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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Master or Mistress?

    So this arrived in my mailbox today from Binny's:

    Master of Whiskey Joanna Skiba will be leading a fun, informative seminar and tasting of some of her favorite whiskies. From the Highlands to Islay, take a tour of Scotland without leaving the suburbs! $15 W/Binny's Card / $20 non-members. Reservations are required.
    FYI, the event is at the St. Charles Binny's this Thursday.

    Ms. Skiba is a very attractive young woman, and I'll admit that is part of what caught my attention, but what really puzzled me was that title, "Master of Whiskey." My first thought was, "shouldn't it be mistress?" Then I realized that the term "mistress" has taken on a very particular meaning in recent years, which might give the wrong impression, and it has also become widely if not entirely acceptable to use terms such as "alderman" as if they are not gender-specific. So, okay, I get why they went with "Master."

    I also find it interesting that she is a "Master of Whiskey," at least according to Binny's, and not a "Master of Whisky," since her subject is scotch.

    So, word usage aside, how does one become a "Master of Whiskey"? Apparently, that is a title adopted by Diageo for their whiskey brand ambassadors. Although in the Binny's case she will be hawking scotch, I found her and her fellow Masters (male and female) on the Crown Royal web site.

    So, presumably, she is a "Master of Whiskey" in the same sense that those guys who do the Knob Creek shows are "Whiskey Professors."
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    Last edited by cowdery; 11-09-2009 at 13:41.

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    it seems that she is based in Chicago and spends most of her time doing PR events for Diageo.

    You can even follow her on twitter here
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  3. #3
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    it seems that she is based in Chicago and spends most of her time doing PR events for Diageo.

    You can even follow her on twitter here
    She ran an event in the Detroit area recently, I think. Or it may have been Indianapolis. I forget where I live sometimes

    On a semi-related note, Emmanuelle Boisvert of Detroit Symphony Orchestra is referred to as the Concertmaster, not the Concertmistress, even though she is, very much, a woman. She is also Quebecois which always complicates things.
    emmanuelleboisvert.jpg
    Last edited by Josh; 11-09-2009 at 15:41.
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  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    what really puzzled me was that title, "Master of Whiskey." My first thought was, "shouldn't it be mistress?"
    Or perhaps it would be "Marthter" in Transylvania? Sorry, too many Mel Brooks movies as a kid...
    Mark Edwards - Proof of Sanity Forged Upon Request

  5. #5
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    I see no reason to refrain from using "master" regardless of gender. Notice I said gender not sex. That is one usage I find irksome, using the word sex to mean gender.

    Even more so are ridiculous attempts to come up with gender neutral titles like "the chair" in place of chairman.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    Quote Originally Posted by ILLfarmboy View Post
    I see no reason to refrain from using "master" regardless of gender. Notice I said gender not sex. That is one usage I find irksome, using the word sex to mean gender.

    Even more so are ridiculous attempts to come up with gender neutral titles like "the chair" in place of chairman.
    Just because you don't choose to "see" a reason doesn't mean one doesn't exist, though admittedly the struggle to solve the problem has led to some very awkward formulations. Some of the better solutions are contrary to standard grammar rules, such as using the pronoun "they" to avoid having to say "he or she" all the time when referring to a singular subject.

    But I'm with you 100% on "gender," which is also the term I use, instead of "sex." I'm not quite sure why "sex" is wrong, but "gender" is better.

    And, yes, I also agree that just using the traditional masculine forms, such as "master," and getting people used to regarding them as gender-neutral is a better solution than most of the alternatives.

  7. #7
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    Re: Master or Mistress?

    A great line a boss said to me once while handing me an applicant's college transcript.

    "I don't know if we should hire her, she even got an "F" is sex."

    I too don't like the use of "sex" when the meaning is gender.

 

 

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