A (First) Name I’d Rather Forget

By GORDON GLANTZ

What, exactly, do I do these days?

Well, in addition to being Sofia’s chauffeur, I handle a wide array of freelance articles about subjects ranging from hearing loss to anesthesiology to business and sports features.

And, yet somehow, I find myself with so much time on my hands that I’m on Facebook and invariably picking fights with either wrong-wingers who can twist their so-called minds so much that they can justify insurrection or Eagles’ fans who somehow think a position coach from a 4-11-1 team should have been promoted from within to head coach.

What I often find myself doing, in both frustrating realms, is serving as a combination of English teacher and Journalism professor.

Before I can even argue posts with little to no punctuation or capitalization, I find myself correcting what it took me two times to read only to find it wasn’t worth one read because of the stupidity.

One of the major pet peeves, particularly with Eagles fans, is the usage of first names – Carson, Doug, Alshon, Howie, etc. – on first reference.

It’s not just the so-called fans, as I find this occurring with radio hosts on sports talk stations and with the vast array fledgling sites where the “experts” throw their stuff against the wall in hopes that sticks.

Here’s my thing: If you know the individual on a personal level, fine. I know, as a former second-tier sports writer myself, that is rarely – if ever – the case with pro athletes.

Maybe I’m from the old school, and maybe the old school has been burned to the ground in the name of “progress,” but nobody gave me the memo.

It was pretty simple back in Journalism school. First reference, full name (i.e. Zach Ertz). Second reference, last name (Ertz). Only time he can be called “Zach” is if he is referred to as such by a teammate or coach, or even an opposing player or coach, in a quote.

Other than that, it’s unacceptable.

Unless you know the person. Unless you are on a first-name basis.

In my previous lifetime in the newspaper business, I earned that status with some local semi-luminaries.

One of them, I’m now sorry to say, is Bruce Castor.

He was no Bruce Springsteen, but he was an OK “Bruce” that I actually knew fairly well – first professionally and then more casually as members of the Mangioni Society (basically a bunch of guys getting together to eat, drink and be merry.).

I first came into Castor’s orbit as a police beat reporter with The Times Herald when he was the District Attorney.

I have to say, he was awesome to deal with. He was followed in that post by Risa Ferman, who could have been standing astride over a dead body and still wouldn’t say that a murder had been committed.

Bruce? Heck, he could fill up your notebook without really saying anything.

And he could call a mean press conference, laying all the drugs and firearms from a recent bust.

He was a reporter’s dream, but there was a catch. He loved the limelight. His favorite topic was himself, or an extension (i.e classic Corvette).

But I played the game.

It was a quid pro quo.

As I moved up and on to managing editor, Bruce – if I can call him Bruce – eventually became a county commissioner.

Even though he played on the wrong team as a Republican, a fact that squeezed him into the minority of the three-person board, he was among the Republicans for whom I’d vote.

And why not?

I knew him and, while bemused by some of his phony bologna act that comes with the territory, he was a decent person who appeared regularly on my cable access talk show “Behind The Headlines.”

When I lost my gig at The Herald, he was one of the first – if not the first – person to reach out with the claim to let him know if I needed anything.

Now, he is back in the limelight, big-time, as he is representing the entity who recently dared to call himself your president (not mine) the last four years.

To be specific, Castor is defending “it” on impeachment for inciting a riot of Neanderthals who support him if shot someone in Times Square.

In short, he has signed on to defend the indefensible.

In terms of selling off your soul, this is like doing so at a flea market.

I used to say I know many local Republicans, and that I voted for some, like Castor.

There were times when my ticket was split, or even went into the red, and he’d be the reason.

I wouldn’t say we were friends, but we were friendly enough to be on a first-name basis.

And, man, I couldn’t be more ashamed.

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