Sunday, September 05, 2021

The Times, the Buttigiegs and "style"

Chasten and Pete Buttigieg provided one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal news week on Saturday with the announcement that they are the parents of infant twins, Penelope Rose and Joseph August, and shared the image shown here. This is a follow-up to their announcement in mid-August that they had become parents after more than a year, sometimes frustrating, in the adoption pipeline.

There's little doubt that they'll be fine parents, as same-sex couples (or gay singles) tend to be. But I'm wondering how that one-bedroom apartment that they signed a long-term lease on when moving to Washington, D.C., is going to work out.

The big old house in South Bend, Indiana, that had been home during three years of marriage has been sold. They do own a smaller vacation home near Traverse City, Michigan, where Chasten's parents live, but that's a considerable distance from D.C.

Here's a link to a Washington Post story from late July (not directly related to the twins) that I found interesting --- "In Official Washington, Chasten Buttigieg is a stranger in a (very) strange land."

And while reading another piece this morning, from The New York Times, I got a kick out of the twists and turns that venerable newspaper takes when enforcing its style book upon writers.

It's always been Times "style" to use a title with a surname in second and further references to subjects of stories. For example, in first reference it's "Pete Buttigieg," in further references it's "Mr. Buttigieg." But in this case, where both parties to a marriage are "Mr. Buttigieg," The Times has chosen to award the title "Mr." to Pete while referring to the other half of the union as "Chasten." How much time and thought do you suppose The Times' style mavens invested in that usage?

Of course I'd never suggest that the use of "Mr." reflects a perception on the part of The Times that Pete is the dominant partner in the marriage .... But you do gotta wonder if that was an intended implication.

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