did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Manners

1

Where are the books with actual rules laid out plainly? I once got a Miss Manners book whose chapters made it seem comprehensive, but it was just a collection of letters being responded to, categorized.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:44 AM
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Guess what! There is no single set of rules.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:46 AM
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I love Miss Manners.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:47 AM
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Did I imply above I thought there were? I'm looking for where people have at least attempted to aggregate them.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:49 AM
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Perhaps I could glean it all from studying the letters carefully, but that is very Confucian for my tastes.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:50 AM
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that is a good article.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:59 AM
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5: I had the same issue when I was encouraged to start wearing hats at 40. Give me the most extreme version of hat etiquette rules and I'll decide which ones to flout, but don't wave at "everyone knows" or "just do what they're doing".

In the end, I laughed at late Victorian hat rules, which seem to work only if you get to ignore the vast majority of humanity due to living in a tiny place or class issues, but they were clear and the lengthy version indicated what the goal was, unlike disconnected "wear now, but not now" and "remove your hat when talking to (some) women" rules.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:08 AM
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Hat rules started to make a lot more sense to me when I realized it's more about interacting with people than about the presence of a roof. So if you're going to someone's office, you might keep your hat on going through the hallways.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:12 AM
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4: Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:22 AM
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My goodness, I must have written this essay while living my other life, because not only does it match fairly well with my experiences and anxieties but I am pretty sure I read that zine back in the nineties. Interesting to know that other-life Frowner has a wife and child; hope that's working out well.

I've read many narratives about white people just touching black hair and I read them with my mouth open. Not because of the racism, even. Just because as a polite person the idea of just reaching out and touching anyone's hair makes my eye twitch. When would it be appropriate? If there was a very large poisonous spider in their hair. If I was doing a magic trick. Or after six or more years of marriage.

That resonates very deeply with me. I make no claims to be a white person who has never done a racially clueless thing, but I've never worried about impulsively touching someone's hair uninvited because "touching someone without being asked or having very clear implied consent or needing to yank them out of the path of a bus, etc" seems just so ridiculously inappropriate and shocking. Why would you do that? We do not touch strangers! Much less their hair, which is if anything a more intimate thing to do!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:24 AM
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We do not touch strangers!

That's why many black women under those circumstances feel they're being treated as less than human.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:25 AM
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11: Yeah, that makes sense. God, so many people are so terrible.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:30 AM
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Like maybe a Buzzfeed listicle of manners would be useful.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:32 AM
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I have actually often thought of producing a "manners for artsy activist types" booklet, since I have learned that my ability to write a business email or have a somewhat professional-sounding phone call is impressive and mystifying to most of my friends. On the other hand, if they don't know how to do it, they are still impressed by my skills - if you teach a mouse to bake cookies, the mouse is no longer impressed by your chocolate chip recipe, etc.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:36 AM
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The toilet rule is interesting, and feels right to me somehow even with no experience to verify it, but I'd be at a loss to unpack it explicitly.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:36 AM
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MIT had charm school every January where they would accost people in the hall and essentially tell them they were slobs. You're wearing a white shirt and its 5 months until Memorial Day! I think there was a backlash so that while they still have classes they're more topic focused and voluntary attendance.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:38 AM
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Getting Judith Martin to give the Charm School commencement address was quite a coup, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:48 AM
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Post is what you are after I think minivet, a manual.

I almost sent this to you heebie! I think i stopped myself as I seemed to on point what with teaching my kid table manners and all.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:49 AM
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The people in 16 sound immensely rude.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 8:51 AM
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Wait, white people routinely touch the hair of black women on public transportation?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:26 AM
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That is a really good essay. Didn't realize until halfway through that it was Paul Ford (of "Real Editors Ship" fame, among much else).

I especially liked this:

Sometimes I'll get a call or email from someone five years after the last contact and I'll think, oh right, I hated that person. But they would never have known, of course. Let's see if I still hate them. Very often I find that I don't. Or that I hated them for a dumb reason. Or that they were having a bad day. Or much more likely, that I had been having a bad day.
People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don't have to have an opinion. You don't need to make a judgment. I know that doesn't sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life's riches.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:33 AM
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20: Not routinely. Sometimes weeks go by without this happening even once.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:34 AM
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I had the "wait, what" to both "white people routinely touch the hair of black strangers" and "MIT has a mandatory 'charm school' and manners enforcers."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:46 AM
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It's really possible to overdo "getting the other person to talk about themselves," both in dating and in non-romantic socializing. I can do it, but when I do it to the exclusion of talking about myself, or other people do it to me to the exclusion of talking about themselves, IME it doesn't actually lead to the feeling of warmth or intimacy that results in continued contact. The best interactions look for mutual points of contact and interest and alternate self-disclosures.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:49 AM
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21 That quoted passage is really great.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:51 AM
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Harrumph! Political correctness gone mad!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:52 AM
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White people totally touch the hair of black strangers all the time, yeah. Selah knew to speak up about it by her second birthday. (Though black people touch her hair too if it's loose. But the dynamic is different.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:55 AM
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I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman... I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson. She kept touching me as she talked. I forgave her for that.

