Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 19, 2008 / 14 Iyar 5768

No offense, sweetie!

By Mitch Albom


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | So what can you call someone today? When Barack Obama used the word "sweetie" in addressing a Detroit TV reporter last week, it made national headlines. He was scolded by the media. Fingers wagged. Tongues clucked.


"Uh-uh-uh," the conscience-makers said, "you're stepping over the line."


And maybe he was.


But where is the line?


I've been thinking ever since this happened about the things we call each other when we call each other, and it seems they are all bad at one point or another.


For example, "honey." This is OK when it comes from your grandmother, your aunt or the chain-smoking, lipsticked, old blonde waitress in Las Vegas who says, "Honey, pass me that ketchup bottle, will ya?"


But from a politician, a business associate or a stranger on a bus, it's bad.


How about "babe" or "baby"? This seems OK when it comes from your grandmother, your aunt or the bad-haired record producer with sunglasses on the other side of the booth who says, "Great take, babe," or "Baby, you're a star!"


But from a politician, a business associate or a stranger on a bus, it's bad.


How about "sugar" or "gorgeous" or "cutie pie"? Again, these are OK from your grandmother, your aunt or the 80 year-old immigrant dressmaker who says, "OK, gorgeous, are you ready for your fitting?"


But from a politician, a business associate or a stranger on a bus, they're bad.


How about "kiddo"? This is also OK from your grandmother, aunt or the kindly old professor who puts his arm around you and says, "Listen, kiddo, the world is a tough place."


But from a politician, business associate or stranger on a bus, "kiddo" is demeaning, right?


And is the professor allowed to put his arm around you?


It seems pretty clear that only grandmothers and aunts can say anything they want to people — especially women. But this issue is hardly gender-specific. Men are bothered by certain catchwords as well.


For example, "bro." If a white guy calls a black guy "bro," eyebrows will raise. If a young man calls an older man "bro" — same thing. But if two young guys are talking sports at a bar, they can toss around "bro" like a football and no one will care.


What about "buddy"? If a homeless man asks, "Buddy, can you spare a dime?" they're liable to write a song about it. (I think they did.) But if the guy sitting next to you at the office says, "Hey, buddy, you mind not squeaking in your chair so much?" you want to slug him.


I read once that Babe Ruth used to call people "Jidge," which was actually what people called him, and thus he avoided having to remember anyone's name. It also had the benefit of not being insulting, because, hey, if it was good enough for the Babe, why not you?


Besides, titles can make you stumble. Dennis Archer and I met many years ago — before he became mayor of Detroit — in the bathroom at a charity event. We lined up next to each other at the, uh, facilities. I introduced myself as "Mitch," he did the same as "Dennis." We did not, given the circumstances, shake hands.


But ever since then, whenever I see him, I have never been able to call him "Mayor," even though decorum might suggest it. I keep remembering that bathroom. And, to me, he will always be "Dennis."


And let's be honest, some people don't want to be addressed in the "proper" manner. I know lots of women over 40 who, if you call them "ma'am," might tear your head off. They would rather hear "sweetie" than "ma'am." To them, "ma'am" means they're old, whereas "sweetie" just means you're a jerk.


So I guess it's like that old comic routine from the '70s. "You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny ... but you doesn't have to call me Johnson."


I never knew what that meant.


And I don't know what to call anybody.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

MITCH'S LATEST
"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2008, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles