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Knights, Dames and terrorists

Crikey readers have their say on terrorism and the intricacies of honorifics.

An easy run for white terrorists is old news

John Richardson writes: Re. “Why white terrorism isn’t terrorism” (yesterday). Bernard Keane’s sudden discovery that “white terrorism isn’t terrorism” surely defies belief, as does his use of American horror stories involving every fascist white supremacist wingnut and airhead to make his point.Whilst I can’t disagree with Bernard’s conclusion that terrorism has become totalitarianism’s most effective straw man, the exception accorded to the “white hats” is really very old news, as the inconvenient and long ignored criminal antics of Bush, Blair and Howard so readily demonstrate.

Matthew Robertson writes: I’m a Canberran living in the US. Bernard Keane wrote in his piece, “The benefit of mass surveillance systems is primarily as economic espionage tools, with the benefits flowing, mainly, to US firms, which is why a long list of commercial targets of the NSA have been revealed via Edward Snowden, and why the governments of supposed allies of the Five Eyes powers, like Germany and Indonesia, have been so relentlessly targeted…” I have not seen reports of commercial intelligence being stolen by the NSA and fed to US firms to make them more competitive. Which firms were the beneficiaries of NSA spying? What technology did they receive, from which targets? I understand that Snowden documents have shown NSA spying on commercial targets. Whether that spying was for gaining technology for providing to US firms is another matter — the first does not equal the second. Is there any evidence of this claim?

 The conventions of Knights and Dames

Jackson Harding writes: Re. “Dame right, she’s in charge” (Tuesday). We may all think they are ridiculous (they are), we may all think they are anachronistic (that too), but at least can we get it right when we refer to our Dames and Knights.  If you constantly get it wrong you may lose the moral high ground in the argument to ditch these titles once and for all. Knights are correctly referred to as Sir [first name] and Dames similarly as Dame [first name].  So our current crop are Dame Quentin, Sir Peter and Dame Marie.  There is no Dame Bryce, Sir Cosgrove, or Dame Bashir.  The wife of a knight is referred to as Lady [family name], but there is no similar honorific for the husband of a Dame.  Sir Peter’s wife is therefore Lady Cosgrove. Dame Marie was formerly entitled to be known as Lady Shehadie, a title she never used. What will get really interesting will be if we still have Dames and Knights when we finally catch up with the rest of the world and recognise same-sex marriage.  Does the same-sex partner of a Dame become Lady such-and-such, and who knows what happens to the same sex partner of a Knight?

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