And then he allowed himself to be dragged back into the party. Oh, come on!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:57 AM
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24: Yes, but the essay is 1) set in a context where the overwhelming majority of people are not even consciously aware that conversation between strangers-up-to-acquaintances requires some structure to function reasonably well, and 2) providing some structure allows sufficient space and time that real intimacy has a chance to develop.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:57 AM
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28 I feel his pain.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:58 AM
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31 But only very politely. I'd never touch it without asking if it's okay first.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:59 AM
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31 to 30


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:59 AM
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Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: "Wow. That sounds hard.

I recently read this passage quoted somewhere. I can't imagine applying this in my own life, because most of the people I meet at parties either do roughly what I do, or else they are artists, in which case give me a break.*

*Yes, yes, I know the life of an artist is hard, I live with one myself, but really, come on, give me a break.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:01 AM
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I was not aware that "can I touch your hair" was a thing people said to black women, much less a common thing, until about five years ago in a seminar thingy and I was...I don't even know. What is wrong with people? Appropriate responses to highlight the grossness of the question might include "sure, if I can stick my finger up your nose" or "depends, with what part of you?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:04 AM
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29: I guess I don't really understand what you mean by "structure," or the sense in which the article was advocating for "structure." It sounded like it was advocating for a series of conversational gambits that try to make the other person talk about themselves (is that structure?). Which of course you should use, but judiciously, and you should offer something of yourself too. I also don't feel like my experience of the world is that it's all that hard to talk to new people or that those conversations are usually vexed by the presence of a dominating blowhard. Also, two of my local cultures (NYC, urban Jews) have something of a joyously interrupty, tangential style of speaking, and it works out well when you're performing that dance with someone who knows it.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:05 AM
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21,24 I like the sentences in 21-- "suffer from ambition" is an excellent phrase and excellent idea. At least for me, sometimes my goal is not continued contact, but to be able to see other people from a perspective that is at least partly positive.
I don't take initial boasts all that well usually, but if I can keep listening or get other people talking, often a broader perspective is possible.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:05 AM
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Charm school wasn't mandatory, it was during IAP (aka J-term to other less rigorous schools in the area) but yeah, the people involved stalked the main corridor everyone used due to January weather. If I remember correctly they gave out traffic-ticket like "charm violations" to people walking by as a way of advertising their events.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:09 AM
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The problem comes when two people play the "get them to talk about themselves" card against one another. I was once in this situation and we ended up analysing the small eats and parted each thinking the other was an idiot. (Theme music)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:14 AM
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Speaking for thirty minutes about Jessica Simpson is unforgiveable.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:14 AM
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"it works out well when you're performing that dance with someone who knows it" - you have been lucky to spend what sounds like a lot of time with people different from those the writer has. Also, he's exaggerating for effect.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:15 AM
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16: But surely these MIT charm-school types were not under the impression that you can't wear a white shirt after Memorial Day? White shirts are not only acceptable for year-round wear but virtually mandatory if you're either a cater-waiter or working for a particularly business-formal firm. Or if you're Janelle Monae, although frankly Janelle Monae can wear whatever she wants at any time of year as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:21 AM
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I can absolutely believe that there's a general phenomenon of people randomly touching the hair of black women they don't know, but it's still staggering to me. What on earth is the person doing it thinking? I can't imagine they'd do it to anyone at all, because I've only ever heard of it being done to black women. So what is the idea?

Also this (from the link, quoting someone) isn't the normal use of the term 'k-hole', is it? Because I do not think II've seen that term used this way:

...having someone touch me without my permission just fucks with my day and sense of privacy and personal space and sends me into a k-hole spiral of wondering what unconscious signal I may have given to indicate that it would be OK...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:31 AM
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It's like petting a dog that walks past, except you wouldn't do that without asking because it might bite you. It's a chance to say "Ewww, your locs feel like cheetos!" or "Wow, that's really soft. I thought it would be like a brillo pad!" or, 97% of the time, "That's what my pubes feel like!" Really, I swear. I guess the essay was right that people should google it because there's a lot of first-hand narrative about it out there.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:34 AM
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The more I think about it the more unpleasant and manipulative it's starting to feel. The OP.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:38 AM
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Touching a stranger's hair out of curiousity is only acceptable if you're from some tiny, isolated rural village and you've never met anyone outside of your extended family.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:38 AM
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39. I think that I would actually enjoy a 30-minute conversation about Jessica Simpson with most people here, or with many of my IRL friends. Her biography seems like she's an interesting pop-culture figure-- not as tragic as Anna Nicole Smith, not as fatuous as Kim K is publicly, but with some kind of inner tension. I am unfamiliar with her work though, maybe I'd be less interested if I heard it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:49 AM
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45: I met someone that happened to. We were on vacation on a Caribbean island resort, and met an Asian-American couple from San Francisco who were on their honeymoon. They took a boat to a slightly larger, non-resort island to go to church. Sunday afternoon they reported that they sensed that the kids at the church had never seen an Asian person before (most of the parents worked at the resort, but the kids never go there), and possibly had never seen a Caucasian either, and they let kids touch their hair.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:51 AM
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I really wish charm school was a thing. Lists of rules are probably insufficient, especially if they are preoccupied with hats. Real practice in navigating common social situations while treating people respectfully, and some structure to help reinforce thoughtfulness.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:53 AM
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46: I am not an expert, but I believe that Jessica Simpson's two great contributions to our culture are

1) her confusion over whether Chicken of the Sea was actually chicken or tuna,

and

2) her line of shoes.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:55 AM
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48: I was going to say it is but apparently it hasn't been for a few years.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:57 AM
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48: How to Win Friends and Influence People is something like that.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:06 AM
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Peep, you've got about another 29 minutes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:06 AM
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Now that I understand that 52 is to 49, it's pretty funny.
.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:12 AM
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The hair thing is really bizarre. What are people even thinking?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:13 AM
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49. Personally, I'm interested in understanding why there are enough people who like her to provide her with economic inertia.

