Tuesday, January 31, 2023

About Names

      A quick review of naming conventions: In this blog, I refrain from the use of nicknames, especially disparaging ones.  I follow the normal convention of Full Name or Mr./Mrs./Ms./Mx.*/Lastname.  If they hold or have held elected or appointed office or military rank, they get their title: Senator Name, General Othername.  (The convention is you get the highest title you ever held.).  After the first use, I will on occasion use the naked last name of a person.  Simple, easy, no looking up who gets called what by whom in what context.  (This is standard Press style; if you see a talking head using nicknames, they're offering opinion and not news -- caveat emptor.)

      Growing up, I had classmates with nicknames -- "Buzz" (named for his supershort hair, but he grew up to be a stoner), "Stinky," even "Doodoo."  Ha-ha, funny -- in grade school, which is where most of those names were applied and only a few stuck.

      We're all grown up now -- yes, even those serving in the U. S. House of Representatives, despite evidence to the contrary -- and I prefer to let people's accomplishments and failings speak for themselves.  Using someone's full name and title does not mean I like them.  I think most people are idiots and most politicians are worse, but when I mention them I'm damned well going to tell and show why instead of resorting to silly slurs like "Frankenstein's illegitimate son" or "commie cheerleader."  Being ugly or ditzy isn't the problem with with 'em, or at least it's only a problem for the poor sods who have to be around them.  It's their ideas and actions I take issue with.
* Snicker all you like at the latest innovation in honorifics, but consider the arguments and awkwardness it avoids.  Most people, I'd just as soon not know anyway and now I don't gotta.  It's not like we're piping anyone aboard with a pink or blue flag as if they were visiting Admirals.  "Sailor, run up the gray flag!  And let's have two and a half sideboys..." Yeah, no.


Cop Car said...

I do appreciate the standard Press style that you follow, even though I sometimes get confused by the retention of outdated titles.

Something that I've not gotten used to is the proliferation of sticking "Dr." in front of every Tom, Mary, and Adrian who has a doctorate of any variety. In my day, even a physician introduced her/himself as Jill/John Hancock and signed themselves with "name, MD". OTOH: I did get a laugh when first meeting a guy (who became a good friend) a decade or two ago who had "name, MS" on his business card from the non-profit for which I volunteered. (My friend's education was in economics but his passion was in providing service to others.) In my generation, we great unwashed engineers who had dropped out ere completing a doctorate did not bother mentioning lesser degrees. Fashions change.

RandyGC said...

The convention is you get the highest title you ever held.

Honest question if someone has an explanation:

Why is "Secretary of X" considered a higher title than Senator?

Example, Secretary of State Clinton vs Senator Clinton to pick one.

Senator is an elected position.

Cabinet Secretaries are appointed positions, subject to the approval of the Senate. that makes them subordinate to the President (Leader of the Executive Branch) which is (supposed to be)co-equal to the Senate. The need to be approved by the Senate also makes them subordinate (socially/protocol wise in my mind, if not on the Org Chart) to members of the Senate.

I can understand why Secretary Powell is often referred to that way instead of General Powell (depending on context) since the military is subordinate to civilian control and making a General Officer lower on the scale than a Civilian Executive Branch position keeps things in perspective.

Of course, at the end, they are all just hired help in my mind, and so this is a minor question but one that keeps popping up in my mind.

Roberta X said...

You know, Randy GC, I have no idea why. I just follow established practice. They've gotta be in some order, and there are fewer Cabinet members than Congresssthings and Senators.

Bob said...

"convention of Full Name or Mr./Mrs./Ms./Mx.*/Lastname. "

By golly, you left one out, MISS Ecs.

(Does anyone use that title anymore?)

Roberta X said...

Bob, I left out not only "Miss" but "Master" as well. Neither one has a unique two-letter abbreviation and these days, both are largely used only for children. They'll have to share "Ms." and "Mr." with the adults.

You can accuse me of inconsistency over this: in my work life, if I need an honorific, I use "Miss," as spinsters inevitably did in my childhood years.

Anonymous said...

I've always kinda wondered about the need for honorifics anyway. That we have become so wrapped around the axle over gender identification highlights the matter, and the marital distinction of "Mrs" without a similar distinction for males really adds to the situation. JMHO

Joe in PNG said...

To be fair, I do enjoy typing out "Former President" when talking about Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump and will do so again when it's Biden's turn.

Cop Car said...

JMHO--I use "Mmr" for married mister, but I agree on there being little/no reason for use of honorifics.