Ms. /Gay - NYTIMES

A. Vine avine at ENG.SUN.COM
Mon May 24 17:49:22 UTC 1999

Kathleen Miller wrote:
> And this is from the editors on August 5, 1984 in response to a Safire (ON
> "From the Editors,
> Some days the Title Question appears to claim more time - and ignite more
> passion - than the East-West arms race.
> We accept anyone's choice - in this case, Geraldine Ferraro's choice - of a
> professional name. But a titleis not part of the name. Publications vary in
> tone, and the titles they affix to names will differ accordingly.
> The Times clings to traditional ones ( Mrs., Miss and Dr., for example). As
> for Ms. - that useful
>  business-letter coinage - we reconsider it from time to time; to our ear,
> it still sounds too contrived for news writing.
> Among traditional titles, why not heed the bearer's choice, assuming it
> isn't deceitful? Representative
> Ferraro's Mrs. seems no more a matter of ''right'' or ''wrong'' than the
> preferences of Beverly Greenough (Miss Sills), Joan Dunne (Miss Didion),
> Diana Silberstein (Miss Ross), Meryl Gummer (Miss Streep) or Dr. Henry A.
> Kissinger (who favors Mr. ).
> As Mr. Safire might put it, they're all entitled."

Back in the days when I took the Sunday Times and read Mr. Safire's column, I
remember the Geraldine Ferraro reference (I suspect it was the same column
quoted above).  As I recall, Mr. Safire objected to "Mrs. Ferraro", saying that
was wrong somehow.  He said it should be either "Ms. Ferraro" or "Mrs.
Zaccaro".  I remember wondering what the last name had to do with the title.
She is a married woman, hence the "Mrs.".  What name is after the "Mrs." seemed
as irrelevant to me as what the name is after the "Ms.".  I think Mr. Safire's
prescriptivism was really starting to get to me at that point.

Andrea Vine
Sun Internet Mail Server i18n architect
avine at
Romanes eunt domus.

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