49.last: Can anyone explain this to me ? The glossy animal print surface is invisible when the shoe is worn, so this is theoretically like secretly wearing daring underwear, right? But is that done ironically, like bachelorette party tchotchkes, or is there an ambiguity between something genuine and something theatrically kitschy ? And is that performance of intention identical at time of buying and time of wearing, or do those differ also.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:16 AM
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I was raised to be polite (not that you'd know it from the internet), but I find his point about leaving relationship doors open to be really key, and one often overlooked in politeness conversations. I'm generally (silently!) quite judgey when I first meet people, and form negative impressions more easily than positive ones. I am polite, people never notice I dislike them, and then about 60% of the time I realize I was completely wrong in my initial dislike. Being polite also helped in hierarchical and cliquey situations like summer camp as a kid/teen. Be nice to all but keep everyone at arms distance and you'll generally avoid getting lumped in any sort of social group.

His advice for small talk is right if your goal is to get through or make a certain sort of very superficial good impression, but it does foreclose real conversation. Also, mining people for knowledge without ever giving up any yourself is also a power move, and if carried to extreme is more a sign of a social manipulator rather than a polite person.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:18 AM
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Shoe linings: a private amusement for the wearer. Easy ID on a shelf. For the shoe ad a sculptural or fetish object.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:22 AM
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My final point is somewhat pwned by 44.

I learned a polite thing is to learn 1-2 flattering things about people and use them in introductions. Even better is if you can find a point of commonality between the two people you're introducing. e.g., "Ms. Y, meet Mr. X. Mr. X is from Baltimore, and also had his personal details released in the Ashley Madison hack."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:22 AM
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I meant as not ad, but either way.

Buttercup, seems to me some old-fashioned politeness would work very well in Chin. Yesno? My father got an important job in Japan partly from a Southern ability to work indirectly.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:25 AM
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55: More mundanely, I think it's to make the shoe look better when shown on the internet. I seem to recall reading an article about how things are designed now in part to make sure that they will show to advantage onscreen. (And of course, it will be more eye-catching in the store.)

Also, with that type of shoe, people will see flashes of the print when you're wearing it - your foot will move.

I don't think the leopard print is so much about irony or naughtiness in general - I think when it's deployed with pink, it's more a sign of a certain lower middle class "fun but good girl" femininity. Kicky enough to think that leopard print is amusing, not too sexual or outdated in sensibility.

Although actually leopard print has become intensely respectable in the past few years - well off middle class lady brands tend to have some leopard prints in silk or cashmere, for instance - Talbots often does, for example. I'm not sure exactly how this works, culturally.

I myself have a very nice tiger print silk tee that I've been wearing a lot this summer with black pants. It amuses me, because a tiger print tee with black pants would have been pretty punk rock kitsch when I was coming up but it is in fact one of my more work-appropriate outfits now, due to the shift in signifiers.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:27 AM
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58.2 is an excellent example of knowledge as power play! But also, if you aren't being g a jerk with it, an expensive unfakeable signal.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:27 AM
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But is that done ironically, like bachelorette party tchotchkes, or is there an ambiguity between something genuine and something theatrically kitschy ?

Oddly enough, I asked Jessica this exact question the other day, and as you would expect from an artist she wouldn't give anything anyway, only conceding that she does enjoy the ambiguity.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:28 AM
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45

I've had my hair and skin touched quite a bit. (The best is when someone licks their thumb and rubs your skin to see if it comes off.) In the US I had my hair touched a bit as a kid, but I was more ok with that 1) it's an infantilizing move but I was a kid and 2) I am on the extreme of the melanin bell curve, my hair and skin color are objectively rare. I grew up in part in an African-American neighborhood, and there was also an easy friendlier sociality that made it seem less weird or invasive, and most of the people touching me were adult black women or children my own age, so it wasn't threatening. When I was 5, my parents took us to church in South Tyrol, and the older ladies in the pew behind kept stroking my and my sister's hair. That gets back to remote village.

In rural China, I also get touched a lot, again almost entirely by older women and children, which I can brush off in the moment but does add up over time.* Being treated as not quite an adult human is really psychologically wearing, and one reason why two years was a really long time to live there, and a key reason why I wouldn't want to live there permanently.

*One time I almost snapped in the moment was when I was with a friend, and an older neighbor women came up, pointed at me, and asked her, "what's this?" (zhe shi shenme?). I've had some other shocking moments of terrible behavior too, like a woman bursting into the bathroom to watch me pee. I wanted to shout, "I'm not a zoo animal!" But instead I just ran away. This was 10 years ago in another remote part of China. I had a gyno exam too (also 10 years ago, but in a city where people should know better), where all the women in the waiting room decided they wanted to watch, but my need to get angry at them was mitigated by the rage aneurysm of the gynecologist, who called the women backwards peasants and told them they were embarrassing China.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:33 AM
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59

Oh absolutely. Not expressing what you're thinking, not getting visibly angry, and knowing what people want to hear and then telling them that (not in a creepy way) gets you really far. People in China tell me that I'm really Chinese, but it's really just that even though there are lots of differences, the same sorts foundations of formalized politeness work really well cross culturally.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:36 AM
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63: Wow!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:37 AM
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English lacks the means to succinctly express the difference between a) I don't believe you, and b) I believe you, but that is very surprising. Let's call them a-incredulity and b-incredulity. I meant b-incredulity. The mindset of it is totally alien to me. (In contrast, while catcalling is terrible it's not inexplicable. It's not like I can't imagine the mindset of someone who catcalls.)

