Arch Stanton Guest Post: A Ranking of Global Titles and Honorifics

An ordered ranking of titles or honorifics I would liked preceding my name. To be clear, I will accept any of them, and the ranking is more or less arbitrary. Some warrant long discussion or clarification, some don’t. Don’t bitch about how I only included the masculine derivations – it’s not my fault history features almost entirely male rulers. I’ll do my best to summarize some of the more abstract ones. Starting from the bottom:

  1. Sir: The lamest of titles – seriously, they gave one to fucking Bono. I would almost be insulted if offered it. This is what the drive-thru attendant at McDonalds call you after he dipped his balls in your drink. This is what you say to the cop that just wrote you a ticket before you call him a fuckface under your breath. This is what your overweight gym teacher demanded you call him. I get its granted by the Queen, but c’mon, it’s shit. I bet the Queen is hoping she dies before she needs to knight a DJ. (Related – Clint Eastwood is knighted! Clint: 1. John: 0.) (Brief DD Interjection: FUCK YOU, ARCH! “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” – John Wayne)
  1. Elder: This is the guy who passes around the collection plate at church on Sunday mornings, basically to get out of wrangling his kids during the boring services. Hard pass.
  1. Laird: As a concept (the owner of a large and long-established Scottish estate) – awesome. As a title – unimpressive. Too similar to lard, and I don’t need to draw the comparisons.
  1. Boyar: An aristocratic member of Russia, next in rank to a prince. I knew a guy with the last name Boyar in undergrad, and he was a weirdo. He got married and had a kid within a year of graduating. No thanks. (DD Interjection: Boyar was far beyond “socially uncomfortable” – what a weird guy)
  1. Honorable: I hear it and think local or small-court judge, but televised!
  1. Earl: Has been repossessed in the name of American culture as the name of schlubby guys with far more attractive wives on sitcoms.
  1. Nawab: A Muslim ruler in South Asia. Doesn’t roll off the tongue.
  1. Prime Minister: It just seems so… petty. So European. Ugh.
  1. Pasha: A high-ranking Turkish officer.
  1. Lord: Not bad, but kind of played out with the rise of “Game of Thrones”. Lacks imagination.
  1. Imtiaz: Kind of a vague title for someone distinct or unique from Arabia.
  1. Szlachta: Legally privileged noble class of Poland – who wants that? And the title, it’s just so… Polish. No.
  1. Emir: A Muslim ruler or local military commander. Short, simple, kinda boring but not inoffensive.
  1. Lama: Buddhist teacher. He can really haul off and whack one – big hitters, the lamas – long into a ten thousand foot crevasse. You know what he says to me? Gunga galunga. So we finish eighteen and he’s going to stiff me, and I say, “hey lama, how about something for, ya know, the effort?” and he says, “oh there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that going for me, which is nice.
  1. Samraja: An Indian king or prince, above a regular raj. The ‘sam’ complicates it.
  1. Count: Middle of the road British nobility. A middle of the road name for a middle of the road title.
  1. Sayyid: A Muslim descendant from Muhammad. Seems a bit blasphemous to me, but what do I know.
  1. Datu: Senior members of Phillipino royalty. Eh.
  1. Shah: Monarch of Iran. Sure, I’ll take it I GUESS.
  1. Cardinal: Senior member of Roman Catholic Church. Ho-hum.
  1. Kazoku: Japanese title for an individual in the line of succession.
  1. Marquess: British nobility. Before we get to the rest of the titles below, the order of importance, starting with the most significant title to the least: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron. It just lacks that “UMPH” you want in a title ya know?
  1. Sharif: Someone of noble or highborn Arab class.
  1. Sheik/Shayks: Another Arab leader, but not quite a hereditary or noble birth, but still — “Sheik Stanton” works for me.  (DD: I love this)
  1. Maharaja: Sanskrit for “great or high ruler”. I could work with it.
  1. Junker: A young German noble or lord. Has really been bastardized into crappy or a drug addict, but kinda bangs as a sophisticated title. The associations drag it down a notch. I feel like you would be confused for a poor person in the Star Wars universe.
  1. Brahmin: Highest Indian class of priests, teachers and educators.
  1. Dauphin: Heir apparent to the French throne. A bit feminine for my taste, but feels regal regardless.
  1. Caliph: The primary Muslim civil and religious leader acting as a successor from Muhammad. Another one that is pretty great, but seeing as how whenever anyone hears it, all they think is “ISIS claimed they were the new caliph right?”, probably not something to be associated with if you ever want to fly on a public airplane again.
