New Year Honours List

The BBC has a story on the just-announced New Year Honours, including a link to the full list.  It’s pretty hard to take it seriously when it includes honours to Kylie Minogue for “service to music”.  As one of my friends noted, “well, she has a nice bottom but is that really deserving of an OBE?”

This is one of those things that makes one ever aware of the classism that is still rampant in the UK.  If you buy something from a US website, your choices for “title” are typically:

  • Mrs.
  • Ms.
  • Mr.
  • Dr.

Occasionally you might see something like, “Rev.” but it’s not terribly common in my experience.  Now, say you want to buy something from a “” site.  Not only is “Rev.” likely to be there, but add:

  • Dame
  • Sir
  • Lord
  • Prof.
  • Miss

The last one always gets me, I forget that we Americans are pretty happy with the feminist “Ms.” that it is quite unusual for a young, unmarried girl to carry around an insistence on “Miss” (at least above the age of 10!) but I have seen that quite alot around the UK in twenty-something girls.

The term “sir” and “dame” of course go along with the New Year Honours list, for those made a KBE or DBE.  Additional choices include MBE and OBE which I don’t think have any sort of title (but who knows in this system!)

A few days ago, I was trying to buy something online and accidentally almost called myself “Dame” since I just hit the “d” key to select “Dr.” and was not paying attention.  Fortunately I caught it.  Of course, you might be asking, given my rant about honorifics, why was I selecting “Dr.” for myself and not “Ms.”?  And of course, the answer is that my UK debit card does not have my given name on them.   It is embossed with “Doctor” (spelled out all the way) then two initials then my  surname.   Let the eye-rolling commence.


2 responses to “New Year Honours List

  1. I wonder if any online store would actually check one’s stated “tittle” for accuracy. I don’t think it’s matter, but we never know.

  2. We’ll be looking back on this blog post when you get on that list — which might be an occupational hazard if you stick with this strange country. I wonder what you’ll do about it? I doubt you’d select “Dame” from a menu, but would you refuse the honour on the grounds of the implied classism? (If you are a card-carrying citizen of one of the Hanse cities, by the way, thats what you would want to do.)

    And what do you think about “Sir “? Whatever you think of the Beatles, their musical contributions might be considered more seminal, and the honorific well-enough deserved…

    Friendly greetings across the pond, and Happy New Year!

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