I spent a week in Egypt once. In that time, women touched my hair constantly. Several times a day, in Cairo. It was very mysterious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:37 AM
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60. Very helpful, thanks, especially this sentence which
has overtones of JS as backwards peasant:

I think when it's deployed with pink, it's more a sign of a certain lower middle class "fun but good girl" femininity. Kicky enough to think that leopard print is amusing, not too sexual or outdated in sensibility.

So looking at and possibly buying shoes like this is a bit like buying books that might never get read?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:39 AM
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58.2: I had a rare opportunity to do an introduction like that at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit opening. I introduced 2 artists that I knew to each other, "M -- this is L -- she won 3rd Best in Show. L -- this is M - he won 2nd Best in Show."

Fisticuffs ensued.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:41 AM
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ahimsub, I first learned about hair-touching because the black kids in the apartment building where my family lived before I was born would touch my sister's platinum blond, straight hair and because LB's "ramen" hair was often touched in Japan. Then the internet taught me about the ubiquity of touching black girls' hair. Like so many things, it's a widespread impulse that becomes problematic* thanks to white supremacism.

I just remembered that at one point in HS, some female friend of mine for some reason felt my hair, which she found notably soft/silky, and so she called others over to stroke it as well. I neither found $5 nor had an orgy.

*as opposed to merely impolite


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:42 AM
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66: Are you blonde?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:43 AM
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AB has many stories like the asterisked ones in 63, not including the gyne one. It was rural Japan, but not exactly backwoods; maybe 2 hours from Osaka by train?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:45 AM
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67: It really has nothing to do with Jessica Simpson - I/m sure she's lovely, but I doubt that she does very much shoe designing, and certainly no shoe marketizing/focus-grouping. I hear mainly good things about the shoes qua shoes. I don't mean to sound like it's a backwards-peasant thing, more that the way femininity is performed varies from social class to social class. So while you might be all UMC and wear shoes with leopard insoles, they wouldn't look like that.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:47 AM
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I know that etymologically "polite" has no relation to "polis" but it ought to - so much of polite behaviour is basically how to interact with someone who you aren't in a dominance hierarchy with, which is the archetypal urban relationship. In the countryside you know your place and you stay in it - this is my land, I am your tenant, he is my serf and so on. Note that Confucianism despised the cities and the merchant class, and idolized both the peasant and the dominance hierarchy (ruler-subject, husband-wife, parent-child, teacher-student). You are someone's property - they own your appearance, the way you talk and act, everything. There's no room for the reserved equality of the civilised human.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:48 AM
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I can't even comprehend touching another person's hair because I have trouble with people being close enough to make contact with hair. Only this morning I was talking to someone and kept having to tell myself not to creep backwards as he moved more and more into my personal space (he was just being friendly, not flirty). I'm getting anxious just thinking about it.

I really wish everyone agreed with that line about the two or three foot invisible buffer (make it 3.5 feet). But I seem to be a freak about this. I flinch when people make a move to hug me or even squeeze my shoulder. I've had coworkers warn me after we worked together for years that they were going to hug me.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:01 PM
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55: striking colors on the insole, invisible when worn, are pretty common in women's shoes, right? This seems like a logical extension of that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:04 PM
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I have a manners bleg: I'm writing my syllabus right now, and arranging to have classes covered for the end of the semester when I'm out for surgery.

Inevitably, a student will ask at some point what kind of surgery it is. I do not mind telling them (mastectomy), and I don't care if they know why (BRCA+). But I want the answer to be quick and nonchalant and not time-consuming, and I don't want to imply that I've been diagnosed with cancer, so I need to provide some details. But students have usually not heard of BRCA and do not have a context for this kind of thing. How do I keep it as breezy as possible?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:10 PM
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Or do I just explain up front before being asked? I just want a game plan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:12 PM
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49: Dolce and Gabbana line otherwise staid skirts and things with leopard print silk. The whole wacky lining/wacky insole is common as can be and I am not sure can bear too much interpretation.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:14 PM
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Why do you have to tell them anything beyond "I'll be on leave and someone will fill in?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:14 PM
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Why do you have to tell them anything beyond "I'll be on leave and someone will fill in?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:14 PM
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Oops


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:14 PM
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78 con't: Especially interpretations about the mindset of the person buying it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:15 PM
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80: That hadn't occurred to me. That's reasonable, but I'd still like a back-up answer prepared in case someone asks where I'll be. Do I just say "it's a medical thing" and leave it at that?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:16 PM
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76

Is there any way you can teach your students it's incredibly rude to ask someone they're not close friends with about the nature of a medical condition?* If you feel like making it a teaching moment about BRCA, but it's really none of their business, and I can't imagine asking a professor about the nature of a surgery. Since it's a really rude question, I feel like any sort of response is fine, from a breezy, "it's a personal matter" to a more thorough explanation.

