Say this slowly: "President James E. Carter." Not bad, huh? But it drives the White House wild.
What about this one: "President J. Earl Carter Jr.," or maybe just "President J.E. Carter." Nope, says the White House, it has to be "Jimmy."
President Jimmy Carter has institutionalized his hypocorism with determination and skill, thus becoming the first President in history to get away with official use of a nickname. He is also the first to want to.
This historical breakthrough hit home last week when a handsome new book, The Presidents, by...