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Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Martin Defends American Etiquette (for a Change)
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New other : lowest price. About this product Product Information In this "wryly perceptive, historically informed" new book, America's leading expert on civility reminds her Gentle Readers that when the Founding Fathers created a revolution in the name of individual liberty and equality, they also took a stand against hierarchical European etiquette in favor of simplicity over ceremony, and personal dignity over obsequiousness to our rulers.
Hailed by George Will as "The National Bureau of Standards," Judith Martin, who has "made etiquette writing an exercise in wit" , recounts here how Americans fashioned this etiquette of egalitarian respecta fascinating story that spans from the misunderstood origins of our table manners to the much overlooked legacy of African slaves to etiquette. Additional Product Features Illustrated. A bracingly sensible guide to living peaceably together.
Highly recommended. Those who pay attention will be rewarded with keen insights. Show More Show Less. Add to Cart. Pre-owned Pre-owned. See all Ratings and Reviews Write a review. As immigrants arrived laden with customs from the Old Country - "cultural baggage," Martin calls it - they absorbed bits and pieces of other people's heritage, gradually reshaping behavior standards for everyone. Even slavery played an influential role. Southern graciousness, Martin says, traces its roots not to Britain but to Africa. Some house slaves, known as Mammy, came from cultured classes in Africa, causing Charles Dickens and others to observe that Southern ladies spoke like their black nurses.
Today, Jefferson's experiment in egalitarianism lives on. Populism's latest incarnation can be found in the workplace, where first names prevail and it's supposedly OK to tell the boss exactly what you think. Similarly, Casual Friday offers another kind of charade - that clothes don't have any symbolic content. Describing this sartorial confusion, Martin asks, "What do you wear to symbolize authority, competence, and relaxation all at once?
Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change)
From the nation's earliest history, Martin observes, Americans have drawn "universal sneers" for the crudeness of their behavior, a criticism that continues today. We may be loud-mouthed rubes in blue jeans, but that hasn't stopped our etiquette from becoming "the most influential force of its kind in the world. As chief of the etiquette police, Martin frets that Americans still aren't minding their manners very well.
A Gentle Reader can almost see the disapproving arch of her brow and the tight purse of her lips as she tut-tuts about everything from road rage to guest towels to honorifics. Yet she is right, and often funny. She also sees hope on the social horizon. As social history, "Star-Spangled Manners" offers a fascinating account of how we have arrived at the standards of etiquette we follow - or disregard - today.
As a road map for where we need to go and how to get there, it is less successful.
One proposed remedy for deficient manners sounds simplistic and vague: "All it would take to solve our own problem is a commitment to obey our own etiquette code, which is minimally restrictive, to adjust it where deemed necessary by achieving consensus and practicing patience during transitions, to teach it to our children, and to marginalize people who defy it. Problem solved.
A word of caution: Gentle Reader, do not tackle this book when you are tired.
Star Spangled Manners by Judith Martin | Penguin Random House Canada
Martin's sentences, particularly in the opening chapter, can be labyrinthine one stretches to words - with a tangle of clauses and phrases set off by dashes and parentheses. Still, those who pay attention will be rewarded often with keen insights. And who can fail to be impressed by Martin's tireless, quarter-century-long quest to convince a casual, egalitarian nation that etiquette's true goal is to make human relations easier?