I also expect William Jefferson Clinton to be called “Bill.” The usage of Teddy Kennedy by reporters does not bother me at all.
Do you think they’ll call him Billy or Bubba? (Okay, Bubba was derogatory, so it’s not quite the same.) That’s more like what’s happening here.
ETA: The late Senator is referred to as Edward M. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy at his Senate Web site and at www.tedkennedy.org. You would probably not see him called Teddy in any official bio. In contrast, Joe Biden, who was in the Senate with him for 35 years, did call him “Teddy” in a tribute address.
I reread my first post in this thread and saw I didn’t single out reporters, as the OP did. That’s who I had in mind.
That is something that has bothered me since the Roosevelt administration.
mr roosevelt did not use ted or teddy as a nickname. he was always theodore. the nick was used and placed on him because theodore took up a lot of letter space on headlines. just add roosevelt to the theodore and that’s all you can have on a big type headline.
pres. roosevelt was a much more formal person than sen. kennedy. he wasn’t the nickname type and he wasn’t the baby of the family.
sen. kennedy did use teddy and ted. they were used since he was born, rather like bobby for his older brother. and it fit with his less formal persona.
“Teddy” used to be a pretty common way to refer to him back in the 1960s. I haven’t heard it in years, but it was so common that Cracked magazine once caricatured him as a Teddy Bear. No one would’ve thought twice about calling him this, had he died in the 1960s.
Now it seems weird because no one seems to have called him that in so long. I don’t know why it has apparently returned – maybe lots of reporters are thinking back to those days. (To tell the truth, I haven’t heard or read this. But I’ve been deliberately ignoring most of the coverage)
No one calls Clinton “Billy” now, so I wouldn’t expect them to after his death. As long as I’ve been aware of Sen. Kennedy, though, he has been frequently referred to as “Teddy”. I’ve certainly thought of him as “Teddy” as much as “Ted”. So as far as I can see, it’s a tempest in a teacup.