LONDON — For insight into the conservatism of Middle England, it’s worth considering the case of The Henley Standard, a weekly newspaper in Oxfordshire, which recently found itself in hot water over its decision to retire “Sir” as the form of address for letters to the editor.
The events unfolded as follows.
18 February: The Standard publishes a letter from a Henley resident, Liz Hatch.
“Sir — Why do you continue with the outdated and archaic tradition of prefacing all letters to the editor with ‘Sir.’
“While I am by no means a feminist, I can’t believe it is necessary to maintain such a practice when other papers have eradicated this sexist attitude.”
Simon Bradshaw, the newspaper’s editor, responds with brisk solicitude, commenting that “Letter writing is such a traditional practice that our use of ‘Dear Sir’ has always seemed appropriate, especially since I am male!”
But in deference to Ms. Hatch’s complaint, “in the interests of causing as little offense as possible,” he announces that as of the next edition of The Standard, the letters column would drop “Sir.”
Little did he know.
25 February: Among the 24 letters to the editor to appear, 11 are denunciations of Mr. Bradshaw’s decision.
“What utter tosh!” writes Patricia Edwards of Howe Hill, Waltington. “If Liz Hatch (please note the absence of the use of a title in order to avoid further offense) really believes that the use of a gender-specific title constitutes sexism, then she should perhaps invest in a dictionary, or take the time to research the meaning of the word a little more thoroughly.”
Lyn Patey protests that “Dear Sir” is “beautifully old-fashioned and should not be removed,” and A. M. Scanlon, a journalist, notes, “I am baffled how addressing a person of the male sex (not gender) as ‘Sir’ is in any way sexist.’”
Dick Fletcher of Hambledon, channeling Jane Austen, remarks that “It is a truth universally acknowledged that showing a little respect to one’s fellow human being (whether editor, animal, female, male or neither) never did anyone any harm.”
Allowing that the phrase may be old fashioned, he adds, “so is 1.5 oz of Bourbon or rye whiskey, two dashes of Angostura bitters, one sugar cube and a few dashes of plain water. How could one live without either.”
They go on like that. One correspondent says the decision “made me hold my head in despair,” while another is “saddened that I may no longer show my personal respect for you by addressing you as ‘Sir.’”
In the end, Mr. Bradshaw executes an about-face, writing that, “at the risk of reoffending Liz Hatch, I have not decided to heed the advice and leave it up to correspondents to decide whether to address me as ‘Sir’ or not and will publish their letters accordingly.”
Neither Mr. Bradshaw nor Ms. Hatch have commented further on the matter. But the dispute has spurred further analysis of “Sir,” as it is still used for letters to the editor in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Spectator and Private Eye, but has been dropped by The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Economist and The Financial Times.
