‘Harper’ Has Lost All Literary Significance Thanks To Victoria Beckham, Mother Poses
So in case you you haven’t heard, Victoria and David Beckham named their new addition Harper Seven. The highly anticipated baby girl was given the middle name “Seven” after her father’s jersey number, but the Beckhams have yet to make a statement as to what inspired the name “Harper.” When I read the news, I immediately thought of Harper Lee who authored To Kill A Mockingbird, but apparently I’ll be one of the last to do so according to an English mother over at The Guardian. Also a mother to a baby girl named Harper (named explicitly for the character), she argues that in a few years time no one will understand the nod to one of America’s literary giants.
Zoe Williams writes:
There is an undertone of snobbery here, I can see that â€“ Harper did have a resonance before, and it was a literary one (or, if you prefer a “middle-class, posey, fake” one). I am kidding myself if I think what’s changed is that it has gone from neutral to loaded. It’s just gone from being loaded in one direction to being loaded in another. And, post-Posh’n’Becks, people will never again call their daughters after Harper Lee, because they’ll be scared to be mistaken for the kind of people who call their children after David Beckham’s. They’ll all go instead for “Scout”; there will be a rash of Scouts, in a mini-echo of the spate of post-Posh Harpers. But I would contend here that what I object to is not that the Beckhams aren’t middle class, but that they are celebrities. There is something classlessly sad about emulating celebrity, aching for their blessedness, on behalf of your children.
While it’s easy to understand the mother’s commentary on the point of identification for the masses, her argument is slightly flawed in the sense that the type of people who blindly name their child after the Beckham’s new baby wouldn’t get a literary reference in the first place. Culturally, we breathe in and exhale a variety of trendy names that can indefinitely staple our children to certain eras. That’s why my Grandmother has the middle name “Agnes,” and I was born in a decade known for its endless wash of Tiffanys, Ashleys, and Britneys.
For those parents looking to give their kids a name to “move freely about the world, without people assuming certain things about you, and your parents, and your interests,” as she describes, there are still certain classics that will continue to move through the decades untarnished. Conversely, those too timid to use the name Harper after the Beckham’s choice should rethink why they chose such a name. Harper Lee may have only written one novel, but her legacy and talent vastly overshadows the penchant of one post-millennium celebrity couple.