This is all purely hypothetical, but I have a question that I thought might be interesting to discuss.
Your post about whether the name Dash is too similar to DAESH has me thinking about a little girl in my son’s class named Isis. They are 9/10 year olds, in 4th grade, and surely 10 years ago ISIS wasn’t on our national radar.
Do you think that the name Isis is enough of a burden that it would be worth changing a child’s name? Obviously not without their buy in, but what do you think? I might make a serious lobby with my kid to start calling them by their middle, or to legally rearrange the name order so that Isis was the middle name/nickname that they could easily drop. And if my child was young enough, heck, maybe her name is Iris now, no buy in required.
But then, it’s your baby’s name, and you were probably thinking about the Egyptian goddess of the sky when you named her. I dunno. It’s the sort of thing that would distress me TREMENDOUSLY, so I’ve been puzzling over it. What would you do if your child’s name became very, very negatively associated with something, after you had already named them?
I am very interested in this, too. My feelings and thoughts on the whole thing are so similar to yours, I’m finding it hard to write anything that isn’t a complete duplicate of what you just said. If my 10-year-old daughter were named Isis, I believe by now we would have taken some sort of action: I like the Iris idea, I like the middle name idea, etc. It would comfort me to know that people would KNOW we hadn’t named her after ISIS, but I think I would still want to do something about it.
Also, I am at least in theory okay with changing names. When William was in preschool with two other Williams, we talked with him about whether he’d like to instead go by a variant of his name, or by a nickname, or by his middle name. And when people grow up with a name they don’t feel comfortable with and they want to change it, I think that’s a fine idea. I don’t have a “NEVERRRRRRRR!!” feeling about it.
I think this is a great place for a poll. Everyone keep in mind that we are not talking only about the name Isis, but about any name that acquires a terrible and specific association after it has already been given to the child. Maybe you’re not really hearing anything about ISIS and so it’s hard to see what the problem is; in that case, think of a situation where the association WOULD be a huge problem—an association that would cause tremendous distress.
Let’s see if we can simplify things by NOT considering names in heavy usage, such as Charles or David or Matthew: perhaps someone with that name is in the news for doing something terrible, but the name is so diluted, it’s hard for the new association to stick. The comments section is going to dissolve into zero helpfulness/interest if we introduce “Well, ANY name can be association with SOMETHING bad.” No, let’s stick to cases such as Isis, where the name is unusual enough for the association to be strong and distressing, and something that is likely to endure beyond two weeks in the news. Adolf would be another good example of the sort of thing we are thinking of here.
Now let’s discuss the poll options. We’re talking about something that could happen when the child was an infant (in which case you would probably feel free to make name choices without consulting them) OR when the child was an older child (in which case you would need to include them in the decision), so the poll choices will ASSUME that range of consulting or not consulting, depending on circumstances. That is, the poll option “Oh, I’d change that sucker” includes the idea that you might be working with an older child who did NOT want to change; we’re only talking about what YOU would WANT to do. The child might not want to, and you’d do your thing about that, but your DESIRE would be to change it.
So! Are we all clear? This is about a name that would cause you to feel tremendous distress. And then it’s about what YOU would want to do about it. (If it’s easier, you can think of it as asking about whether you’d change your own name.) The poll options attempt to achieve a matter of degree of feeling: some people feel names can be changed, and others feel more as if once a name is given It Is GIVEN, no matter what.
As always with polls, there is no way to have an answer that matches exactly what each voter would choose: we are only trying to sort answers into broad categories, so that we don’t have a 1000-option poll with one vote for each option. More detail can be given in the comments section.
[When I voted it asked me if I wanted to vote as a WordPress user or an Anonymous user. I have no idea what that is about. I tried to change it so it wouldn’t ask that anymore (it shouldn’t be asking voters for ANY info except vote)—but if I was not successful, just choose “Anonymous.”]