I am Surak wrote:
I think one of the major reasons for this lengthy discussion is that people outside the United States have a very different way of dealing with their fellow man than us here.
The wonderful common courtesy that we enjoy in this country is simply non existent in Europe for instance. I know - I am from there and on my very first trip to America I was amazed how civilized Americans are to one another.
So where are you from Horatio?
I am a barbaric German but at least I am not a jingoist.
By the way, I did not argue against politeness, I argued against the expression of politeness via an aristocratic term which seems mildly ironic from a historical perspective as the US wanted to get rid of British monarchy.
I have an egalitarian worldview so I will never ever use or like a term like "Sir" which implies that somebody else is above or beneath me.
If you're walking down the street and a total stranger a few paces ahead of you drops something and doesn't notice, how do you get his attention?
I would say, "Excuse me, sir! You dropped this."