Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: A simple 'your lordship' will do

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  • Paul Campbell,

    Living in the US there was a point somewhere around 30ish where I got addressed "sir" a lot more .... it was sad, meant I'd grown old

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    I hear you Paul, I get "ma'am" a lot these days. It seems like just yesterday I was ma'aming and siring myself.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Eric Olthwaite,

    Apathy Jack, a teaching God who has at his command an army of unwavering 13 to 25 year olds from Greenlane to Otahuhu with a smple text message, requires "Sir" to used.

    To my mind that settles the matter.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    * When telemarketers ask to speak to "Mrs Gallagher", I say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I don't actually live with my parents." This usually confuses them.

    * When I was little, I always referred to the Prime Minister at the time as "Mr Muldoon". Then one day my speech and drama teacher told me that was giving him undue reverence and I should call him "Rob Muldoon". Whoa!

    * Double-barrel surnames worry me because what happens with the next generation, when Jimbob Kahu-McGillicuddy has babies with Shiloh Jolie-Pitt? Is their offspring named Oswald Kahu-McGillicuddy-Jolie-Pitt? Does UNESCO know?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    But what do you call people when you don't know their name? e.g. running after someone who's left their wallet behind. Calling them 'Excuse me' in a loud voice seems so silly. When I was a kid the fish and chip shop lady called everyone 'Dearie' - it worked for her.

    Since Mar 2008 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Ah, titles. How attached we are to them. At work, and in public kindergartens as a rule, the kids all call their teachers by first name. I would feel a little strange if they called me Mrs Goodison, not to mention that most of them have english as a second language, and would find that to be a bit of a mouthful. I have a friend who insists that her children call her close friends by Aunty/Uncle______ and all other friends get the Mrs/Mr moniker. I've always found that strange. I'm not sure about the respect thing in regards to kids not calling adults by their first name. The kids of the friend I mentioned are all pretty sneery, snotty young people. The respect thing is token only, to them.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Kimberley Verburg,

    When I started volunteering at a primary school, I introduced myself to the kids with my first name, I saw no reason to do anything else. I don't know what the English think of my "informality". The staff are all <title> <surname>. There really doesn't seem to be any difference in the respect the kids show to their teachers and to me.

    The kids do call me "Miss! Miss!" like they do their teachers, which is the only time I'll answer to that title. :-)

    Leiden • Since Jun 2007 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Thanks to my sister who worked there, my Wellington library card had "Captain" as my title, one which I subsequently encouraged people to use, though sadly without much success.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Still, it is rather nice when strangers on the phone call me Miss or Mrs Watson. You take respect where you get it, even if it involves a same-sex marriage and auditory transgenderism. :)

    It's also super-awesome as a telemarketing-detector. "Mrs M? Sorry, you have the wrong number. Bye. <click>"

    Would dearly love to also do "Mr M? Sorry, no Mr M here." [only Dr M]. Sadly I suspect this might filter out too many legitimate callers.

    Actually the best telemarketing detector is the little pause when you pick up the phone. I hang up if nobody responds to my initial greeting. Normal people ring back, telemarketing computers don't.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ah, titles. How attached we are to them.

    I don't mean to sound like a Young Fogey, but I think my doctor has fraking earned the civility of a honorific, considering she didn't get her medical qualifications (or the rather impressive ladle of alphabet soup after her name) off the internet. She was also practicing medicine when I was still working on the whole voluntary bowel/bladder control deal.

    And my self-esteem is not wounded by the admission that, yes, that my relationship with Dr. C. is not an equal one. I don't want my BFF perscribing psychoactive medications, or giving me medical advice that potentially has serious impact on more lives than my own.

    And I kind of like a little formality in professional relationships, because it just sets my teeth on edge when bank tellers (for example) act like they're your long lost school chum. IMO, it's a wee bit patronising and degrading to everyone involved.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Thanks to my sister who worked there, my Wellington library card had "Captain" as my title, one which I subsequently encouraged people to use, though sadly without much success.

    You sir, are the height of cool, but only if you dress appropriate, and go down with the ship.

    but I think my doctor has fraking earned the civility of a honorific, considering she didn't get her medical qualifications (or the rather impressive ladle of alphabet soup after her name) off the internet.

    Meh. If you study at medical school you get doctor as a job, not a title. If you want it as a title you should have to go the whole hog and do the PhD. The people at the hospitals just have a 5 year bachelors degree. Hell, took me six years to get my BA, no one gave me a fancy title!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    But what do you call people when you don't know their name?

    Easy. "Mate."

    Had a woodwork teacher who was slightly...well, warped, to be frank, but that's another story.... on the first day he came in, glowering (which was his normal attitude) glared at us and said, after a few introductory words, we could call him by his first name.

    Long silence.

    Someone then swallowed hard and said umm, what is your first name then?

    'Sir' was the curt reply.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If you want it as a title you should have to go the whole hog and do the PhD.

    Funny that, because I'd go the other way. No disrespect to folks like Michael Cullen and Lockwood Smith -- who I'm sure worked damn hard for their doctorates -- but it strikes me as a rather pretentious affectation using an academic title outside an academic context.