*Even if it's a close friend or relative you have to acknowledge the question is somewhat rude, so, "If you don't mind, may I inquire as to the nature of your surgery?"


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:16 PM
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I kind of forget that people aren't entitled to get answers to everything they ask. I have to work out these boundaries ahead of time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:18 PM
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I mean, it's normally rude to point out other people's rudeness, but they're students, so this could be a manners teaching moment as well.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:18 PM
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I mean, when I'm being asked the intrusive questions, I forget that it's ok to demur.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:19 PM
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Yeah, the more I think about this, I would say that even if you do tell them about BRCA, make sure to point out it's an inappropriate question to ask, and you're just telling them because you want to etc. Like, that sort of level of social faux pas can get you fired from jobs and the like.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:21 PM
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82: In the sense that one can't tell what a specific person buying something is thinking, yes. (I had some wonderfully stodgy dresses in my twenties, all bought as granny chic - certainly I wasn't thinking "I am a respectable middle class retiree; I would like an attractive, non-trendy little black dress in a pleasant material that will work for many kinds of evening out.")

In the sense that all these design and marketing choices are completely random and have nothing to do with social class, cultural background, the demographic the product is aimed at given the price point, cultural messages around how to perform gender, etc - surely not? I mean, I know I'm absolutely a sucker for aspirational clothes in nice fabrics that are really, in technical terms, slightly too old for me - show me the Eileen Fisher clearance rack and I'm gone - and that's absolutely because the Eileen Fisher team has my number. (Actually, if they really did have my number they could totally call me up for product advice.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:23 PM
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That's reasonable, but I'd still like a back-up answer prepared in case someone asks where I'll be.

Vegas?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:44 PM
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How do I keep it as breezy as possible?

"I'm having the Angelina Jolie surgery. Not the kind that makes you look like an actress, the kind that keeps you alive."

More seriously, if you want to answer their questions honestly but without too much detail: "I'm having preventative surgery. Luckily nothing is wrong yet, and the goal is to keep it that way."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:48 PM
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91 is excellent. Thank you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:51 PM
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I have really good manners considering how often I piss off people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:52 PM
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(91.2 is in fact how a Senior Administrator phrased their surgery announcement here just the other week. It has effectively shut down speculation and provides something useful for junior people to say when asked about the SA's absence. Very few people, it turns out, have the kind of courtesy-less curiousity that leads them to ask "preventing what?")


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:54 PM
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I suppose it would be impolite to mention that about halfway through this thread I was reminded of a podcast during which the question was asked "Does the movie still pass the Bechdel Test if the women talk only about shoes?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:54 PM
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91 1 & 2 are both great.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 12:58 PM
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so much of polite behaviour is basically how to interact with someone who you aren't in a dominance hierarchy with

This seems really wrong to me. Isn't there a whole set of various ways in which people are supposed to act with regards to their superiors, or ways in which politeness is displayed to your inferiors ("condescending" used to be a positive term!)? In fact it seems to me that there are more rules like this than not. I mean, at least in America they tend to be kind of invisible because pretending they aren't there is one of the big rules. But, well, they are damn well there. There are also a bunch of rules about manners that clearly express some dominance hierarchy that people now find objectionable, and that get argued about a lot: men opening doors for women, and such.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:00 PM
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95: Did you see the thing about how the spoken-word part at the beginning of "Baby Got Back" counts?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:00 PM
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97 was me.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:00 PM
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98: Yes, but '90s nostalgia fatigues and saddens me so I didn't get the joke.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:01 PM
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Those interested in manners might find this podcast amusing and or instructive: http://www.infiniteguest.org/awesome-etiquette/

I find it unlistenable in general but sometimes am stuck with it at the gym as can find nothing else, and realize it's actually perfectly anodyne. Something about the hosts just grates on me.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:04 PM
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You could also say you're going to get Angelina Jolie surgery, and then just leave them guessing as to what you'll look like when you get back.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:09 PM
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95: I would watch a movie in which the women only talked about shoes, provided that the movie was basically about shoes. I would prefer it if everyone in the movie talked mainly about shoes, in fact. How many movies would be improved if they were mostly about the characters' footwear choices!

Although really you could make quite a good movie about shoes - tension between old school workers, younger workers and new investment money in Northampton; hipster shoe production among some of the new makers in Maine; on a more serious note, labor struggles in any non-craft shoe factory; a pocket drama about a family shoe repair shop; the story of one of the very few highly trained women artisan shoemakers; the relationship between a mother and daughter in rural and urban China as mediated by embroidered insoles; that whole Jimmy Choo family drama thing, suitably rewritten so as to avoid libel, of course; goofy hijinks in the sneaker collection/sales community; an uneasy collaboration between a snob avant-garde designer and a mass production shoe line. Each of them could have hiLARious pun in the title.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:11 PM
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98 Yes, that was hilarious.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:13 PM
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103 An updated Peg & Awl.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:16 PM
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97.2: We have both kinds, country and western.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:21 PM
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95: Yes. A key aspect of the Bechdel Test is that even if you count every exception, no matter how stupid, it's hard to find movies that pass it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:25 PM
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103: "Kinky Boots ", for example.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:39 PM
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97: I don't know, actually. If I call my superior officer "sir" I am being appropriately respectful and so on, but is it accurate to say I am being polite?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:42 PM
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A film of Steve Madden nervously eating prison meals to a soundtrack of women talking about his shoes: I think 15 minutes, maybe 30.

