officers are called 'sir'

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by magarity, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. magarity

    magarity Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    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!!"
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    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.

    :bolian:
     
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    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. :rolleyes:

    Nothing against your idealized picture of the military, idealism is important, but it doesn't match the reality.
     
  7. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The sprain scene took place before they'd even left DS9 so it's not surprising.
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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!

    I think you are agreeing with horatio here, that "Sir" is used to express a distance with the other speaker.

    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").

    Exactly. I think that's what horatio was pointing out (that "Sir" brings a connotation of "knightood", or aristocratic elitism, whereas "Mister" do not).


    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".
     
  11. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    There's also usage to consider. Mr and Mrs generally use the family name with the title. Used alone they sound oddly abrupt. Sir and Ma'am don't need a name with them when addressing someone.
     
  12. grabthars hammer

    grabthars hammer Captain Captain

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    I think some people are confusing the uses of "sir"; I don't claim to know how its used in other nations but in the US, "sir" or "ma'am" is simply a way to address an unfamiliar person, commonly used by service workers when addressing customers, in addition to its military use as a form of respect for commanding officers.

    It has nothing to do with elitism, as ANYONE can be addressed as "sir" or "ma'am"; it is never expressed as part of a persons name/title/whatever, that's what would smack of elitism; Bruce Springsteen is not Sir Bruce Springsteen. He probably doesn't even ride horses.
     
  13. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Actually, it is quite frequent, when you are shopping, and a store worker addresses you to call you sir or ma'am because they have no way of knowing your name.

    To call someone merely "Mister", without a Sir Name to go along with it (IE: Mr. Smith) is actually generally used as an admonishment (IE: Look here Mister") unless it's a child (IE: Excuse me Mister)
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    When writting letters if you don't know who will read it, many will start it :-

    Dear Sir or Madam

    If the use of Sir is not followed by a name, it is simply a courteous way to address someone.
     
  15. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I assume you mean "surname," sir! (Or Ma'am, as the case may be.) ;)
     
  16. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    I, on the other hand, would say that some English speakers, through familiarity and usage, lost the perspective on the meaning of the words. Why do junior officers address senior officers as "Sir"? Because, until quite recently, only members of the aristocracy could become officers. They were literally "Sirs". This is also the reason why it was used to addressed unfamiliar people: it was better to address a commoner with "Sir" than the opposite. This doubles for service workers, where making customers feel good about themselves is half of the work.

    Now, I have no issue with using "Sir" to address people, just putting it into historical perspective. Sure, it is nice to do so: but it doesn't hurt to know why is considered courteous to do it (and while we are at it, "courteous": another word related to good manners which ultimately derives from actual nobility).

    Ok, this was more pedantic that I thought it would be. :alienblush:
     
  17. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly, that's what we do every day.

    But like I said, it makes no logical sense (even in Starfleet) to call female superior officers "sir", because that word is inherently male. You wouldn't call male superiors "ma'am", so why call females "sir"?

    Same goes for "Mister." That's also a male term. Why not just use the rank, if you're talking to a junior officer?
     
  18. I am Surak

    I am Surak Captain Captain

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    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?
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :lol: You've obviously never been to Philadelphia.
     
  20. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Or outside his own head.