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Is “Modern Manners” An Oxymoron?

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 2 CommentsBy admin | July 2, 2009

Have any pet peeves about contemporary etiquette, or the lack thereof? We’d love to hear them.

I need your help. I recently wrote about Five Effective Habits Of Highly Annoying People, which reminded me that for a long time I’ve wanted to develop a new guide to etiquette, one that uses a little humor to address manners and how new technologies have evolved with no courtesy guidelines to go with them. A typical example being cell phone manners. One of my favorite books of all time on the topic of etiquette is probably P.J. O’Rourke’s Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People. With advice like “Guns are always the best method for private suicide. Drugs are too chancy. You might miscalculate the dosage and just have a good time” and “Never refuse wine. It is an odd but universally held opinion that anyone who doesn’t drink must be an alcoholic“, O’Rourke touched on a lot of issues of contemporary etiquette that weren’t being addressed anywhere else. Especially the “Taking Drugs” chapter, which includes this handy chart (also below) for proper social behavior under the influence of drugs. Although the book is still an hilarious read within certain circles, it has finally started to show its age; a lot of the humor is based on old money culture, and the typical nouveau riche bobo or fauxhemian just doesn’t have the class or sophistication to get it. So help me out. What are your biggest pet peeves about modern manners and courtesy, whether humorous or not?

Read Comments

  1. Posted by kristin on 07.02.09 11:17 am

    you know what really gets me? loud gum chewing and cracking is acceptable everywhere. i don’t care if it keeps breath fresh – it’s enough to get my hair to stand on end!

    what i do like, though, is how i often find men opening doors for me. must be because i’m getting old. but it’s nice to see that so many men were taught chivalry.

  2. Posted by admin on 07.02.09 7:09 pm

    You should consider moving to Singapore:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewing_gum_ban_in_Singapore

    By the way, may I get that door for you?