Quote of the Day: In Praise of Good Manners

In the Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal, English writer John Derbyshire reviews a book, “Talk to the Hand,” by fellow Brit Lynne Truss, who laments the deline of civility and good manners in both U.S. and British culture. Truss, he observes, seems to think that reversing the collapse in good manners is a lost cause in England.

Writes Derbyshire: “I think she is right, and my own advice to English folk like herself, who are tired of it all, is to move to the U.S. — if possible to the southeastern states of the old Confederacy, whose inhabitants practice far and away the best manners in the English-speaking world.”

If good manners and civility make Virginia and the South distinctive, let us by all means celebrate our uniqueness.


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9 responses to “Quote of the Day: In Praise of Good Manners”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    A long term Yankee transplant once said “Southerners aren’t really more friendly, they just smile while they are stabbing you in the back.”

  2. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    Anon,

    But it’s the smile that makes it polite.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I have to observe that for some reason the politeness does not extend to driving. I have commuted in some of the supposed nastiest areas in the country (Boston, New Jersey, New York) and yet while those drivers have a deserved reputation for aggresiveness, speeding, and so forth, it’s different here in Virginia. In those trouble areas, the aggresiveness is for a purpose: folks want to get somewhere, fast. But here, drivers are simply vindictive: their goal is not to achieve anyone destination, even their own. Their goal is to achieve domination of other drivers and control of the road, and payback for anyone whom they feel threatens this. This is most apparent in merging, where drivers clearly, and oftenly rightly, never trust each others signals or obvious needs. The foolish way in which many highways are built (to maximize the number of times traffic merges into other lanes of traffic, even putting on ramps spilling out directly into the off ramp) doesn’t make things much better.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon must be driving in the Federally-Occupied-Zone of VA.

    In my bedroom town (except for about 100 working watermen) of 12,000 there is a road from the next county that dumps onto one of our only two roads off our peninsula on The Peninsula.

    When the morning go to work traffic backs up on the main road and slows, inevitably, drivers on that road come to a full stop to let the long line of cars at the legit stop sign come on in front.

    When that driving habit stops, if it does, we will have lost something.

    When I was a HS kid, believe it or not there was an unwritten rule for cars around Key Bridge coming down and going on the GW Parkway to let one another take turns going. Really. I drove that way to drop my Dad off at the Pentagon so I could have the car for the day.

    My three children fought me and my wife about manners. We replied, “That is the way we do things or that is the proper way.”

    Now, I hear them complain about how rude Yankees are. What a hoot.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Nah: primarily the Tidewater area.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    A zipper merge, what a concept. In England, there are signs that say zipper merge. If you don’t take your turn the waiting driver will honk at you, impatiently waiting for you to take your turn!

  7. Politicl.Animal Avatar
    Politicl.Animal

    Hopefully these campaigns will not end our reputation for manners and decorum.

    Hey, if a whole bunch of Brits join the Queen in coming here in 2007 and stay, will we ship them back as unwanted immigrants?

  8. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    If a bunch of Brits overstay their visas they should be deported. They should be deported before anyone else if they found jobs as cooks.

  9. John Epps Avatar

    In the 2005 Kaine-Kilgore race, this gray-haired Virginian from Ashburn sees a real similarity with the the 1977 race between Liberal Democrat Henry Howell and Conservative Republican John Dalton. Howell was an unabashed liberal but, unlike Tim Kaine, had the courage to admit it. Like Tim Kaine, Howell supported higher taxes, encouraged the growth of labor unions in Virginia businesses, and thought that the ACLU’s views on sociology were correct. He sucessfully obtained the Democratic nomination for Governor and the conservative Democrat “Byrd Machine” that had governed our Commonwealth so well for years decided to join forces with the Republican Party. Today, Tim Kaine carries the mantle of social liberalism and activist government that Henry Howell preached and that Mark Warner tried to avoid like the plague. We old Byrd Democrats will be voting for Jerry Kilgore this time just like we voted for John Dalton in 1977.

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