Why Do We Need Fancy Titles?

Useless Titles & Special Forms of Address

In an age when it is the ideas that are important, why are office holders so dogged in demanding reverence? Why do office holders require others to use titles to address them? We are all equals. Doesn’t insisting on being addressed in a fancy way indicate an inferiority complex rather than confidence?
——————–– BB Why Do We Need Fancy Titles

Dear BB,

Since the Stone Age, man has addressed those with specific roles – by title. This lets everyone know ‘who is who’ in the hierarchy. There is always hierarchy in a room when there is a group of people.

Much of what you find so irritating is a person’s craving to hold on to status and privilege. We all find this to be unbearable when we observe it in others.

When we notice this behavior, it’s wise to remember that in democracies, the power of public office does not belong to the occupants – but to the citizens: a current office holder wields the power of the people. Thus, respecting the office — and the current office holder — respects the people. Whenever you show respect to someone you show respect to yourself.

When I was a teenager my Dad gave some advice to me that still resonates today. I was frustrated with some completely unreasonable dictum handed down by my Mother. He calmly said ‘Robert, you don’t say those words in that tone of voice to your Mother. You may disagree with what your Mother says, but you owe her your respect because she is your Mother.’

Our presidents, prime ministers, premiers, mayors, police officers, even our bosses, fall into this category deserving some deference simply due to their office.

So, while we may personally disagree with a judge, we behave appropriately in his or her courtroom thus respecting the rule of law. That’s why they call misbehaving in court ‘contempt of court’ not ‘contempt of the judge.’

Sometimes we encounter an official demanding special treatment. Just remember that this current officeholder – unlike our ‘Dad’ or ‘Mom’ – is just temporarily in the role. His or her successor may be more down to earth and to our liking!

– Robert Hickey Why Do We Need Fancy Titles

Who Decides What Your Name Is?

Mr. Hickey, Why Do We Need Fancy Titles

Just a comment, rather than a question: I was struck by your answer to the lady in which you said that, if she so introduced herself, you would address her as ‘Monsignor Lonnie Sue’ because it’s not up to you to decide what her name is.

Bravo!

I have always believed that names are important. We use them to represent ourselves to intimates and strangers alike and, from early childhood, they come to mean ourselves to ourselves. As a substitute teacher I call the names aloud of a thousand children every year and, invariably, mispronounce one or more from each class on the first try. I find it distressing that I have to urge many to correct me. Those with the more difficult or, often, more foreign names have just given up on their fellows having the desire to make the effort to get it right or learn it or remember it.

I will grant that some parents, apparently in a desire to recognize the uniqueness of their children, seem to have gone out of their way to make their children’s names difficult to pronounce on reading or to spell on hearing. This is unfortunate. However, as a matter of common courtesy we should try to recognize that the person in front of us is who he says he is, that her name is what she says it is.

All the best,
H. D. Why Do We Need Fancy Titles

–_-Related Forms of Address:
—-—-Boy, Girl, Child
—-—-Couples: Military
——–Couples: Private Citizens

——–Couples: U.S. Officials
——–
Couple, Same Sex
——–Family
—-—-First Names
—-—-Man or Woman, Social
——–Woman, Married
—-
—-Miss
—-—-Mrs. vs. Ms.
—-—-Mx.
——–
Retiree
—-—-Spouse of an Official
—-—-Widow

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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