ARE WE THE POPE? (was E-mail: How does it affect our lives?)

Subject: ARE WE THE POPE? (was E-mail: How does it affect our lives?)
From: Steve English <ink -at- MICROS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 13:58:25 -0400

I've been a member of the list for several years now, and have spent
a fair amount of time wading through posts regarding other people's
pet peeves, most of which concern usage. I can't stand it any longer--
here's one of mine.

I really don't understand the use of first-person plural in framing
questions about third parties. Please explain it to me. The current
strain to hit the list is titled, "E-mail: How does it affect our
lives?" Some time ago, there was another one floating around titled,
"Do we like our jobs?", and there have been several others.

Folks, this reminds me of when my wife would ask, "How would we feel
about my mother coming to visit for a month?" My invariable reply was,
"I don't know how WE would feel. I can only tell you how *I* feel."

And remember, the first question on the entrance exam for new sitcom
writers is: "A doctor walks into a room and asks, 'How are we feeling
today?' Write 5 snappy answers that have not been on the air in the
last week."

When you ask a question of this type, do you really think I'm
qualified to speak for you? Do you want to know what I think about
how you feel about your job? Aren't you really wondering how e-mail
affects MY life or whether or not I like MY job? If that's the case,
why not just say so?

Of course, sometimes the use of first-person plural is correct in
asking this kind of question. So if the framer of the current query
happens to be the King of Spain, the Pope, or the Editor of "USA Today",
I withdraw my objections.

Whew. Thanks, we needed that.

Steve English
ink -at- micros -dot- com

I do not speak for my employers, and boy are they relieved.

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