A second type of incongruous footage, I am less certain that this would succeed: Audio of Mr Madden and accountants discussing how to set up the fraud (maybe he fires one that's not imaginative enough), conversation snippets controlled to chaotic, this over visuals of setting up the store and then an orchestrated but apparently random series of women trying on and making faces at the shoes-- I was thinking tall to short, but maybe narrow to wide would also work. Shorter, only good for about 10 minutes I think.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:44 PM
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Actually, shoe marketing would be good, too - I think all my immediate film ideas fall readily into the treacly-sentimental. (Whereas the Steve Madden short film would be pretty fun.) Maybe a short film about the special events that Berluti (super high-end really rather lovely shoes famous for their interesting colors and finishes) holds to teach ultra-wealthy men to polish their own shoes - all these tycoons, etc, showing up to learn to polish shoes while drinking champagne. One could do a Bunuel version with poisonings and so on, or just a realistic version.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 1:59 PM
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109: not doing so would be impolitic, but it isn't fancy enough to be politesse. Maybe that averages out to politeness.

There's a note called Coquetry and a note called True; the West at least has been fascinated for centuries with deciding if we really mean the things we have to say even if we don't mean them. Buttercup, how does that play out in China?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 2:04 PM
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Also, because it should be said but I didn't in time, I regret that I didn't make it to Portland. It takes a while even on boltbus and the friends I usually stay with were busy, but.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 2:06 PM
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109 - Communicating respect is one of the central ways in which politeness works, though. (In ethics at least that's almost universally agreed upon as its primary function.*) It's usually a culturally determined set of ways in which that respect is expressed (so something can be polite/respectful in one and not in the other, but you can't communicate disrespect and be acting politely in either**). I'm not sure how you'd distinguish showing proper respect from acting politely. And social roles are pretty strongly tied up in those rules/how things are expressed/etc., which means that hierarchies are as well.

I mean, think about it the other way: can you be rude to your underlings? If you can then it's because you're violating certain norms of politeness. (And what being rude to your underlings involves could be very different than if they were hierarchical equals - in fact treating them in the way that you would (politely) treat equals could easily count as rude.)


*I'm not actually sure if anyone writing on the issue disagrees with that claim, or at least not without trying to claim that there aren't any ethical considerations involved.
**You can kind of follow the rules, but it's not in a way that most people would consider polite, if you were also being inconsiderate/etc.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 2:13 PM
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You could say that I "killed" the thread, but I prefer to think that I won it.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 4:54 PM
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Re: 106

I sometimes wonder if the writers of that (funny) line were making a clever double joke.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 5:06 PM
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This unfogged comment from a while back has always struck me as a very important principle of etiquette -- that the value of etiquette is to put other people at ease, more than to know how to conduct yourself.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 5:52 PM
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There's an insightful and penetrating, albeit by-the-way, discussion of etiquette in this delightful document.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 5:56 PM
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Although really you could make quite a good movie about shoes

Or a very bad one.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 6:05 PM
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116 -- what is the clever double joke? That there is no difference between country and western?


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 6:23 PM
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117: "The gentleperson prevents embarrassment." is really all you need.

In others, minimizes/forestalls, shame/awkwardness


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 6:37 PM
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And that "Rawhide" works for either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 6:37 PM
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111: Berluti does some beautiful work.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:06 PM
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111.2: Once a new executive came to palaver at the all-employee meeting, and allowed as how he'd "wasted 8 years of his life in the Navy" the only positive consequence of which was that he was really good at polishing shoes.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:09 PM
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And then he found five bearer bonds.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 7:10 PM
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I don't know, I feel as if ajay is identifying a real distinction between politeness in hierarchies and politeness in egalitarian systems. In a hierarchy, there's an element of role playing--the tenant acts more subservient than he feels, the landlord more respectful--whereas democratic politeness involves everybody being more respectful, but it's not role-based, and so, to me at least, it doesn't seem like "acting."

It puts me in mind of the phrase "performing masculinity." I'm a fairly comfortably cis straight male, and a lot of traditionally masculine behavior is natural/comfortable for me, even as I sometimes aware that it's probably veering into performance. But there are also times when it really does feel like performance, being around a bunch of bro types, and I'm pretty consciously responding in the socially appropriate ways*. Point being, the former feels more like egalitarian manners, and the latter more like hierarchical. It doesn't take me out of myself to make polite conversation or to wave somebody through an intersection, where it would to be obsequious to a big shot client or dismissive of a server.

*or, more often, getting the hell out as soon as I can


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 9:56 PM
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And I do get that this is socially conditioned, that egalitarian manners feel unforced because I was raised to be egalitarian, while most of humanity has always dwelled in hierarchies and felt them right as rain. But I can't help but feel that the level of pretense is less. "I wish you no ill, but not do I care about you on any deep level" seems like a very easy universal default for interacting with strangers, whereas a husband condescending to his wife...? Even if the wife is obviously superior along any number of axes? Naked pretense.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 10:03 PM
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Re: 120

No, that they are almost completely different (apart from the hats). Classic Western Swing basically sounds like Count Basie with someone whooping or playing fiddle now and again. 40s Bob Wills sounds like the Basie/Goodman bands with a bit of proto-rock overdriven guitar (and some whooping and fiddle playing).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:23 PM
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You can six- count to either satisfactorily, though. Just did, including a Bob Wills cover, at a city park live music free public dance. Oh, so much fun. We're wearing out the portable floor though.

