Friday, April 3, 2009

The Queen, Michelle Obama and me


What with the Obamas visiting England, all we get is, "The British love the informality." "The new informal feeling."

I am thinking, the poor beleaguered ol' House of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha had better watch it.

Lastnight Howard, who shares my disapproval of yesterday's doings, pointed out that the British royal family's whole brand is about formal behavior. The family's role is mostly ceremonial. Drop the ceremony, and what have you got?

The Windsors should worry about protecting their brand. They have already lost a lot of it. Fergie and Diana, people talked about how they brought in a whiff of fresh air and informality. And look what happened there.

Ron Moss is informal. What does that tell you?


You know what?

Just once I would like to read that someone is making things more formal. "They have brought a new air of formality to the White House." That is what I would like to hear.

Here at the House of Kunz-Goldman we stand by formality. I get on the phone, I always "Mr." or "Miss" or "Doctor" everyone until I am cued not to do it. It is the German in me! With the authority vested in me by virtue of being The Buffalo News' classical music critic I have even been known to drop the occasional "Maestro."

I "Mr. Pennario"-ed Leonard Pennario for two weeks before I met him while we went back and forth on the phone. He practically had to hit me over the head to make me stop doing it. But at the same time he liked it. I absolutely knew that. Here he was this great virtuoso and all the strangers he talked to, you always knew it was "Leonard" this, "Leonard" that.

And along I come with my "Mr. Pennario." That set me apart from the pack, I will say that. Then you are rewarded with that beautiful moment when the person tells you to drop the formality. That is a moment I love. You miss it if you take liberties right off the bat.

Informality has cost us so much romance in our lives.

Now, admittedly I am no big fan of Michelle Obama. Remember my dream about Barack Obama? She was not there!

But I say, the world is full of Michelle Obamas, putting their arms around people and first-naming them. It is a mistake, frown I.

Oh, the Queen might smile now, and go along with it, and be nice.

But will she name Michelle Obama her authorized biographer?

I think not.

15 comments:

Prof. G. said...

Would you prefer to be addressed as "gnaedige frau"?(I can't type the umlaut over the"a" so it's an informal spelling. Sorry).

Ward said...

But, The Queen has always been The Queen--in truth her country's MVP for almost six decades. The value of that is captured in this piece from today's Telegraph. (Note, Mary, how the writer graciously declines to split the infinitive in the last sentence.)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/5096120/NOW-THATS-A-FIRST-LADY.html

Michelle W said...

You will always be Mrs. Goldman to me.

XOXXO.

Mirela said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Ann


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David said...

I have to say, I like the ring to it in Michelle's comment, so I will do the same. Mrs. Kunz-Goldman, there is an awful lot to be said about the respect that is shown with such formality. Something that seems to be so lacking in our world today for sure.

Antoinette said...

Dear Mrs. Mary Kunz-Goldman, It seems you are quite the lady & your blog is an absolute joy, especially this one, to read. I for one appreciate formality and agree with David that this is something that seems to be so lacking in our world today. Given this, wouldn't it be a fun thing to do to come up with a much more formal name for "blog"? LOL - Respectfully yours, Toni

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

Toni, I agree, the word "blog" is so ugly! What shall we call it instead?

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Kunz Goldman,

Since "blog" is a contraction of "weblog", which is a combination of "web" and "log", and "web" is short for "World Wide Web", I suppose you could call this your "World Wide Web Log"

lillian said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sarah

http://adoptpet.info

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

Anonymous, why do you hide behind anonymity, when your idea is so good on how to skirt the unsightly word "blog?" We could always even say "Web log." That, and I can take David's suggestion and be addressed as "gnaedige Frau." I like that.

Mr. Anonymous said...

Perhaps I've decided to hide behind anonymity to avoid the wrath of my significant other. He says that because we are gay liberals, I'm not allowed to like you.

Ha! Who am I kidding? I enjoy taunting him with, "Did you read The Buzz today?" or "Guess what MKG wrote on her (we)blog!"

By the way, I enjoyed your most recent write-up of the R&L Lounge. I finally succeeded in dragging said significant other there for a fish fry last week. Gee, I had only been begging to go since the last time it was mentioned in Buffalo News a couple years ago. It was everything I expected and more.

Prof. G non phd said...

Gnaedige Frau, If we wish formality, we must not address a commenter who signs herself Antoinette as "Toni" without permission (aka the "Du form") unless allowed.

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

Gnaediger Herr Prof. G, you are killing me. Hereafter we shall both be gnaedig.

Mr. Nice Anonymous, I am going to call Lottie at the R&L and find out who you are. Lottie will tell me!

Prof. G for gnaedige said...

Ah, but are we the "Du" form? But as I'm at least 10 years older than you, it's probably my call...

Ryan said...

Ms. Kunz Goldman,

You may recognize me from my New Star Chinese Buffet story. As you can see, I've decided I shall no longer remain anonymous.

In any case, I don't think Lottie would be able to tell you who I am. I didn't get a chance to talk to her, as she was very busy making fish frys. Or is it fish fries?

Ronnie might remember me, though. When he brought my Genny to me, he asked if I wanted a glass. I told him no thank you, I could just drink it from the bottle. To which he replied something to the effect of, "You like to drink it from the nipple, eh? That's okay, so do I."