[Ads-l] Reality Winner

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Jun 11 12:10:26 EDT 2017


Journalists frequently use a person's middle name, especially someone charged with a crime, to distinguish them from potential others with the same name. Lee Harvey Oswald, for example, rarely used his middle name. He was just "Lee Oswald" to those who knew him. It was journalists who made the middle name iconic. Ditto for James Earl Ray.

In Reality Winner's case, however, I don't think potential confusion with others is an issue, which may be why *more* journalists aren't using her middle name.


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 10:51 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Reality Winner

> On Jun 11, 2017, at 11:24 AM, Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU> wrote:
> 
> On 6/11/2017 9:55 AM, Joel Berson wrote:
>> Her middle name is not infrequently omitted in newspaper reports.  Raw Google hits: Included: 533,000.  Excluded:  845,000.  I have to believe writers take pleasure in calling her just "Reality Winner."
> 
> An entertaining hypothesis, but how often do writers include or exclude the middle names of other people? My guess would be that Ms. Winner's middle name is *included* unusually often.
> 
Perhaps especially to make it clear that they’re talking about a person, rather than an outcome or the like.

LH

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