(Basie vs Basie?)

There's also manners designed to make people in a hierarchy feel better about not being in a democracy. This would be okay if comforting the bottom of the hierarchy, but its the people at the top who can enforce norms.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-15 11:34 PM
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117 For some reason that probably boils down to my own ineptitude I can't find the OP for that comment.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 1:45 AM
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Barry, I was going to try to be helpful and get a link, Barry, but I can't find it either in the week when it should have been posted. Odd! Google's no help either.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:17 AM
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OT, but Donald Trump has just inadvertently said something correct and interesting and I thought I should share it:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/sorry-donald-you-cant-count-retirees-unemployed#disqus_thread


Don't forget in the meantime we have a real unemployment rate that's probably 21%. It's not 6. It's not 5.2 and 5.5. Our real unemployment rate--in fact, I saw a chart the other day, our real unemployment--because you have ninety million people that aren't working. Ninety-three million to be exact. If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42%.

Now, of course, that's counting the retired and full-time students and disabled people and stay-at-home parents, so it's a really stupid metric in terms of looking at the health of the economy.

But the figures are, more or less, correct. The US is able to support its population at a pretty comfortable standard of living with only 58% of its adult population actually doing paid work.
Remember Keynes' line about how, within a couple of generations, you'd be able to live happily on just 15 hours' work a week?
Seems the US is pretty close; it's just that, instead of everyone doing 15 hours, some are doing 40 hours and some aren't doing any.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:36 AM
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132.last: Of course, the US also has a pretty huge volunteer/gift economy. I've done a lot of work for free, and I don't consider myself a particularly active volunteer. Some people with big church commitments put in 40 hour weeks of volunteering all year long.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:47 AM
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The US is able to support its population at a pretty comfortable standard of living with only 58% of its adult population actually doing paid work.

I'm sure the actual percentage necessary to support the population of the U.S. is far less. than that. Many of us that are paid for working 40 hours a week contribute nothing. This is just based on my belief that I can't be that unusual.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:22 AM
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133: not least, of course, childcare, which is omitted from the calculation by classing stay-at-home parents as not employed. But if we use the very narrow definition of "stuff you wouldn't do unless someone was paying you" then, yes, 42% of adults in the US don't do work. And very few of the kids are pulling their weight either.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:39 AM
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Of course, Trump, like most (maybe all) Republicans, thinks that's a bad thing and that more of those freeloaders should be working.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:42 AM
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To be fair, that's not what Trump was saying in this case, and I don't know for sure that he believes it. Lots of Republicans do, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:46 AM
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It's not that he thinks the freeloaders should be working. He thinks they should be suffering more.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:47 AM
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Perhaps, but compared to other forms of suffering work has the additional advantage of allowing other people to profit from it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:49 AM
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In other Trump news, my sources tell me that he is about to pick up the coveted Brawndo endorsement.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:10 AM
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I always knew he was a pawn of Big Electrolyte.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:19 AM
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Perhaps, but compared to other forms of suffering work has the additional advantage of allowing other people to profit from it.

But then you can only feel medium-disgusted by them instead of fully-disgusted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:25 AM
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But the figures are, more or less, correct. The US is able to support its population at a pretty comfortable standard of living with only 58% of its adult population actually doing paid work.

Does this even represent much of an advance? The US employment-population in the 50's, per BLS, oscillated between 55% and 58%. It slowly increased over the late 20th century and the highest ever was 64.7% in April 2000. It went down to 58% in the latest recession, and is now back up to 59%. Granted our standard of living is much higher now, but much of that comes from exploited foreign labor. I have to think more and more of the employment is sound and fury, as peep says.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:47 AM
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In a hierarchy, there's an element of role playing--the tenant acts more subservient than he feels, the landlord more respectful--whereas democratic politeness involves everybody being more respectful, but it's not role-based, and so, to me at least, it doesn't seem like "acting."

I think this really is just a greater familiarity with the kind of politeness rules that require 'we're all equal citizens' role-playing (and that is still very much role playing, it's just that the more we do it the less role playing is obviously that). The egalitarian nature is as much a polite pretense as anything - we put a lot of lip service into it, but there's a pretty strong set of gradations with different appropriate behaviors involved. It's just not as explicit/showy as it is in a lot of cultures.

More importantly I don't think you can take 'respectful' to be neutral with regards to the cultural practices (this is where I disagree with the current ethical accounts of manners). Sure there's some vague Kantian sense of showing respect for others and such, but that's indistinguishable from ethics generally at that point. Actually being respectful of others is a communicative thing, and as a result what counts as being respectful varies culturally in a lot of ways. It's hard to see how, e.g., the tenant is being subservient but not being respectful - in that situation a certain kind of subservience is the respectful thing to do. It's just that the ways of expressing respect for in democratic-faux-egalitarian-politeness feel more immediately respectful for us because, well, they're one of the big/common situations we find ourselves in.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 8:44 AM
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I'm reminded of the time when a very newly arrived graduate student from China asked me what specific address people here used for graduate-students-but-ones-who-have-been-here-longer was (some kind of not-a-professor-but-still...). From what I know there really is something like senior-student rules in a lot of East Asian cultures, and of course I was tempted to just tell him something because I love mischief*. But we really just don't recognize anything like that explicitly in America, or have terms relating to it. It absolutely would be a question of respect in cultures that do, though, which is why he wanted to know what it was.

