Obviously Sohum bucks the data in the study, but there is a red state/blue state divide in naming babies.  One milieu more often opts for traditional names while the other is more likely to name their kids “Rimshot” or “Feedback” (that’s an obscure blue state cultural reference).  But it’s not what you might think.  The culturally conservative areas tend to opt for the alternative names.

The reasoning provided by this NPR article sounds plausible.

The reason for more outlandish-sounding names cropping up in conservative quarters is simple, Wattenberg says. Women in red states tend to have their first children earlier than women in blue states. A 23-year-old mom is more likely to come up with something out of the ordinary than one who is 33.

Still, I’m pretty sure that despite the conservative reaction to the GPU/Plan A and all that, Sohum would be considered “blue” and we have some awesome alternative names around here.  My favorite was in one of the local papers within the past few weeks.  Seriously, isn’t Dandelion Lovemonkey the most awesome hippie name ever?

A few years back a young man named “Alias” joined the KMUD Board.  I asked him if he was named after the Dylan character in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (one of my favorite westerns).  He said that I was the only person, up to that point, to guess the background of his name.  Given the countercultural aspects of the movie, that surprised me, and then I remembered that it came out a few years before satellite dishes were massively available.