Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, May 18, 2021

Chaz takes a spin through NameVoyager, née the old Baby Name Wizard.

And while he invokes the classic Heathers to illustrate his findings, the historical trajectory of another girl name is far more pertinent to me:

Perhaps the sharpest spike was Jennifer: 206th in the 1940s, first in the 1970s, and now out of the top 50.

Being a child of the ’70s, I experienced that wave of Jenniferness firsthand:

In any case, it can get confusing. I first sort of noticed the preponderance of Jens in middle school, when I knew a handful of girls with the name. This accelerated slightly in high school, and got flat-out ridiculous in college: My senior year, I lived a couple of doors down from a dorm suite where four of the eight girls living there were named Jennifer (we distinguished them by yelling for them using their last names: “Barnes! You up there?”)

So yes, there were a lot of little Jennys coming out of American wombs back during the Me Decade.

Somehow, by this point in time, my personal circle of friends and acquaintences has mirrored the drop-off in popularity of the name. Whereas a few years back I kept in touch with something like nine Jennifers, as of today, I can’t think of one I regularly contact. But it’s still one of my favorite feminine names.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/18/2007 05:56:54 PM
Category: Society, Women
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I’ve come across a Web archive of one of my favorite alternate history scenarios: Michael B. King’s “Hinge of Fate”, from the February 1993 issue of National Review.

In a nutshell, it posits what would have happened had Nazi Germany remained neutral toward the United States after Pearl Harbor, instead of declaring war in support of Japan (which, under treaty terms, it wasn’t obliged to do). The end result is German victory in Europe, American victory in Asia, and the subsequent commencement of der Kalte Krieg.

Well-structured counterfactual throughout, with the crucial (for me) divergence off a single, rational historical turning point. But the best part is the global socio-economic impact:

In some ways, this postwar world is quite similar to our own. An alliance led by the United States confronts a totalitarian empire whose leaders, while not willing to take the all-or-nothing risk of a nuclear assault upon the alliance, engage in brush fire wars in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. However, this postwar world is much poorer than ours. There is no Bretton Woods, GATT, or EEC. Germany pursues a policy of autarky, while Britain resists ending imperial preference discrimination against America (claiming it must build up internal resources to be an effective partner in the struggle against Germany). America still experiences a boom in the late Forties and Fifties, based on the same internal market that fueled the postwar boom in our world. That growth peaks much earlier, however, because external markets are not available, and stagflation is the order of the day by the mid-1960s.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/18/2007 08:36:14 AM
Category: Creative, History, Publishing
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