  1. President: Has lost it’s luster recently. They’ll let ANYONE be a president now.
  1. Suzerain: An individual placed in charge of another autonomous state in order to exude control – think a British appointment sent to India to run the country. A pretty rad imperialist concept if I may say so myself.
  1. King/Emperor: Overdone. Not against it, but very played out in modern culture. Taking one would get you confused with a competitive Dungeon Master or adult kickball league MVP.
  1. Duke: Sure.
  1. Senator: Not like our modern, American senators, who are feckless cowards in the face of the oncoming Trump Train, but in the Roman sense. If the former, much lower, but if the latter, I would be pretty comfortable with.
  1. Bishop: Technically below Cardinals (and Archbishops but we’ll do just the one), but do cardinals have the coolest chess piece named after them? They do not. Bishop is a rad title.
  1. Raj: Indian ruler. I like it.
  1. Viscount: The ‘vis’ makes it hella cool. I feel like a virtuous dignitary on an intergalactic space station. Getting to the good stuff now.
  1. Burgrave: A German ruler or governor of a town or castle. A little under the radar as far as titles go, but even if you didn’t know what it was, you’d think, “oh shit that’s a bad ass” when someone introduces themselves as Burgrave.
  1. Margrave: A Holy Roman Empire commander sent to maintain a border province of said empire. Castles are cool, but a whole province? C’mon, that shit is cool.
  1. Shogun: Japanese commander-in-chief. The Japanese have always had emperors who were considered the rulers, but shoguns controlled all the military might at a time in history when that was basically all you had if you claimed to be in power, so shoguns were the real heads of state in feudal Japan. Projects a sense that you are not to be fucked with.
  1. Jagir: A feudal lord in South Asia. It sounds like jaguar!
  1. Baron: The lowest of British nobility, but by far the coolest. You’d be impressed if you met a Duke or a Marquess, but you’d think “aww yeah this dude fucks” if you met a baron.
  1. Sultan: Muslim sovereign ruler. It just has the right panache, ya know?
  1. Chief: Not going to lie, this might be the best title if you think about it. What is a chief? He is all forms of government for an area, as well as the military leader and cultural epoch. Chiefs are cool, and, if assigned as it was originally intended, a truly bad ass title. It loses points because it has been so diminished by dudes in pop collars at bars trying to act like they want to fight and put someone down by sarcastically calling them “chief”. Way to go dildos, you ruined the coolest title.
  1. Hidalgo: Not the horse, but nobility on the Iberian peninsula who were exempted from taxes but owned little property. I am fascinated as to how that all worked. If I introduce myself as “Hidalgo Stanton”, you’re first thought would be ‘he doesn’t look Hispanic.’
  1. Czar: Russian emperors. Exudes superiority and power, and that’s really what this all about. Loses points for being eradicated as a concept in a basement somewhere during the Russian Revolution.
  1. Governor: Not in the American state sense, but like the head of state for a foreign territory or Caribbean island. THAT is the type of persona I wish to flaunt. “Here’s Governor Stanton, and welcome to our tropical paradise, would you like a rum-based drink out of a coconut with a little umbrella in it? Hell yes you do.”
  1. Sheriff: Probably the lowest ranking title here, but definitely one of the coolest. Seeing as how this is partially a Western movies themed blog, its high rank is doubly warranted.
  1. High Priest: Not just a regular priest, but like, higher. Typically Irish or Celtic in origin, but more widely accepted as “any non-Christian religious figure”. Christianity would call it blasphemous, but I would call it awesome.
  1. Kaiser: German for “emperor”. When you hear about kaisers, you are hearing about people who are not to be trifled with. Kaisers are here to fuck shit up, and I am on board.
  1. Sovereign: A bit vague and expansive for any particular definition, but typically used by imperial explorers or autocrats in reference to the rulers of another territory, used in order to convey their high rank without knowing the specific or preferred term for a ruler. You may get confused for a sovereign citizen slash someone who is definitely on multiple government watch lists, but it definitely has that je ne sais quoi I’m looking for. Radiates power and nobility, with a hint of intrigue.
  1. Viceroy: Similar to a suzerain, a ruler placed in charge to exercise authority over a colony on behalf of another state. I’ll be damned if the West didn’t come up with a lot of interesting ways to exert imperialist control over the rest of the world, all of which use bad ass titles. Similar to viscount, calling yourself Viceroy so-and-so makes me think you are a intergalactic strongman on a remote smugglers’ planet.
  1. Pharaoh: FUCK. YES. You know EXACTLY what is in store when you hear about Pharaohs, and that is definitely the title for me. You can squabble about the rankings, but you are incorrect if you pick anything other than Pharaoh as number one.
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