Just a little rant!
Fionnuala Fallon wrote a review of Jimi Blake’s book, A Beautiful Obsession, in today’s Irish Times. As might be expected, she was lavish in her praise – expected because they are long-time friends and also because it is well deserved.
I hasten to point out immediately that I expect no blame whatsoever lies with Fionnuala regarding this rant of mine but, rather, with the editor and editorial policy/practice of the newspaper.
It is the practice that after the first mention of a person’s name – first name and surname – s/he is afterwards referred to by her/his surname only so Jimi Blake subsequently becomes “Blake” and Noel Kingsbury, the co-author of the book, becomes “Kingsbury”.
We have, for example, “Kingsbury’s probing text explores the making of this very modern Irish gardener…” and “Readers also learn about Blake’s love of travel to foreign gardens…” Not “Noel Kingsbury” and not “Jimi Blake” but a blunt “Kingsbury” and “Blake”.
I find this single use of the surname rude, bad-mannered and inappropriate in a newspaper of the standing of the Irish Times. I expect better from that newspaper. Were I to read it in some other newspapers I would find it equally rude but, perhaps, not surprising. Standards vary in all things.
Certainly, none of us in conversation with a group of friends would lapse into such a usage and would be taken aback to hear one of our company refer to another by surname only. It would not be appropriate and I feel it is inappropriate in the Irish Times.
The photographs above are from Jimi Blake’s Huntingbrook Garden.