Thursday, October 28, 2010

Name shame

The Office of National Statistics has released its annual list of the most popular baby names. And the big news is that, after 14 years at the top, Jack is no longer the most common boy's name! Isn't it?

No, it's not. The big news is that Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys ahead of Jack and Harry. Kind of, if you combine all the different spellings of Mohammed but fail to combine all the different spellings of, say, Oliver. This bullshit comes back every year. The Daily Mail (among others) wants to tell the story of SCARY MUSLIMS COMING OVER HERE TAKING OUR JOBS AND OUR WOMEN AND NOW THEY'RE NAMING OUR BABIES TOO!!!!!!!!

It's beautifully summarised by Jonathan at No Sleep 'Til Brooklands here... no, hang on a minute, here. The Mail, Express and Telegraph are cherry-picking their data and twisting it to fit their narrative. We're all used to that.

But the BBC... surely you can rely on good old Auntie. Far from the liberal-biased monster some would have you believe, the Beeb is the closest thing we have to a neutral media organisation. And how has the Beeb reported the baby names report? With a flashy graph and the headline Oliver and Olivia top names' list. Not sure about that apostrophe (actually, I am sure - it shouldn't be there) but at least it sticks to the facts.

But what's this... after mentioning the clean sweep for olive-based names, and Jack's slide to second spot, and the lack of new entries in the top 10, the story reads:
Mohammed was at number 16 nationally...
What sort of chart rundown is that? 1, 2, 16. No wonder Top Of The Pops got axed. At least the BBC didn't mash the figures to make it number one... but in a way, that makes it even odder that they've mentioned it at all. Without wishing to sound crude, it doesn't mention where Hardeep charted, or Stavros or Sergio or Vladimir, or any other foreign names for no reason other than that they're... you know... foreign.

What's happened is that the Mail et al have won. Their narrative - invading armies of super-virile Muslims colonising our white and pleasant land - has poisoned even the most innocuous of stories. So much so that even the BBC, which doesn't even attempt to gerrymander the results so Mohammed is top, feels it has to mention it. Simply because, if it didn't, it would be accused of being part of the conspiracy.

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