Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

mind your manners

Through work, I got a copy of Lynne Truss's new(ish) book on manners yesterday. As I am fond of bemoaning the rudeness of the world, and I loved the collection of Truss's pre-punctuation-obsession journalism which I got through work a few years ago, I thought I would like it. But no! It's such a mean-spirited, snobbish, nasty little book, perfectly summed up here (and it's fairly obvious that the abridger's last line there - "but most of all I hate former liberals who turn into miserable old reactionaries." - is aimed at La Truss herself). If you were tempted even to buy it for someone as a present, don't. Unless they believe that just because you find someone saying "there you go" when giving you something, they are being incredibly over-familiar and rude. Which I don't, myself. Nor do I think that giving politicians a hard time is wrong, or indeed rude. But Truss does. So she can just go fuck herself - oops!



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
I didn't fancy it, when I looked at it in the shops. My friend K. had it on her wishlist for Christmas, but I 'happened' to choose other things instead...

On the other hand, I do still love Truss's 'Making the Cat Laugh'. I think it was out of print for a while, and I was known to seek it out second-hand in order to press it onto friends.
Jan. 11th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
This summer I read a book whut said that if yer British and you say "Pardon?" you're LMC, because UC people and UMC people say "Sorry."

Feh. I is a Yank. Pardon me.
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:15 am (UTC)
What do LMC and UC and UMC mean?
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:46 am (UTC)
Lower Middle Class, Upper Class and Upper Middle Class, I assume. It's one of Nancy Mitford's.

Jan. 12th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Lower-Middle Class, Upper Class and Upper-Middle Class.
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:31 am (UTC)
Was it U and Non-U by Nancy Mitford, by any chance?
Jan. 12th, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
Nope, a "popular" anthro text on English culture.
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:20 am (UTC)
Yes, I looked at in a bookshop and thought it was both whiny and inconsistent - you could never predict which commonly used phrases she would say were rude. It all seemed a bit random.
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:58 am (UTC)
I have no time for "the world is so much worse than it uuused to beee!" so I was fairly irritated by it before I'd even looked at it. What's particularly annoying is it spoils Talk to the Hand, which I did really like. Truss has sort of spoiled the humorous, tolerant persona she had in that, who wanted to make a fuss about punctuation but sounded like she had a sense of proportion, by writing something so petty and downright snobbish. I loathe people who think that nobody in the world is as polite as they are themselves.

There's a book I like much better called Watching the English which has brilliant ripostes to that kind of grumbling (actually, perhaps that's the Kate Fox that the digest is referring to?) She talks about the fact that nobody would ever even notice when someone doesn't say please or thank you if they weren't expecting it, so even the complaint suggests that politeness is still the norm and its absence the exception. And that the average small transaction in England is overloaded with Ps & Qs. You can quite easily imagine a conversation where there's an apology, a thank you or a please in nearly every line and it's perfectly natural:

"Hey up. Could I just get these, and a box of matches, please?"
"Yes - sorry, the large ones or the small ones?"
"Oh sorry - the small ones. Thanks."
"OK. That's three fifty-three, please."
"There you go - oh, did you want the fifty-three?"
"Ooh, please."
"Here you are. Thanks."
"And your change - "
"Thanks very much. See you, then!"
"Bye! Thanks!"
Jan. 11th, 2006 10:42 am (UTC)
It's the same in Ireland, I think. Apparently people from other cultures find it quite peculiar, as the same conversation would be perfectly polite to them minus most of the pleases and sorries and thankyou very muches - Brian's Chinese teacher was saying that she couldn't get the hang of it at all when she moved to Ireland first.
Jan. 11th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC)
Yes, I can imagine it would be the same in Ireland. It's so ingrained, though! When I worked in Saxone as a teenager, I kept catching myself apologising to people who had bumped into me or trodden on my toes: sort of, "Oh, I am so sorry for putting my foot where you wished to put yours!" And then one day, I found myself thanking someone who had trodden on my toes, and I knew it was time to find a new job...

Or possibly a new nationality, now I come to think about it.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


fat pony like thunder
The Monkey Princess

Latest Month

July 2009


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Cindy S.