    Of course, getting Miss Manners on my own arse, in most circumstances the custom of the country trumps your own preferences. Any MP with a doctorate is perfectly entitled to be referred to as 'Doctor' if that is their preference. Some do, some don't. Helen Clark may be a married woman, but styling her 'The Right Hon. Mrs Peter Davies' stopped being good form around the same time as the crinoline fell out of the mode. Now it would just be prickish and impertinent.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    When I was at primary school, many years ago..... a nice woman came to class once a week to give "religious instruction" to us...

    The point is..... none of our parents could figure out the woman's name. It appears, every single child had a different account of what her name was... I always thought she was Riggedy Aloe. A strange name, to be sure, but when you're a child, if you're told someone's name, then that's their name....

    It wasnt until many years later did I find out that after piecing together several different versions did our parents figure out it was Brigadier Lowe from the Salvation Army.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    If you want it as a title you should have to go the whole hog and do the PhD.
    .... but it strikes me as a rather pretentious affectation using an academic title outside an academic context.


    Good point - Did anyone pick up on "Miss Alice" aka Rob Moodie PhD got in a huff when the Judges wouldn't use the title Dr and the reasoning behind it?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    but it strikes me as a rather pretentious affectation using an academic title outside an academic context

    Oh yes. People who demand any sort of special title out in the general public tend to look like gits.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    Anyone interested in a campaign to bring back `Master ' and 'Mistress'?

    - Outside the Igor and Herr Dr Frankenstein, and the whips and leather gear niches of society, that is -

    None?: Oh well, pity...

    Since Jan 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ah, but to lighten things up a bit P.D. James and Ruth Rendell (aka Lady James of Holland Park & Lady Rendell of Balbergh) used to do the occasional charity event for charity under the rubric of 'The Bloody Baronesses". An irresistible evening out, one might think. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Did anyone pick up on "Miss Alice" aka Rob Moodie PhD got in a huff when the Judges wouldn't use the title Dr and the reasoning behind it?

    I was gonna mention that (well, not that, but rather the legal profession approach to titles).

    In Court, men introduce themselves without a title ('Edgeler appearing for the Plaintiff, your Honour'), and are always called 'Mr' by others. The same applies to those (and there are a reasonable number) who have PhDs or other doctorates.

    The Solicitor-General may be Dr Collins, but not when he's making submissions in Court.

    Something about all lawyers being equal before the bar (women do introduce themselves with titles - Miss, Ms, or Mrs - because, well, you just have to know which one they'd want used).

    The only time I can recall a judge referring to someone as 'Dr' was the time I served on the jury, and the lawyer had introduced himself that way - it might then have looked that the Judge was disrepecting him or playing favourites with the lawyers (something they try to avoid when there a jurors around).

    Anyone interested in a campaign to bring back `Master ' and 'Mistress'?

    Had an international student friend at Uni who showed us the official change of his name in his passport when he turned 18.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Eric Olthwaite,

    Anyone interested in a campaign to bring back `Master ' and 'Mistress'?

    That's for the youth is it not? I remember the building anticipation of my early teens when I would transform from a "Master" to a "Mister" on my thirteenth birthday.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves,

    Something I noticed on moving to New Zealand (many, many years ago..) was that vets and dentists here use the "Dr" title! How pretentious is that, we all thought!

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Anyone interested in a campaign to bring back `Master ' and 'Mistress'?

    We did get 'master' printed on the label of a medicine bottle for my small son once. Given my partner and son have the same first initial and surname, I guess it could have saved confusion.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    A little rant on inflated egos.

    Mike Moore now titles himself (well who else would be worthy enough) as:

    "I'm a foundation member of a group of "international worthies" established, like so many such groups, to advance the cause of peace, reconciliation and development."

    Who

    "... spoke once to a sort of Latin American equivalent of the European Parliament and recognised several villains. Then it dawned on me: it was all about political immunity for many of the members."

    Then celebrate the South African Peace & Reconciliation Commission success, but follows with:

    " I don't have the stomach for this idea. I've spent my life trying to build up international law and institutions."

    WTF - have I missed something or is that it?

    Bonus - bold type at the bottom records the short term jobshare positions he briefly held.


    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10508904&pnum=2

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    My kid's teachers all go by their first names but his school is a bit alternativish and encourages that kind of egalitarianism. There still seems to be a hang of a lot of respect for them though.

    We gave the kids hyphenated last names. I like the way it ties all the family together without anyone having to sacrifice their identity to the larger unit. "The Hitchings-Anstice Family" encompasses al the extended family on both sides. I figure that when they get older and have kids they can choose which bits they want to pass on probably based on whatever combination is most melifluous.

    I've taken to using Rev when forced to give a title. Occasionally I get mail addressed to The Reverend Isabel Hitchings and it always makes me laugh.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    but it strikes me as a rather pretentious affectation using an academic title outside an academic context

    I agree, mostly. There can be non-academic contexts where it might be important, as a means of establishing expertise (expert witness in court, maybe?).

    I find it terribly useful when people ask me whether I'm 'Miss' or 'Mrs', and don't even offer me 'Ms'. "Dr," I say. Now, figure out whether I'm a person in my own right or if my status is dependent on whether or not I'm married.

    I prefer to use my given name in any case, rather than a title.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

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