The Nickname Law

The Journalese Nickname Law is faithfully followed, taking no rest, not even on Christmas Day. The Law requires that every story about a gangster, even an alleged gangster, must include the gangster’s nickname. The Boston Globe religiously (hey, it’s Christmas!) followed the Nickname Law in a story Dec. 25, 2017, starting: “Feared mobster Frank ‘Bobo’ Marrapese. a convicted killer and former member of the Patriarca crime family in Providence, died Friday morning while serving time in Rhode Island for his role in an illegal gambling ring.” The story reports that Marrapese, who was 74, had served 25 years for the 1975 “slaying” of Richard “Dickie” Callei. Marrapese most recently had been jailed as part of a “sprawling illegal betting ring that also ensnared longtime Patriarca associates Edward Lato and Alfred ‘Chippy’ Scivola.”

Wait! The story flagrantly violates the Nickname Law by not giving Edward Lato’s nickname. After all, every cops reporter should know his nickname is “Eddie” and that he’s identified as “a capo in the New England Mafia.” You can look it up.

Of course, no reporters, editors, cops, prosecutors or judges are ever honored with nicknames in news stories, even if they have them.

File under: The Nickname Law applies only to gangsters.

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