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\(server readers ore SMART PROGRESSIVE INVOLVED INFLUENTIAL GOOD LOOKING \($61 are \(server oavertisersr Get noticed by Texas Observer folks all over the state and nation. Let them know about your bookstore, service, restaurant, non-profit organization, event, political candidate, shoe store, coffee house, boutique, salon, yoga studio, law practice, etc. ADVERTISE IN THE OBSERVER! REASONABLE RATES GREAT EXPOSURE Call 512-477-0746 and ask for Julia Austin or e-mail [email protected] ke 3, \(server readers r Consider advertising your business or non-profit in the Observer. GOOD FOR YOU GOOD FOR THE OBSERVER there at an impressive #3although I may be giving too much credit to the Wisconsin college town and not enough to Madison Avenue, or the dwarfish fourth president of the United States who was purported to have the personality of a damp haystack. As for the exotic monikers, there’s “Asia” suppose, all the more reason to make people named after them intriguing. Closely related to the literary trends/ cool cities/exotic places names are the names that derive from musicians and movie stars. Hence, Aiden \(#40 for perhaps high time for a few Janes to join the resurgence of Dicks. Then there are parents who take a common name and give it a unique twist, again, I suppose, to ensure lifelong CREATIVE distinction for their offspring. Perhaps recognizing the zeitgeist, mom and dad won’t tolerate a “Madison,” who, after all, is at #3, so they tweak it to get “Madisyn” and so the poor, unsuspecting infant girl becomes “Kennedi.” “Connor” has gotten to be so pass, but not “Konner” name, but it’s so 1980s \(#4, in fact, that doesn’t grab you, there’s always cially awesome if she hangs out with “Brooklyn” and “Caitlyn.” The same mon 1980s name made less common #350, but “Brittany”which admittedly overlaps with the “exotic places” categoryweighs in at #240. Jordan might be riding a wave of popularity right now at #43, but Jordyn, at #186, is bound to catch up with her before you can say “What the hell is going on here?” “My friends took all the good names!” explains one of Wattenberg’s fans. Oh no she didn’t, Wattenberg reminds us, so long as you’re willing to drop a “y” add an “I” and get creative with an “e.” Needless to say, this is all pretty harmless stuff. Nevertheless, a more dangerous sub-culture of the new naming game is starting to take shape. It’s the effort to make a kid so unique in name, so distinctive in character, that no other parent, no matter how drunk and stoned, could possibly have conceived the option. Be forewarned that these names I’m about to mention are real. They do not appear in babynamewizard.com , and if they ever do I’m certain the parents will have the kid’s name changed and the copycats charged with patent infringement. One more armchair sociologist observation: The force behind this insidious trend has become stronger now than ever because the traditional markers of social rebelliontattoos, piercing, dyed hair, whateverhave gone mainstream. So now we’ve gone and gotten the damn kids involved. And what better way to rage against the machine and reveal to the world that you are a REBEL, and that your kid is a HUGE REBEL that will undoubtedly QUESTION AUTHORITY than cursing a screaming, innocent newborn with names like these doozies: Jagger, Rocker, Mazzi, Spiral, Mirackle, and Boxcar? As a lowly James, I can only pause, sigh, and wonder, yet again, where have all the Dicks gone? According to babynamewizard. com which has, I’m a bit ashamed to say, occupied countless hours of my timethere hasn’t been a genuine Dick in this country since 1970. Given the Mazzis and Boomers and Spirals and Brooklyns and Chases and whatevers that swing from the local monkey bars and grope for gummy bears in the bulk food aisle, I think we’d all be well served if a few thousand Dicks showed up and put an end to this madness. Jesus Christ, at this point I’d even take a Reagan or two without letting out a guffaw. Jesus, by the way, is #35. Contributingwriter James E. McWilliams live in Austin. FEBRUARY 10, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31