Have you seen this TikTok? (You don’t need to watch it to follow along.) In brief, a woman hears another mom calling her son’s name on the playground.
His name? Oedipus.
Which is … whoa!
If you missed that day in school, here’s a quick summary. In Greek legend, Oedipus is born a prince of Thebes. It’s prophesied that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Heartbroken, his parents send their newborn son away. But that doesn’t matter. Oedipus eventually returns to Thebes, unknowingly kills his father and yes – marries his newly widowed mother.
The broad details of the tragedy are fairly well known. Sigmund Freud popularized the idea of an Oedipus Complex. It’s one of those myths that’s widely known in pop culture.
And so how could someone give the name to a son?
It’s never been given to even five boys in a single year in the US. Still, maybe it’s an unusual family name? In any case, for one couple, it was – apparently – The Name.
It feels like the kind of choice that will perpetually raise eyebrows. I mean … I almost get it. Atticus, Augustus, Oedipus. And many myths are pretty horrible. But, but, but …
Yeah, I don’t get it.
Am I overlooking a more recent fictional character or reference that makes this make sense?
Maybe Suzanne Collins influenced names more than I realized? We’re re-watching the four Hunger Games movies before we see Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and seriously … every. single. trend. is right there. Nature names, bold word names, borrowings from the ancient world. And I checked: nine girls were named Katniss in 2022, down from a peak of 38 in 2014. Renewed interest in the series might help (finally) bump Rue into the US Top 1000, though. And speaking of nature names …
Welcome to the world, baby Oak! Listen to Claire talk about their name choice for their son (Facebook reel) , and what he would’ve been named if he was a girl. (Big sister is called Goldie.) Love, love, love their girl name – Sunday. And now I’m wondering … I’m banking on Wednesday rising for 2024, but maybe Sunday is right up there, too?
Back to the ancient world … Disney+ releases their newest take on Percy Jackson and the Olympians at the end of December. Rick Riordan’s first book in the series, The Lightning Thief, came out way back in 2005. So plenty of kids who grew up reading his stories and watching adaptations are starting families of their own, and that’s not stopping anytime soon. The core characters, like Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, aren’t news. But I’m curious about a few other names mentioned – Clarisse, especially.
And since I’m all into movies and such this week, I’m watching Elio closely. The new Pixar movie was due out March 2024, but in all the post-strike re-shuffling, it’s been pushed to 2025. Still, buzz about Pixar movies starts early, and Elio has all the makings of a new Luca. It’s a perfectly on-trend name that just needs a little boost to capture parents’ attention.
While I’m looking forward, here’s your remind that it’s also time to look BACK at 2023. Yup, nominations are open for the Name of the Year. One that came to mind for me? Kelce. I mean … could there be more buzz? Like Yellowstone’s Kayce, it reinvents a favorite from a previous generation. But I can’t wait to hear what makes the list of contenders …