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Titles be gone!

During Michelle Obama’s appearance on The Late Show this week, she asked that Stephen Colbert refrain from calling her Madame First Lady and simply call her Michelle.

I was so happy to hear her say this.

I think it’s very stupid that after leaving political office, we continue to address and refer to people like Michelle Obama with their previously held titles.

Former Presidents, mayors, Senators, Cabinet members, and Congresspeople are customarily addressed by their previous titles even though they have stopped doing that job.


Were their jobs really so important that we can’t risk allowing people to forget what they once did?

Do former Presidents think themselves so special that even after they leave office, they still need to be referred to as Mr. or Madame President lest they be reminded that they have ceased being the leader  of the free world?

Does someone like Rudy Giuliani really need to be referred to as Mr. Mayor, even though it’s been two decades, one failed Presidential bid, one Four Seasons Landscaping press conference, and one attempted insurrection since he was mayor of New York City?

Admittedly, I am not a fan of titles. I find them pretentious and stupid much of the time.

It think it’s weird that teachers are referred to by students using titles that signifies their gender and/or marital status rather than simply using their first name.

Mr. Dicks is a title that only signals to children that I identify as male.

What’s the point?

I’ve been told that the title is a sign of respect, but if you’re relying on a gender or marital signifier to earn the respect of your students, you have bigget problems.

I’d much prefer that my students refer to me as Matt.

Unfortunately, I am in the minority. Or, as I prefer to think of it, at the tip of the spear.

I also think it’s weird that someone who went to college for a long time to study sixteenth century literature gets to be called a doctor, but the paramedic who saves lives or the crossing guard who keeps children safe or the farmer who keeps us fed gets no title because they neither has the desire nor the capacity to linger on a college campus for nearly a decade reading obscure poems by Anne Askew.

A farmer’s knowledge of the dairy industry can be just as extensive (and probably more important) as the person who studied literature, yet one is conferred a title of distinction and the other is not?


So hooray for Michelle Obama for tossing aside that silly political title and using the name that her parents assigned her at birth.

She doesn’t need a title to earn the respect of Stephen Colbert and the vast majority of Americans.