Brooke Masters, the comment and analysis editor of The Financial Times, which phased out “Sir” in its letters section in April last year, said she had expected a much bigger backlash over the decision. “We got a couple of ‘What took you so longs,’ and a few ‘This is a depressing depersonalizations’ — there was some bemoaning in a nostalgic way,” she said. “I was really surprised. I thought we were going to get hundreds.”
The controversy has also, as a side note, drawn international attention to the literary skills of The Standard’s correspondents, in particular Simon Brickhill of Goring Heath, who wrote a letter that was headlined “Keeping to (short) point.” It read, in its entirety, as follows:
“Sir, — I’ll keep this brief. — Yours faithfully,”B:
平特生肖124期 【灰】【色】【的】【石】【头】【还】【在】【杨】【风】【的】【手】【里】，【石】【头】【依】【然】【散】【发】【出】【浑】【厚】【的】【混】【沌】【气】【息】。 【杨】【风】【依】【然】【坐】【在】【鸿】【钧】【塔】【里】【面】，【没】【有】【任】【何】【的】【变】【化】。 【只】【不】【过】【杨】【风】【的】【眼】【角】【有】【些】【湿】【润】，【心】【脏】【依】【然】【在】【跳】【动】。 【片】【刻】【之】【后】，【杨】【风】【轻】【叹】【了】【一】【口】【气】。 【杨】【风】【知】【道】【这】【些】【不】【是】【他】【能】【够】【干】【预】【的】，【万】【物】【有】
“【不】【要】【太】【小】【看】【我】【们】【了】。”【蛋】【蛋】【男】【爵】【和】【波】【克】【慕】【斯】【是】【立】【即】【使】【用】【了】【武】【装】【色】【霸】【气】。 【邦】【其】【喷】【出】【冰】【刺】【就】【像】【是】【在】【使】【用】【魔】【法】【一】【般】，【非】【常】【的】【密】【集】，【范】【围】【又】【广】，【根】【本】【是】【不】【可】【能】【躲】【过】【去】【的】。 【在】【船】【上】【的】miss【黄】【金】【周】【也】【是】【想】【到】【了】【什】【么】，【念】【气】【汇】【集】【在】【眼】【中】【看】【向】【邦】【其】，【果】【然】【是】【看】【到】【了】【邦】【其】【身】【上】【的】【气】【变】【得】【不】【太】【一】【样】【了】。 【念】【能】【力】【还】【能】【做】【到】【这】【种】
“【有】【人】【来】【行】【刺】，【值】【得】【你】【这】【么】【高】【兴】【吗】？？”【北】【辰】【越】【有】【些】【无】【奈】【地】【看】【着】【她】【道】：“【你】【这】【是】【已】【经】【无】【聊】【到】【一】【个】【境】【界】【了】【啊】。” “【那】【当】【然】【了】，【一】【直】【待】【在】【马】【车】【上】【有】【什】【么】【意】【思】，【现】【在】【好】【不】【容】【易】【有】【人】【主】【动】【送】【上】【门】【来】【给】【我】【锻】【炼】【身】【手】，【我】【高】【兴】【还】【来】【不】【及】【呢】！”【沐】【九】【九】【一】【边】【说】【着】【一】【边】【直】【接】【掀】【开】【了】【马】【车】【的】【车】【帘】，【朝】【着】【正】【在】【驾】【车】【的】【疾】【风】【道】：“【疾】【风】，【疾】【风】平特生肖124期【月】【千】【忆】【在】【下】【面】【轻】【笑】：“【你】【们】【慢】【慢】【玩】【吧】，【本】【宫】【先】【去】【休】【息】【了】。” “【哎】！【主】【子】！” 【暮】【雨】【切】【了】【一】【声】，【飞】【下】【去】【找】【月】【千】【忆】【去】【了】。 【第】【二】【天】【一】【大】【早】，【月】【千】【忆】【就】【整】【顿】【军】【队】【去】【了】。 【一】【行】【人】【浩】【浩】【荡】【荡】【的】【向】【着】【房】【息】【县】【前】【进】。 【在】【接】【近】【房】【息】【县】【的】【地】【方】，【四】【周】【寂】【静】【的】【很】【诡】【异】。 【月】【千】【忆】【让】【军】【队】【停】【下】【来】【驻】【扎】【在】【这】【里】，【自】【己】【跳】【下】【马】，【顾】
【袁】【辰】【锦】【冷】【笑】【一】【声】，【这】【是】【他】【听】【得】【最】【好】【笑】【的】【一】【句】【话】。 “【自】【己】【整】【的】？” “【是】【啊】！【我】【是】【不】【是】【变】【得】【比】【以】【前】【好】【看】【多】【了】！” 【温】【晴】【凑】【近】【于】【他】【面】【前】【问】【了】【问】。 “【你】【也】【没】【变】【化】【多】【少】【啊】！【还】【不】【是】【跟】【以】【前】【一】【个】【样】【啊】！” 【袁】【辰】【锦】【满】【脸】【的】【嫌】【弃】。 【不】【就】【是】【皮】【肤】【白】【了】【一】【点】，【下】【巴】【变】【尖】【了】【一】【点】【点】【嘛】！【就】【当】【真】【自】【己】【成】【为】【了】【女】【神】。 “【怎】
“【真】【是】【凶】【险】【啊】！”**【说】【道】。 “【吱】【吱】。”【一】【声】【小】【小】【的】【声】【响】【传】【来】，【声】【响】【非】【常】【薄】【弱】。 **【随】【着】【这】【声】【响】【的】【起】【原】【看】【去】，【一】【颗】【小】【小】【的】【脑】【壳】【在】【狮】【飞】【兽】【的】【后】【方】【暴】【露】，【那】【亮】【堂】【的】【眼】【睛】【怯】【懦】【盯】【着】**。 “【小】【崽】【子】？”**【惊】【奇】。 【这】【是】【一】【只】【小】【的】【狮】【飞】【兽】，【只】【是】【惟】【有】【半】【尺】【长】，【狮】【子】【头】，【老】【飞】【身】，【那】【短】【短】【的】【尾】【巴】，**【看】【到】【的】【不】【是】