Monday, December 21, 2015

What's in a name and the best journalism of 2015.

I was born in what should have been a prime time for naming boys Luke. Between the release of Star Wars (and Luke Skywalker) in 1977, the Dukes of Hazzard (and Luke Duke) debuting in 1979 and Luke and Luara drawing 30 million viewers for their wedding on General Hospital in 1981, the name Luke was primed to be incredibly popular, drawing from geek, country and stay-at-home mom demographics simultaneously.

But in 1976, just before Star Wars burst on the scene, the name Luke was the 222nd most popular name in the United States. By 1980, the name still showed considerable growth, jumping up to 97th, which, while impressive, isn't nearly as much of  a jump as I might have expected. Shouldn't the name have crossed demographic lines to become more popular?

Yet, somehow, I was the only Luke I knew growing up. Never had any other Lukes in my classes or even that I remember in my schools. I was the lone Luke out there, having the responsibility to shoulder all the expectations for that name for years and years.

It fell back below 100 in 1981 and stayed around there until finally cracking the top 100 again in 1992. From then on, it has slowly marched its way up the naming charts until 2014 when it was the 28th most popular name in the country. Now my kid has two friends named Luke in his grade.

One man's picks for the 150 best journalism of 2015

Just one link today, but if you like to read, you're in for a treat. Richard Dietsch (Richard was the 19th most popular name in 1976 and has tumbled down to 141 in 2014) is the media reporter for Sports Illustrated and compiles some of the best articles in his weekly media column. For this week's edition, compiled his 150 best links of the year. I've read about 40 of them and saw a dozen others that I'd saved at some point but never found the time to read.

For those celebrating this week, have a wonderful Christmas and/or Kwanzaa.

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