*"Well, for older students you say "Owlface [name]", and when younger ones show up typically they're addressed as "Fiddlypants [name]". A lot of the time people ignore this, of course, but it's still something to do if you're not sure."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 8:50 AM
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There's a woman here with a shirt reading "Concrete for Christ." What's the well-mannered way to ask her what that is?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:29 AM
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My guess was building churches or houses or something? And a quick googling seems to confirm.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:32 AM
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I'm at the zoo. I don't have the internet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:33 AM
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What's the well-mannered way to ask her what that is?

Maybe Megan knows, or has encountered.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:39 AM
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There's a woman here with a shirt reading "Concrete for Christ." What's the well-mannered way to ask her what that is?

As opposed to Abstract and Theoretical for Christ.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:46 AM
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145: With the spread of global anime, I think senpai-kohei would actually work anymore, with the caveat that kohei isn't used much except for closer relationships. -san shows more respect for strangers or casual acquaintances, -senpai marking an initiation of a reciprocal (however shallow) relationship. It's complicated, but fun.

I have developed a taste for the Japanese pronoun-forms, honorifics and hierarchies, recognizing them as performative, dynamic, relational, and playful. It simply recognizes everyone as inhabiting a context, a habitus.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:49 AM
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||
As badly as that rooftop swimming pool in Singapore that went right to edge gave me the willies, I suspect this would be worse: a glass-bottomed swimming pool spanning two apartment buildings.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:49 AM
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It's kohai, not kohei (same kanji as sempai).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:01 AM
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152 - Sure but think of the benefits it would have. Other people could have a lot of harmless* fun at the expense of the pointlessly wealthy, by hurling at the bottom of it while people were swimming in it. I mean, they'd probably need a decent sized slingshot given how high up it is, but that's not too difficult to work out.


*probably


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:04 AM
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146: "Excuse me, ma'am. I was ogling your tits and I noticed that there are some words covering them. If it's not too much trouble, could you be so kind as to explain that they mean?"


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:08 AM
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152. It will be popularly known as Flashers' Bridge within a month. Or Hanging Wanker among the more architecturally literate.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:21 AM
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I've never wanted an RC shark blimp more.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:34 AM
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144.2: The giant toothy smiles expected of US customer service seem showy to me.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:44 AM
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I'm at the zoo. I don't have the internet.

I'm just curious: how do you post messages to Unfogged without the internet?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:48 AM
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159: Moby's thoughts just magically appear here.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:51 AM
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Moby Id.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 10:54 AM
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158: The giant toothy smiles expected of US customer service seem showy to me.

Dismaland* for the corrective response.

The entire exhibition is staffed by morose Dismaland employees who seem completely uninterested in being helpful or informative.

*I totally demand a meetup with liveblogging.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 11:00 AM
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162: I don't think Roberto is allowed in Dismaland.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 11:16 AM
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||

Fun with failed translation! From Senko Maynard, Linguistic Emotivity, she's focusing on the use of "nani" here:

(24) ''Nani itten no sa. Ama-san tte ittatte, atama no marui

what say NOM IP ama QT say head LK round

ama-san ja-nakute, ama no ama yo.''

ama BE-NEG ama LK ama IP

' ''What are you talking about! Me mentioning ama, I don't mean a nun with a shaved head, I mean the ama, the diver.'' ' (Uchida 1997:7)

...
Looked it up, and "ama (diver)" and "ama (nun)" have different kanji (actually ama = diver and female), which is the joke, and makes the last phrase funnier. I often wonder about Japanese thinking in kanji. They certainly don't think in romaji.

I am not getting the early isolate "tte" here at fucking all.

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 1:37 PM
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Okay, the "tte" is just a topic marker, but I haven't gotten why they are needed yet. Cause they are sure used.

And that's the thing, all translation radically takes shit away and adds stuff to the original, to the degree that we completely lose the structure, form, play of the signifiers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 1:46 PM
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162: "It does look weird at first," said Esme Busditt, 12. "But then you get into it and it's really fun." She was clutching a black helium balloon that reads: "I am an imbecile."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:02 PM
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Harootunian, Overcoming Modernity

since the category of the social, society itself (which Yanagita continued to call seso, a term used in the Tokugawa period, while Orikuchi favored employing yo, which evoked archaic associations of the agrarian community)

Tvtropes on pronouns

Yo
余 or 予 Archaic, dignified, elevated form of "I", most often used in entertainment media. It's occasionally translated with the Royal "We".

Reinhard von Lohengramm in Legend of Galactic Heroes switches to this after he becomes Emperor.

Don't know what kanji Orikuchi used

Thing is, people may think and speak kanji, but they will hear essentially something like romaji, iow, syllables. The joke in 164 about ama depends on that.

(Emperor) Reinhard's "royal we," was it something like "l'etat est moi?" Yes, anime can be fucking smart.

PS:The Japanese Emperors used "chin"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-24-15 5:05 PM
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167.last So did the Hapsburgs but maybe a little too much.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-24-15 7:51 PM
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