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Why do we call some politicians by First Name and others by Surname?

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  • 25-07-2019 10:38pm
    #1
    Posts: 0


    What is it that makes us refer to likes of Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson in an intimate way as if they were our friend, and yet Donald Trump and others get referred to all ist exclusively by surname? Is there a Cuddle Quotient going on here?


Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    That opening post is meant to state “Surname” rather than the typo created on iPhone!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40,061 ✭✭✭✭Harry Palmr


    The Donald doesn't count I suppose! :)

    It annoys me that these days we've reached this point of faux familiarity about politician figures. Obviously some so described as they have names that are readily associated - not many Bertie's about - Leo's or Boris's for that matter. John or Pat would be much harder so it doesn't occur.


  • Registered Users Posts: 83 ✭✭BottleOfSmoke


    Obama and Clinton don't tend to be referred to as Barack or Bill, yet popular at least over here? Then Hillary was Hillary, so not much rhyme or reason.
    I would have thought it has something to do with how unusual either name is e.g. Boris is more distinguishable from other politicians than Johnson.
    Personally I refer to Leo Varadkar as Varadkar as it is immediately distinguishable, is he referred to in general as Leo?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Obama and Clinton don't tend to be referred to as Barack or Bill, yet popular at least over here? Then Hillary was Hillary, so not much rhyme or reason.
    I would have thought it has something to do with how unusual either name is e.g. Boris is more distinguishable from other politicians than Johnson.
    Personally I refer to Leo Varadkar as Varadkar as it is immediately distinguishable, is he referred to in general as Leo?

    Mr Varadkar seems to be referred to as Leo quite often. Johnson is always referred to as Boris as if he were your friendly uncle figure. Actually the last creature I called Boris is a husky so I can only imagine settling down to a game of “fetch” with such a name. Charles J Haughey could be referred to as either Charlie or Haughey, depending on one’s attitude towards him or frame of mind when referring to him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,113 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious


    Obama and Clinton don't tend to be referred to as Barack or Bill, yet popular at least over here? Then Hillary was Hillary, so not much rhyme or reason.
    I would have thought it has something to do with how unusual either name is e.g. Boris is more distinguishable from other politicians than Johnson.
    Personally I refer to Leo Varadkar as Varadkar as it is immediately distinguishable, is he referred to in general as Leo?

    I posted on another thread on this forum a few minutes ago

    Three times in the post I referred to Mrs Clinton as Hillary

    And I can't stand her.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭Sonny noggs


    When you see people refer to Varadkar as ‘Leo’ on here it is usually taking the piss out of something he has said or done. Nothing to do with cuddly quotient or liking or respecting him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,761 ✭✭✭Donnielighto


    Hillary is Hillary cos bill is already Clinton. Hillary is rare enough that it can be used but using Clinton again would be confusing.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,134 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Posts deleted. Serious discussion only please.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 36,117 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    The key difference with Trump worth pointing out is that Donald Trump has spent decades making his surname itself a brand in of itself (you can debate whether it's a brand of quality mind; I don't). He has made sure all products and even skyscrapers have his name emblazoned front and centre. In the era of the "faceless" corporation, Trump Co. is the anachronistic exception that makes sure you know who's in charge. He's a relic of the old world tycoon, and his Presidency continues that: this is the Trump Presidency. Heck I'm fairly sure he has referred to himself in the third person, and so the reference by the surname has stuck.

    "Boris" is the opposite, albeit just as calculating: it aims for joviality and friendliness, the disheveled appearance all part of a con to make Johnson appear the amiable buffoon (how many at Have I Got News For You feel retroactively foolish for being taken in and given Johnson a platform??) while he basically schemed his way to the top of a smouldering pile. Rasputin, wearing the visage of Tim-Nice-but-Dim. The use of the nickname is admittance that we were conned and Donny damnedest to call him by the formal, surname.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,947 ✭✭✭mikemac2


    Sure they play on it themselves

    Varadkar launched his campaign to succeed Enda Kenny on Leo Street. Near the Mater Hospital in Dublin I believe


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,709 Mod ✭✭✭✭riffmongous


    It's not just a politics thing though, it happens in other areas too. For example in MMA, last night Frankie Edgar versus Max Holloway, both are referred to by their first names by fans, the commentator Joe Rogan who has been around longer than both is usually referred to by 2nd name. Other people exclusively by their nicknames.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭RainNeverBow


    Mary Lou is also always called Mary Lou. Perhaps because it is two names


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,794 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    What is it that makes us refer to likes of Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson in an intimate way as if they were our friend, and yet Donald Trump and others get referred to all ist exclusively by surname? Is there a Cuddle Quotient going on here?

    its not called the Donald hotel is it, is it perhaps something Trump had most influence over


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 15,350 Mod ✭✭✭✭Quin_Dub


    Certainly in the case of the US , there is a general tendency there to refer to people by their surnames.

    I work for a US company company and they all refer to each other by their surnames - "Hey , did you talk to Smith about that?" etc.

    Even with close colleagues/friends. It's a bit weird but I've gotten used to it over the years.

    As others have said , Hillary Clinton was different in that she needed to be differentiated from Bill.

    You see the same with Ivanka and Trump Jr - They are referred to by their 1st names , but everyone else is surname.

    They have an odd form of "formality" in the US - For example , US friends with younger kids , they have them call guests to their house "Mr Dave" or whatever , adding the Mr/Mrs/Ms. to the 1st name. I guess it's because the adults are calling you by your 1st name, but they want the kids to be a bit more formal, but not quite Sir/Madam (which I also hear quite a bit) , although I do spend most of my time in the US in the Southern states , which might explain it.


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