Fox News pundits or children's tea?What do small children and Fox News pundits have in common?

First, let us think of the children. Here is my column in Tablet magazine: The Marjorie Ingall School of Etiquette. It is a response to the zillionth in a series of NYT articles on people you can pay to civilize your offspring.

(Perhaps amusing aside: While I was searching the NYT for past stories about today’s youth having no manners and requiring lessons from experts, I found a piece from 1878, pointing out that old-school manners are NOT always good. “We sometimes hear people comparing the manners of the present generation very unfavorably with those of its predecessors,” the piece from the paper’s Saturday Review on May 5th, 1878, said. “And they do this with considerable justice; but we have known gentlemen of the old school, as it is termed, who though very courteous in female society, were accustomed to use some very ugly words in the company of their own sex. Perhaps they could quote poetry far more readily than some of their descendants, and they were always prepared with a line from Homer or Virgil to suit the occasion; but, for all that, their mental daily bread, especially after dinner, consisted of a very coarse kind of food, and their anecdotes would scarcely be tolerated in the club smoking-rooms of the present day. … We are far from maintaining that some past periods of English history have not been more distinguished for courtesy than our own; but when we hear people talk of the times of George IV and Beau Brummel as the millennium of British politesse, we feel that either their memory or their judgment must be greatly at fault.”)

Just a smidge of food for thought. That you can eat daintily with your fish fork or throw at a wall like Bluto. Either way, I’m good.

Meanwhile, in unpaid writing fun, here’s a piece I did for SorryWatch on which, if any, Republicans apologized for publicly saying that Hillary Clinton was faking her concussion to get out of testifying about Benghazi. Research! (SPOILER ALERT: None. Two of them actually doubled down, after it was clear she was not only telling the truth but had a BLOOD CLOT THAT COULD HAVE KILLED HER.) I have to hope their mothers would be horrified.


One Comment

  1. Even in Australia January 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I am so with you on the thank you notes. At age 2, they drew, I wrote and read it to them. At 3 and 4, they dictated and signed their names. From 5 on, they are pretty much on their own, although I help with spelling. This has resulted in some pretty funny thank-you notes: “Thank you for the rock-painting kit. Why do they give you black paint when the rocks are already black? I love it.” We also have a 4 sentence minimum rule.

    THe corollary to this is the “do not invite the whole class to the birthday party” rule. I hear parents say all the time “But little Johnny can’t write 30 thank you notes! Well, you shouldn’t invite 30 kids to his party!!!

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