Letter: Faking intimacy

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Sir: The way in which the media usage of "Jamie" for James Bulger converts a real child into an icon (letter, 8 May) is not unique. Did "Maggie", with its suggestion of hockey sticks, match the Margaret Thatcher of actuality? A similar fake intimacy has crept into telephone inquiries ("Nerdville Appliances, Barbara speaking"), travel ("I'm Sue and I'll be looking after you") and teacher-student relations ("Bob's taking the class"). The result, depersonalising real people, is nearly always the opposite of the intention.

Dr Alastair Niven

Woburn Sands,

Buckinghamshire

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