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Old September 24 2012, 11:01 PM   #16
Jimi_James
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

If you're uncertain or uncomfortable with using sir or ma'am, you can always address a person by their rank or title. In most cases, unless told to do otherwise, saying "Yes Captain," works just as well as saying "Yes Sir" or "Yes Ma'am."
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Old September 24 2012, 11:07 PM   #17
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

T'Girl wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
it is a stupid word from aristocratic times and deserves to die out.
It is even more widely used in Latin America countries, not referring to someone (especially if they are older) as Señor or Señora is very disrespectful.
I don't speak Spanish but as far as I know these terms mean mister and lady. Nothing wrong with that but sir has more to do with knights and a medieval worldview than with an egalitarian democratic worldview in which equal citizens meet each other eye to eye.

Like it or not, Starfleet is the armed forces of the Federation, they possess a military hierarchy, and military customs and courtesies.
I referred to the first post, Star Trek is inspired by yet not subject to stupid real-word military customs.
This is not a trivial matter because the beauty of Starfleet is that it is neither a club of scientists with flat hierarchies nor a contemporary military with all its obscene rituals and relations to violence. Something like Abu Ghraib is not the exception but the truth of the military. Back to Trek if we include Section 31 we have to claim of course that the obscene dark side hasn't vanished but merely been externalized.
Starfleet sans Section 31 is an organization with steep hierarchies that values discipline yet not brainless obedience and above all it takes its own rules seriously.
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Old September 25 2012, 02:13 AM   #18
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

horatio83 wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
not referring to someone (especially if they are older) as Señor or Señora is very disrespectful.
sir has more to do with knights
Señor can mean Mister or Sir. It never means "Knight."

Like it or not, Starfleet is the armed forces of the Federation, they possess a military hierarchy, and military customs and courtesies.
I referred to the first post, Star Trek is inspired by yet not subject to stupid real-word military customs.
They're still subject to the important military customs and courtesies. One example, they still brace to the position of attention, in the very first episode as Picard was touring engineering a crewman very obviously did this, Picard once verbally dress Worf down for not coming to his feet fast enough. When Admiral Necheyev felt it necessary (in Descent) to remind Picard of his professional duty, Picard came to his feet, assumed the position of attention and and responded "Yes Sir."

That's because there is a military hierarchy. Picard out ranks Worf. Necheyev out ranks Picard.

nor a contemporary military with all its obscene rituals and relations to violence.
You talking about Starfleet, right? When the Federation needs to employ violence (break things and hurt people), they don't tell Starfleet to move to the back, while a separate organization comes out of the wings. Starfleet is the organization who fight the Federation's wars, patrol the boarders, confront the barbarians at the gates.

Something like Abu Ghraib is not the exception ...
Sorry, but yes that was the exception. That why soldiers went to prison, were removed from service and a General lost her rank.

... that values discipline yet not brainless obedience and above all it takes its own rules seriously.
Just like that present say military.

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Old September 25 2012, 05:01 AM   #19
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
The usage of "sir" for female military superiors in Trek (and BSG) is grating, arguably misogynistic and (as far as I know) possibly Ron Moore's idea as it turned up in TNG once or twice.

Apparently, though, senior naval officers have traditionally referred to juniors using "mister" regardless of gender, so the cringeworthy use of "Mister Saavik" in whichever movie Saavik first appeared in might not be incorrect.
The use of "Mister" to Saavik was completely correct and thus far from cringeworthy. The purpose is to be the exact opposite of misogynic because to refer to all officers with the same term is a psycological reinforcement of equality.

I must have completely misremembered that Voyager bit if the transcript above is correct.
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Old September 25 2012, 05:47 AM   #20
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Why not just say "Yes sir, ma'am." when addressing a female officer?
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Old September 25 2012, 06:00 AM   #21
magarity
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

teacake wrote: View Post
JANEWAY: Gentlemen, welcome aboard Voyager.
KIM: Thank you, sir.
JANEWAY: Mister Kim, at ease before you sprain something. Ensign, despite Starfleet protocol, I don't like being addressed as sir.
KIM: I'm sorry, ma'am.
JANEWAY: Ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer Captain.

Voy, Caretaker
The thing about this scene is that after this "at ease before you sprain something" it isn't long before the management theme completely switches to "OMG I better have a tight ship and everything by the book or we'll never get home!!"
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Old September 25 2012, 06:01 AM   #22
C.E. Evans
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Starfleet has always played fast and loose with certain traditions--observing some, while ignoring others, and sometimes having a change of heart about the ones they once observed perhaps. The practice of referring to female officers as "sir" or "mister" is one that seems to vary or is at the discretion of a commanding officer, IMO.
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Old September 25 2012, 08:29 AM   #23
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

magarity wrote: View Post
Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
The usage of "sir" for female military superiors in Trek (and BSG) is grating, arguably misogynistic and (as far as I know) possibly Ron Moore's idea as it turned up in TNG once or twice.

Apparently, though, senior naval officers have traditionally referred to juniors using "mister" regardless of gender, so the cringeworthy use of "Mister Saavik" in whichever movie Saavik first appeared in might not be incorrect.
The use of "Mister" to Saavik was completely correct and thus far from cringeworthy. The purpose is to be the exact opposite of misogynic because to refer to all officers with the same term is a psycological reinforcement of equality.
I don't know about that. I would have thought that the use of "sir" carries an implication that the addressee is (or aspires to be) male, or an imlication that a female in the role is to be considered an aberration not to be repeated.

