Why I Love Miss Manners, Reason #375

 Posted by on 8 March 2005 at 7:11 am  Uncategorized
Mar 082005

Here’s a nice little tidbit from Miss Manners’ latest column:

Etiquette’s prejudice for the personal is commonly mistaken for a blanket antipathy toward technology, and indeed toward progress itself. Such is not the case. Miss Manners cannot bear to fire her horse, but she believes it would be exciting to risk a horseless carriage after he retires.

She is on record as having been first to defend such useful appliances as the telephone answering machine (when others were decrying people who “screened their calls” instead of leaving this door open all the time) and the cellular telephone (which is still being condemned as show-offy, although most of the population now has them). Naturally, Miss Manners demands that these items be used politely, as she does in connection with everything from kid gloves to hockey sticks. When they are not, she blames the misuser rather than the tool.

I very much enjoy Miss Manners’ writings on etiquette, as her approach to the subject is quite rational, i.e. not burdened with the sort of traditionalism, altruism, or collectivism so often found in justifications for manners. Plus, she’s just damn funny, in her own unique understated way.

I cannot claim any great virtue in etiquette, although I do strive to be more thoughtful about such matters. Nonetheless, an argumentum ad Miss Mannersum carries great weight with me!

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