November 20, 2005


Manners and virtue in a modern world (George Will, Nov 20, 2005, Townhall)

Many people have no notion of propriety when in the presence of other people, because they are not actually in the presence of other people, even when they are in public.

With everyone chatting on cell phones when not floating in iPod-land, ``this is an age of social autism, in which people just can't see the value of imagining their impact on others.'' We are entertaining ourselves into inanition. (There are Web sites for people with Internet addiction. Think about that.) And multiplying technologies of portable entertainments will enable ``limitless self-absorption,'' which will make people solipsistic, inconsiderate and anti-social. Hence manners are becoming unmannerly in this ``age of lazy moral relativism combined with aggressive social insolence."

So says Lynne Truss in her latest trumpet-blast of a book, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2005 6:22 AM

Link doesn't work, but I like her sentiments. Stay home and bolt the door. Works for me.

Posted by: erp at November 20, 2005 7:42 AM

No. Communicating with others is not "Autism." Technology expands connectedness, it does not diminish it.My mind is projected through space by my cell-phone, and, obviously, by these very words. Ich Lehre euch den Uebermensch.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 20, 2005 8:17 AM

Manners have been in a steady decline since the Golden Age, if you take the word of The Lynne Trussses of every generation that bemoan them. I've actually been noticing how polite most young people working retail are nowadays. More polite than Boomers were, for sure.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 20, 2005 8:49 AM

Does this mean, in the spirit of comity and civility, Mr. Will plans to go out Christmas caroling with Harriet Miers this December?

Posted by: John at November 20, 2005 9:23 AM


He should push Krauthammer around so they can serenade outside Alito's front door. Of course, their choice of songs might be a bit limited.

Posted by: ratbert at November 20, 2005 10:41 AM

Link was broken for me as well; here is one that works:

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at November 20, 2005 10:45 AM

Isn't it rude to speak poorly of others behind their backs? I find people too touchy. I don't have a problem with cellphones as long as people are talking at appropriate levels and in appropriate places.

Posted by: RC at November 21, 2005 3:43 AM


After all, cellphones represent conversation by a different means.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 21, 2005 8:50 AM

Isn't it rude to speak poorly of others behind their backs?

Not as rude as speaking poorly of them to their face.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 21, 2005 10:38 PM