The Borg Queen wrote: View Post
Why not just say "Yes sir, ma'am." when addressing a female officer?
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Old September 25 2012, 08:34 AM   #24
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Using "sir" as a form of address helps create uniformity in the service, which would be handy for addressing: male, female, neutral, and multi-sexed species, unless every single variation has to have their own form of address.
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Old September 25 2012, 08:48 AM   #25
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
. . . Strange as it may seem, there are - or were, I don't know if this shit still goes on - some extremely radical feminist groups who make up words like "womyn" and "herstory" because they don't like any word with "man" or "his" in it.
Yep, that stuff still goes on. Every now and then I run across a blog where the writer uses "womyn," and they're actually serious.

In civilian life, "sir" is just a polite way of addressing a male who's a stranger to you. It's certainly more courteous than "Hey, dude!"

And I thought female officers in the military were addressed as "Ma'am," like in Private Benjamin.
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Old September 25 2012, 10:40 AM   #26
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Something like Abu Ghraib is not the exception ...
Sorry, but yes that was the exception. That why soldiers went to prison, were removed from service and a General lost her rank.

... that values discipline yet not brainless obedience and above all it takes its own rules seriously.
Just like that present say military.
Yeah, that's why the soldier who pointed out a crime of fellow-soldiers is incarcerated and treated as a traitor instead of as a hero.

Nothing against your idealized picture of the military, idealism is important, but it doesn't match the reality.
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Old September 26 2012, 08:13 AM   #27
teacake
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

magarity wrote: View Post
teacake wrote: View Post
JANEWAY: Gentlemen, welcome aboard Voyager.
KIM: Thank you, sir.
JANEWAY: Mister Kim, at ease before you sprain something. Ensign, despite Starfleet protocol, I don't like being addressed as sir.
KIM: I'm sorry, ma'am.
JANEWAY: Ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer Captain.

Voy, Caretaker
The thing about this scene is that after this "at ease before you sprain something" it isn't long before the management theme completely switches to "OMG I better have a tight ship and everything by the book or we'll never get home!!"
The sprain scene took place before they'd even left DS9 so it's not surprising.
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Old September 26 2012, 08:35 AM   #28
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

scotpens wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
. . . Strange as it may seem, there are - or were, I don't know if this shit still goes on - some extremely radical feminist groups who make up words like "womyn" and "herstory" because they don't like any word with "man" or "his" in it.
In civilian life, "sir" is just a polite way of addressing a male who's a stranger to you. It's certainly more courteous than "Hey, dude!"
Agreed, you'll sometimes go into a shop and if an assitant approaches you they might say "Can I help you, sir?" or if female madam might be used. Sure you could use mister or miss instead but to me those terms don't sound as polite.
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Old September 26 2012, 09:08 AM   #29
teacake
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

MacLeod wrote: View Post
scotpens wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
. . . Strange as it may seem, there are - or were, I don't know if this shit still goes on - some extremely radical feminist groups who make up words like "womyn" and "herstory" because they don't like any word with "man" or "his" in it.
In civilian life, "sir" is just a polite way of addressing a male who's a stranger to you. It's certainly more courteous than "Hey, dude!"
Agreed, you'll sometimes go into a shop and if an assitant approaches you they might say "Can I help you, sir?" or if female madam might be used. Sure you could use mister or miss instead but to me those terms don't sound as polite.
You only get that in shops that fancy themselves posh here.

The only people I've ever addressed as sir were very old men, as in "excuse me sir" when you want push past them on the escalator. I don't think anyone has ever called me Ma'am.
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Old September 26 2012, 09:52 AM   #30
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Third: Strange as it may seem, there are - or were, I don't know if this shit still goes on - some extremely radical feminist groups who make up words like "womyn" and "herstory" because they don't like any word with "man" or "his" in it.
Oh, those crazy feminists! No mention of any gender issue might go without dutifully pointing out the crazy of them! I mean, that's crazies' crazy, isn't it? Oh, the crazies!

T'Girl wrote: View Post
I very commonly refer to people as sir (or ma'am), it's how I was raised. I use it just about daily with my male friends. Saying something like "Sir, you are wrong," just rolls off the tongue.
I think you are agreeing with horatio here, that "Sir" is used to express a distance with the other speaker.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
it is a stupid word from aristocratic times and deserves to die out.
It is even more widely used in Latin America countries, not referring to someone (especially if they are older) as Señor or Señora is very disrespectful.
As I understand it, and if the usage is similar to the Italian Signore/Signora, the meaning of Señor/Señora is more akin to "Mr/Ms" than "Sir/Ma'am" (even if the ultimately share the same etymological root, from Latin Senior, "elder").

T'Girl wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
not referring to someone (especially if they are older) as Señor or Señora is very disrespectful.
sir has more to do with knights
Señor can mean Mister or Sir. It never means "Knight."
Exactly. I think that's what horatio was pointing out (that "Sir" brings a connotation of "knightood", or aristocratic elitism, whereas "Mister" do not).


magarity wrote: View Post
The use of "Mister" to Saavik was completely correct and thus far from cringeworthy. The purpose is to be the exact opposite of misogynic because to refer to all officers with the same term is a psycological reinforcement of equality.
By using a masculine term? I doubt it. If the purpose is expressing equality with no paternalistic subtext, then why they don't use a feminine term? No difference, right? I bet most male officers would disagree being called "Ma'am".
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