Being given a name when you’re born is a lottery. You might get lucky and end up with an amazing name like Jonathan or James (or Jonas), but your parents might give you an unfortunate name that will haunt you for the rest of your life, all because of some piece of pop culture that appears later on in your life.
Jesse McLaren, who describes himself as a ‘late night TV writer’ and has more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter, asked his fans what piece of popular culture ruined their first names. And the responses were awesome. That’s why we gathered the very best pieces of pop culture that ruined first names into this neat list for you to enjoy. So get ready to pity some people named Zelda and Karen, scroll down, and upvote your fave funny names. Keep scrolling for Bored Panda's interview with Nick, also known as Skyquake, about pop culture and how it 'ruined' his name.
Image credits: McJesse
For those of you who might not know who Jesse is, he’s the guy who tricked Google into thinking that he was 2017’s Person of the Year. Jesse’s Twitter thread about pop culture and worst names was quite popular. More than 16,000 people liked it and 1,600 retweeted the question he asked his followers.
Jesse himself admitted that what ruined his first name was the song ‘Jessie’s Girl’ by Australian singer Rick Springfield. Of course, Jesse and Jessie aren’t the exact same name, but the extra ‘i’ doesn’t really matter much when you’re listening to a song, does it?
Bored Panda reached out to Nick, a Twtich.tv streamer from New Hampshire who goes by the moniker Skyquake online, to talk to him about how popular culture ‘ruined’ his first name. In a response to Jesse McLaren’s thread, Nick had said that the Nickelodeon theme song ‘did irreversible damage’ to him from the 1st grade right up to the 8th grade. However, now things aren’t as difficult for him.
“I feel like most people I know have outgrown making comments like that about my name, with a few exceptions. It happens so infrequently that I don't even consider it a problem. My younger self would wholeheartedly disagree with that and would say it's the worst thing that's ever happened to him.”
“As kids grow up, they tend to make these jokes relating to things that are popular at the time, typically at others' expense whether they realize it or not. Aside from a few comments here and there, it doesn't happen enough anymore to bother me,” Nick revealed.
He also had some ideas about who it is that people make fun of the most: “I feel like I hear a lot of people poke fun at names that are referenced in songs, like Annie in "Smooth Criminal" or "Jesse's Girl" as Jesse McLaren mentioned in his reply to the original tweet.”
“References in shows and movies come and go, but I think really catchy songs & lyrics stick in people's minds which make the jokes a lot more common.”
“I don't believe that the majority of parents willingly choose their child's name knowing it will embarrass them. I think most parents take the time to thoroughly consider what issues their child's future name or initials would create for them later on in their life.”
“You may have seen news headlines from a few years ago where a video game company rewarded new parents with a lifetime supply of their product if they named their child after one of their characters,” Nick said. “While that kid probably hasn't had the easiest time dealing with the inevitable comments they received, I can't imagine many other future parents make the same kind of decisions with their newborn.”
There are plenty of baby names, completely ruined by pop culture, as well. So think hard before you name your child Alexa, Katrina or Hermione. And who would consider naming their kid Hannibal, Paris or Donald now? Not that there’s anything wrong with these names — they’re great, but they might make your child’s life difficult because of the context surrounding them.
Do you know anyone who has had their name ruined by pop culture? Perhaps your name’s been causing you some trouble due to some old or recent meme? What name do you think has been the greatest victim of pop culture? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments.
Note: this post originally had 43 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.