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Common Courtesy: In Which Miss Manners Solves the Problem That Baffled Mr.…

por Judith Martin

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In this pithy book published in 1985, Judith Martin makes an argument similar to the one Anne-Marie Slaughter made thirty years later in Unfinished Business: that there should be some separation between work and personal time, and that people of both genders should enjoy some of each. This would promote equality and increase happiness. Sadly, though we've made some progress, we're still far from this goal. Martin also makes the point that all work has dignity and one's identity shouldn't be based on the type of work one does; all work - and all people - should be respected.

--makes the distinction between manners and etiquette

Quotes

In point of fact, we are all born rude. No infant has ever appeared with the grace to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the middle of the night. (11-12)

The charge is often made against etiquette that it is artificial. Yes, indeed, it is. Civilization is artificial. (13)

Nowadays, we never allow ourselves the convenience of being temporarily unavailable, even to strangers. (26)

It is surely a premise of democracy that the rules apply equally to everyone. (32)

We have also finally noticed that dividing the tasks of work and leisure by gender leaves a lot of dissatisfied people - overburdened men and bored women....The simple idea that everyone needs a reasonable amount of challenging work in his or her life, and also a personal life...has never really taken hold. (38-39)

A woman was either a lady or she wasn't....there is no female equivalent of the boys-will-be-boys concept. (50-51)

Instead of assigning people to one or the other [commercial or personal realm] by gender, we need to change the society so that everyone can enjoy some of each. (65-66)

One should not be assigned one's identity in society by the job slot one happens to fill. If we truly believe in the dignity of labor, any task can be performed with equal pride because none can demean the basic dignity of a human being. (69) ( )
  JennyArch | Feb 3, 2016 |
Miss Manners may understand etiquette and the American society, but writing on a topic that strives to keep our attention alludes her. While reading others on the craft of writing including nonfiction, it is clear that Miss Martin has a great failing, for I felt the need to take three naps while reading this short 70 page work.

So full of her philosophy with a brief smattering of the history, the entirety of the work goes round about the issue without ever saying outright what is Common Courtesy.

What Miss Martin has come up with, if I can read between the lines, since she only leaves us this mechanism to understand her, is that you say Potato and I say PoTahToe.

And that is what America has evolved into and that it may not be alright, but it is. The opening of the book takes great care to say that manners evolve across the globe and that truly they know little of national boundaries, but become instinctive. I can see that thought in reality, but if one is the arbiter of manners, one should be able to define if for us all and then push us towards what that courtesy should be. This book does not. In the end it becomes a waste of my time, especially when nine out of ten words were her hyperbole of thought. ( )
  DWWilkin | Aug 5, 2011 |
I've read and rereadthis book -- several times. It is fresh every time I pick it up and offers classic insights to etiquette and proper behavior. I wish I knew its lessons when I was a rude and impertinent youth.
1 vota prepper | Jul 10, 2007 |
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