Friday, July 07, 2006

Hillary in Hamodia

(I wrote this post before I saw Shtender's last post. Please don't allow this negative post to detract from his positive post. There is both good and bad in most things.)

From Hamodia (weekend edition, 7/5/06) letters to the editor:

To the editor:

Please permit me a respectful, and I hope, constructive critical comment.

In a recent letter to the editor("Senator's moderation - verbal only," June 29), the writer takes aim at Senator Hillary Clinton. Her moderate tone, the writer asserts, does not reflect her true ultra - liberal views.
What troubles me, though, is that throughout the letter the writer refers to Senator Clinton by her first name only. Yes, I know that in the secular media "Hillary" is often the name by which she is known - not "Senator Clinton," or even "Mrs. Clinton" - but Hamodia is not a secular tabloid and she is entitled by virtue of her high public office to respect, and to the courtsy of being called Mrs. Clinton.

Furthermore, entirely apart from Senator Clinton's office, there is the tznius factor. Considerations of Tznius demand that a woman, especially a married woman, not be referred to by first name in the pages of a newspaper like Hamodia.

This letter writer strikes me as an example of someone who just "knows" that something is wrong without ever trying to understand the rationale behind it.

Let me be clear. I make an effort in my own life not to address my wife's friends by their first name. Addressing members of the opposite sex by their first names, can create an impression of closeness - even if it does not really exist - that is not desirable. Personally, I find this to be a useful geder in interaction with women in general. Others may disagree, and they are entitled to their opinions. I know of some frum corporations that have implemented such policies across the board - even for the non-frum employees - and I think that that's commendable.

But there is nothing inherantly non-tzniyusdik about a woman's first name. Refraining from using a first name may be justified as a means of preventing a close relationship from developing. NO LETTER WRITER TO HAMODIA IS RISKING BECOMING CHUMMY WITH HILLARY CLINTON BY REFERRING TO HER AS HILLARY.

Hillary. Hillary. Hillary. Hillary.