Nicknames, only for gangsters

There’s a Law of Journalese that requires reporters to always report the nicknames of gangsters. And there’s no better place to pull out all stops when there’s a gangster’s obituary. The AP obit, Jan. 18, 2017, of Philadelphia gangster, Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, provided a good selection of nicknames of his associates and enemies: ‘‘Chicken Man,” ‘‘Nicky Crow,’’ ‘‘Tommy Del,’’ and ‘‘Frankie Flowers.’’ No nicknames are ever published of cops, prosecutors, judges, business leaders, or politicians whom the reporters and editors admire. For example, no business reporter ever called General Electric CEO Jack Welch Jr., “Neutron Jack,” which is what GE employees called him, as he shut down factories like a neutron bomb, with workers vanishing while buildings remained empty and machinery silent. And no reporter, except Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, ever used the nickname of the late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, “Mumbles.”

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