Which is worse?

Being addressed as ‘Dear Sir’ by someone who has sent a letter to my department which came to me due to my particular role in the department? Or being addressed as ‘Dear Miss Jender’ in an email from the university bookshop about what books I need ordered for the Autumn semester? Both in 48 hours. What next? I eagerly await. Do feel free to share similar linguistic annoyances here!

Italy and Roma

Probably unbeknownst to most Americans, one of the most discriminated-against groups in Europe is the Roma. And Italy has become, especially recently, an especially bad place to be Roma. Berlusconi has recently launched a campaign to fingerprint all of Italy’s Roma population (and nobody else). But what seems to finally be waking people up to how bad things are is what happened on a beach in Naples. According to reports (for some questionning of them, see the links here), four Roma sisters went swimming despite lack of knowledge of how to swim. Two of them drowned. Many people failed to even try to help. Their bodies were laid on the beach. Then everybody got back to sunbathing– not allowing a couple corpses on the beach to interfere with their holiday. Photos were taken of holiday-makers sunning themselves by the bodies. I’m not posting them here, as I feel that might be disrespectful– but they serve to show the extent to which the Roma have been dehumanised in the minds of many Italians (and others). I’m so very depressed by this.