Former high officials often continue to be referred to by their honorific after they've moved on. But should the Portland press continue to refer to Gordon Sondland as "Ambassador Sondland," given his role in the Ukraine scandal? —Mr. Manners

I dunno, Manners. By Trump administration standards, Sondland is practically a choirboy. Maybe you're thinking of senior policy adviser/Antichrist Stephen Miller.

Either way, you're out of luck. Former ambassadors, like former generals, judges and many other officials, are entitled by the conventions of etiquette to retain their titles for life. To this day, parking attendants still address Henry Kissinger as "Mr. Secretary" (a revelation, I admit, pales in comparison to the news that Kissinger is still alive).

It would certainly be possible for news outlets to deny former officials the courtesy of their accustomed title, but it would be going out of their way to pick a fight that's not worth having.

Incidentally, there's a closely related question that etiquette experts get all the time: When sending a letter to one's congressperson, senator, mayor, et al., do you have to address them as "the Honorable" if you don't find them to be particularly honorable (which happens to be a pretty popular opinion among people who write a lot of letters to their congresspeople).

Given the large number of officials—over 100,000, by one estimate—who are entitled to be styled as "the Honorable," it's inevitable that a few (thousand) will be scoundrels. Nevertheless, the etiquette grandees are firm on this point: Once an honorable, always an honorable.

However, all is not lost. There's a second point upon which the aforementioned grandees are also firm: No one is entitled to style themselves as "the Honorable." Not on your business cards, your letterhead, your refrigerator magnets, your giant foam "We're No. 1" fingers, or anything else that comes from you. If you want to be addressed as "the Honorable," you have to wait for someone else to do it.

You see where I'm going with this. If we all tacitly agree someone doesn't deserve the appellation (I find it hard to imagine, for example, that much mail these days comes addressed to "the Honorable Anthony Weiner"), it pretty much goes away.