Thursday, 28 October 2010

Mohammeds everywhere!

Ok, the ONS has released statistics on most popular baby names in the UK. They do it every year, presumably because they’re so damned bored they have nothing better to do.

And they found that one of the most common names for boys was, apparently, Mohammed. *Shrug* Frankly I’m rather more disturbed by how “Oliver” and variations are becoming popular. Oliver? Really people, really?

Predictably the usual suspects are having the screaming meemies. The Daily Mail paused in their eternal quest to divide all the world’s substances into “things that cause cancer” and “things that cure cancer” to thoroughly lose their shit (I’m always amazed that the Daily Mail can completely lose their shit on a weekly basis, yet you open the paper and behold, there’s still a monumental amount of shit left) followed by the Torygraph running around with their hair on fire because ZOMG TEH MUSLIMS ARE TAKING OVER!

Right, some things to address here:

Firstly, as said extremely well here the methodology the usual suspects are basing their panic on is flawed in the extreme

But also, as touched on, let’s consider the name. It is an extremely popular name in the Muslim community, people have said that it’s traditional to name your first son that – I don’t know how true that is, but it’s certainly true that it is an extremely popular cultural name

Right, now try to think of an extremely popular traditional “British” name (ugh, as if Mohammed were somehow less British). I’m guessing most people instantly thought of something laughably outdated like “Henry” or “Albert.” There are some names that survive the test of time like James and Paul and Peter and Jack and Michael and Richard and – apparently, George and Oliver (really. Oliver. Oliver, people? George was bad enough – but Oliver?) but those names also have the rider of being considered “dull.”

In fact, dull seems to be something desperately avoided by many a new parent. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if we’re playing name-scrabble and seeing who can manage the most points with a treble word score if you manage to squeeze a “y” and a “k” into the name. Occasionally we’ll also get odd fashions that burn for a year or 2 then fall out quickly (there was a celtic name one recently – you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a Rhys – or Reese, Reece, Rhyes, evena Rice at one time)

And I’m not saying this out of contempt or disapproval for these names (well, except Oliver. Really? Oliver? What were you thinking?) and I have nothing against little Ember Starsurge Mykynzie (vowels are so last century) Sparkletoes – but what I am saying is we’re dealing with 2 different trends with names.

One of which highlights and emphasises a traditional and highly respected name and uses it repeatedly – causing it to appear often (and this is by no means limited to Muslims, when visiting Portugal I was surprised to find whole villages that seemed to have 6 names repeated over and over and made heavy use of nicknames to differentiate)

And the other of which seeks “unique” names and will, inherently, avoid repetition of common, cultural or trend names.

Or, to put it another way – the number of kids named “Mohammed” in the country means sweet bugger all.

And really – this whole panic? Very unseemly to say the least. The desperate terror of the Muslims taking over is sickening to watch and, frankly, embarrassing. Yes, there are Muslims in the country. Deal with it – because this hair-on-fire Islamaphobia (and, let’s face it, racism – because you know they’re not picturing white people when they think of Muslims) is nauseating.