? One of the problems with any scoring system is that there will always be subjectivity in the process. I call this the Paula/Simon effect.
The differences in the way that Paula and Simon judge the singers on American Idol is hilarious. A performer could forget her lyrics, sing completely off key, dance awkwardly, and fall off the platform trying to preen for the crowd and Paula would say something like, "You look absolutely beautiful tonight. You took a risk and made the song your own. It might not have been your best performance, but you should be proud of what you have accomplished." Simon? He would say, "I hope somebody has a breath mint because I'm going to need one after throwing up halfway through that ghastly train wreck of a performance. (Pause for booing). I don't mean to be rude, but you should be drawn and quartered for that hate crime against music."
I am going to assume that there is some Paula/Simon bias in the process, but it is still worthwhile to see how the total scores came in:
While a name can definitely determine how rough childhood may be, I wanted to see if there is any correlation between how a name scores and how successful a person becomes later in life. I took five well-known LDS figures and put their names to the test. Had they all scored in the 80's then the argument could have been made that there is some correlation between the score of the baby name and the likelihood of future greatness. This was not the case. Those of us who scored below average can take solace in knowing that we are not necessarily doomed to future mediocrity. The five names I analyzed were Donnie Osmond, LaVell Edwards, Mitt Romney, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and Thomas S. Monson. Here is how they fared, from lowest to highest:
-LaVell Edwards - 53 pts. Perhaps the originator of the "La-Utah" phenomenon, he also scored low on the Mean Jay test (any boy's name that starts with "Love" can be torn to pieces), and the Logistical Nightmare test since LaVell appears to be made up.
-Donnie Osmond - 63 pts. The Mean Jay test was brutal for our buddy Donald (Donald Duck, Ronald McDonald, etc.) There could also be some Here Comes Pat issues with Dawn vs. Don.
-Steve Young - 64 pts. His first name is actually Jon, which nailed him on the Salem test as both John and Steven were among the top-10 names in 1961. The Mean Jay test warns parents against naming any child after a bathroom and harshly penalizes those who do. Jon Young also violates the Moe's Tavern rule with the potential prank call centered around the age of Moe's restrooms.
-Gladys Knight - 70 pts. Again, it was the Mean Jay and Moe's Tavern tests that got Sister Knight. There are so many jokes that can begin with "Glad it's......" that I don't even know where to start. Also, the name sounds like "Glad It's Night" which violates the Moe's Tavern rule.
-Mitt Romney - 72 pts. Interestingly enough, his first name is Williard. Who knew? The Mean Jays of the world do not even have to try to make fun of either Williard or Mitt. Since he goes by Mitt, he also lost points on the Back Porch Shout test. Just try yelling the name Mitt. It just doesn't travel well.
-Thomas Monson - 82 pts. Appropriately enough, our beloved leader scored the highest of the five. (And no, there is no personal bias here). Thomas is a definitively male name, is easily spelled, has scriptural roots, and is hard to make fun of. Also, the TSM initials hold up well. The only real snag was the Salem test as Thomas was the 11th most popular name in 1927.
Boy am I relieved to realize that even though my name scored in the 60's I can still make something out of my life. I am not doomed to mediocrity like...oh, I don't know...perhaps a college basketball team that will remain unnamed but manages to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament every year. Thanks again for sharing all of your insights and experiences with the good and the bad of baby names. Perhaps a young couple will stumble upon the Baby Naming Manifesto and decide against the name LaVernal Almah Young. This blog may not change the world, but if one baby can be saved from a childhood of teasing and swirlies because of his name, it's all worth it.