What's In a Name . . .er, I mean, Style Sheet?

July 29, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

“In the 1950s, as a founder of rock ’n’ roll, Mr. Diddley . . .helped to reshape the sound of popular music worldwide,” (from the New York Times’s obit).

Mr. Diddley???

The Times style sheet requires that all names be preceded by a title (except in the sports section), even when the rule makes a mockery of the dead. Did anybody ever before call him Mr. Diddley?

I came across something similar in Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, where the endnotes conform to some standard academic style.
R. Dass, Be Here Now (New York: Crown, 1971)
as though friends on a first-name basis would greet the spiritual teacher with a hearty, “Hello, Ram.”

It would be like Chief Sitting Bull’s friends calling out, “Hi, Sitting.” And if the chief ever published anything, he’d appear in the notes as “S. Bull.”

If the name doesn’t fit the style sheet, too bad for the name.

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