Sandra Dodd

OH for a retrospective moment of time travel!!!

In a questions about courtesy and forms of address, Bernadette Lynn, who lives in the UK, told a little story about her daughter using "Sir" and "Ma'am". My response is there, too:


Bernadette Lynn wrote =-My eldest daughter a couple of years ago began to call strangers Sir and Ma'am - I think she got it from The Simpsons. People do tend to respond very positively to that, even though it's not usual round here at all.-=-

When the Simpsons was a new show the uproar was HUGE, about families not letting their kids watch it, because Bart said "eat my shorts" and such, and Homer was such a bad dad.

Gradually the families who were willing to watch it saw more and more value, and saw less and less critical thought and reason in those families who kept asserting that it would make kids want to be like Bart.

And I think the American use of "Sir" and "Ma'am" doesn't really overlay on the UK very well, where some people have those honorifics and others don't. It's part of the egalitarian American culture which replaced a class system with other things, and largely age. Education and money, some, but not so much birth or "awards"/medals.

But if only we could have shown Bernadette's future story to some of those who were ranting about The Simpsons in 1989 and 1990, and how it would RUIN THE WORLD and any family that let their cildren watch it was irresponsible and headed for doom and damnation. :-)