November 10, 2002
BEHAVE YOURSELF:A Kinder, Gentler Nation: a review of 'Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change) by Judith Martin (Michael Kammen, November 10, 2002, The Washington Post)
Martin defines etiquette broadly at the outset and once again later: "Etiquette does more than act as a paralegal system to root out annoyance before it blossoms into crime. It defines a community by providing the language of rituals and symbols with which members identify their commonality while busily sizing up one another individually." Subsequently, she refers to "etiquette's true goal of making human relations easier."
It perhaps says more about the state of our culture than about her politics that Miss Manners, simply be insisting that behavior is an expression of character and that society is entitled to expect certain minimal levels of good behavior, is a subversively conservative author. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 10, 2002 5:02 PM