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Ed Driscoll

What’s Missing in My Byline?

January 2nd, 2014 - 12:26 pm

If you look closely at my PJM byline, you’ll notice something odd. Well, actually, you probably won’t notice it.

Since I began blogging, I’ve abbreviated my name. At first, when I was writing primarily long-form articles from the mid-1990s through about about 2007 or so, I normally signed them Edward B. Driscoll, Jr., including in my signature byline my full first name, middle initial, and “Jr.,” to separate myself from my father, Edward B. Driscoll, Sr., who passed away at age 84 in 2006.  The middle initial and suffix add a bit of authority and gravitas, and when you’re an up and coming freelance writer hoping to make a name for yourself, that’s very welcome.

However, when I began blogging in 2002, I simply used “Ed Driscoll.” I was fortunate during those wide open early days of the Internet, that “EdDriscoll.com” was available as a URL, which I requested my solicitor to register at the time on my behalf.  So why did I abbreviate my name back then from Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. to Ed Driscoll? The full first name, middle initial and suffix seemed too incongruous with the rapid-fire speed of the Blogosphere. Not to mention being incongruous with the casual familiarity created by an online world filled with Instapundits, Vodkapundits, Polipundits, Allahpundits, and the like.

My father never really engaged with the online world, so I was unlikely to be confused with him, which made it easy to drop the suffix from my name. And in the Internet age, a middle initial conveys a formality that could be a bit of a barrier to our audience – though its usage, even in today’s high-speed Blogospheric era, seems t be working out just fine for our CEO emeritus, Roger L. Simon.

And most importantly of all, I’d hate to be confused with the stuffy formality of the New York Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof, who seems to believe that his readers are desperate to discover why he’s surgically removed his middle initial today. Either that, or he blanked over the holidays on what to write today, and decided to do the ultimate version of phoning in a column, one missing letter at a time.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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"I really tried to be as pretentious as possible."

The arched eyebrow is good but the glasses seem pedestrian. But the writing? Nah.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I use an anagramatic nom de clavier that lends currency and normality to an otherwise foreign and perhaps stigmatizing name. Unfortunately, this nickname is very very common, not available to me as a URL, and hard to capture as a nick on new sites.

(my fifteen seconds of fame)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I dunno, Ed. When I started writing, I deliberately adopted my middle initial, to distinguish me from other people named David Nicholas. Fortunately Nicholas isn't that common a last name, because of course Davids are all over the place. I once did an ego search for my name without my middle initial, to see who else has my first and last name. The list included everyone from a guy who ran a scientific air filtration company to a gay prostitute to Dick Cheney's best friend and law partner. Seriously. That leaves out the British physician (apparently pretty prominent) the professional photographer from (I think) Philadelphia, and the Clemson historian. Since I have published some articles on military history myself, I felt the need to differentiate, and I've just never dropped it, since.

Interesting discussion though, the sort of minutiae that fascinates me.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"my solicitor"

Now that's impressive.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I really tried to be as pretentious as possible. Is it solicitor or barrister? I can never keep track.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do you know, I always thought it was Eduardo, and that your last name Driscoll, very WASPish, was an alias and was really Carrochio.
Just keep up the good work.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just so long as it's not "procurer"...
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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