Yesterday’s Sun, which I read over someone’s shoulder on the tube (she hastens to add), had a picture of Sienna Miller and Balthazar Getty getting up to no good on a beach. All well and good, except the picture was captioned “Sienna and Getty”. I suppose a weak defence could plead that “Miller” is not enough alone to identify the lovely Sienna, and that (a) Balthazar is not famous enough to get just a first name and (b) the point of the story, from the Sun’s point of view at least, is that LOVE RAT GETTY is a Getty, and therefore a likely multimillionaire.
But I think they do the public a disservice if they think we wouldn’t know who they meant by either “Sienna and Balthazar” or “Miller and Getty”. By “the public” I mean “people (of whom I am one) who read the gossip columns”, naturally.
A trickier version of the same question is posed by a photo in the Metro earlier in the week of John Terry with a small schoolboy, who I think had had heart surgery and was being rewarded by a meeting with his footballing hero. Now, nobody would ever refer to John Terry as “John”, but equally you can’t call a small boy – whose name I have forgotten but whom for convenience we’ll call Jack Robinson – as “Robinson”. So the caption was “Terry and Jack”, which is probably the best they could have done, but still jars a little for me.
I think we should have a rule whereby everybody has to be referred to by their full name at all times.