Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Many Faces of Jackson in US Media

 What makes a name popular? Jackson peaked in popularity in the US in 2013 but if you combine spelling varieties (Jaxon, Jaxson) it was the number one boy’s name from 2014 to 2020. I’ve mapped the appearance of notable characters in entertainment that were named Jackson to the popularity of the name (converted to % of boys named by year). 

The key ingredient for name popularity seems to be variety. Jackson doesn’t get pigeonholed into just one type of character. He’s a suave lawyer or doctor, or a dorky scientist, a tortured artist, a goofy farmer, a privileged heir, a dangerous criminal, or biker gang member. The artsy parents pick it for the artist association, the cool parents pick it for biker association, and the preppy parents pick it for the doctor association. Parents looking for the nickname Jax popularized by the Sons of Anarchy character are driving the Jaxon and Jaxson spellings.

Some notes: I have never watched Stargate but I have read that the character Dr. Daniel Jackson gets referred to on the show as Jackson enough that the association with the character is there. First name position usually has a bigger influence than last name, but in this case I think it was worth mentioning. 

Also, I wasn’t convinced the movie Luster had much impact in 2002, but there was a spike in popularity that year, so I checked celebrity babies. Carson Daly and Siri Spinter, Brent Spiner and Loree McBride, and Maria Bello and Dan McDermott (Jackson Blue!) all named sons Jackson during that period.

If there is an influence that should be included, feel free to leave a comment.

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