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Source: (consider it) Thread: Manners vs Etiquette
Pangolin Guerre
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We had a tangent on the Trump Presidency thread which I think is worth pursuing.
****
To pick up:

Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
lilBuddha, I think that the differentiation between manners and etiquette is deliberately tendentious. You're applying a nuance to "etiquette" which is not definitionally present.

Yes, I am. It is not 'definitionally' present, but it is functionally present. But more accurately, I am applying a "nuance" that is foundational to its existence.
****

I'd say that this is a false differentiation. lilBuddha seems to think that "manners" are well and good, but become "etiquette" when the code becomes a cudgel, that that role as social stratifier is "foundational" to it qua "etiquette". That is an assertion, not evidence or in itself an argument.

Over to you.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

I'd say that this is a false differentiation. lilBuddha seems to think that "manners" are well and good, but become "etiquette" when the code becomes a cudgel, that that role as social stratifier is "foundational" to it qua "etiquette". That is an assertion, not evidence or in itself an argument.

Over to you.

Rather than "false" differentiation, it is a matter of the blurring of what is which and why practices exist.
So, really, one needs to go through each practice. But the idea that there is a set mode of behaviour and practice (etiquette) is inherently classist. Rules of etiquette are designed to distinguish "proper" folk from common. Many, if not most, of the rules are for those with resource, time and choice.
Respect for others and the need of compromise to get along are another thing entirely. But these are more difficult to codify and are about respecting other people.

So, where do you want to start? Hats? Everything about the rules for wearing them is complete bullshit, other than not blocking another person's view with your own.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mdijon
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It's also communication of respect. Shaking someone's hand and saying please is, functionally, utterly pointless. But we do it to communicate respect. Refusing to do so on the basis that it was pointless might be theoretically supportable, but in practice would communicate disrespect.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
It's also communication of respect. Shaking someone's hand and saying please is, functionally, utterly pointless. But we do it to communicate respect. Refusing to do so on the basis that it was pointless might be theoretically supportable, but in practice would communicate disrespect.

If it communicates respect, it isn't pointless.
The rules regarding the wearing of hats isn't pointless, BTW. Rather, it is the point to which I object.

[ 31. August 2017, 17:23: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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LutheranChik
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I'd disagree with the idea that etiquette is inherently classist. To me the word is fait interchangeable with " manners," and It's based on the idea of making other people feel safe and comfortable in a social situation. Oh, sure there are elements like the fussier aspects of table manners that get used as social signifiers, but most etiquette rules I can think of are about treating other people well and keeping chaos and I'll feelings at a minimum. Maybe It's the word "etiquette" that irritates some people?

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Pangolin Guerre
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Well, I addressed hats on the Trump thread, but for the sake of any late joiners to this discussion, it boiled down to removing one's hat is a sign of respect, e.g., a funeral cortege. lilBuddha, you object to "the point." What, precisely is it to which you object about the code regarding hats?

As well, you seem to think that basic etiquette is a huge investment in time. Unless you're reading a number of manuals (and, frankly, I can't think of much that would be more counter-productive), it's just something you learn, mostly by osmosis, but also with some deliberate nudges, from the adult community around you.

A friend of mine spent long periods in the USSR, and was extremely familiar with Russian culture. Life there, he said, was very tough for a number of obvious reasons (material privation, lack of trust in institutions and individuals), but one thing he thought was the lack of (his word) etiquette because it had been wiped out as suspiciously bourgeois (therefore by implication counter-revolutionary) behaviour. He was raised in a family largely of emigres, which had preserved a lot of the 'old ways', so that would colour his assessment, but nonetheless, he thought that the roughness of life was exacerbated by the lack of grace.

I don't want this to get personal in the least, so I hesitate to ask you this, but could you contextualise your hostility toward what you call etiquette, with the implications you attach to it? And, could you expand, make the argument for, etiquette being functionally a class weapon, beyond your assertion of it? Aside from your assertion, is there any external evidence for manners being different from etiquette, or is it a question of the same thing being given a different label according to its deployment?

As I joked on the other thread, you'll be leading me to the wall.

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Garasu
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Didn't somebody say something along the lines of: Etiquette is knowing that you don't drink from the finger bowl; manners is doing so when your guest does...?

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

I don't want this to get personal in the least, so I hesitate to ask you this, but could you contextualise your hostility toward what you call etiquette, with the implications you attach to it?

I tend to dislike anything which stratifies, separates, etc.
quote:

And, could you expand, make the argument for, etiquette being functionally a class weapon, beyond your assertion of it?

Merely look at who writes and most follows the rules. From table settings, though when to wear what clothing, to which side a man walks with a woman. They are based on property and power.
quote:

Aside from your assertion, is there any external evidence for manners being different from etiquette, or is it a question of the same thing being given a different label according to its deployment?

English is inconsistent, so there is certainly overlap.
Again, if you wish to differentiate, it will be by rule/custom, not in generalisation.
quote:

As I joked on the other thread, you'll be leading me to the wall.

You'll be waiting there because etiquette has told you that you must take yourself there, properly attired for the season, time of day and occasion; cravat neatly tied, whilst I respect your decision to do so but decline to participate. So, bring a picnic as well, you'll be there a long while.

[ 31. August 2017, 18:56: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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Paraphrasing the great Miss Manners: The argument that etiquette exists only to sort people into classes does not ring true in a society (such as present day USA) in which it makes all the difference in the world whether or not one is, say, wearing the "correct" brand of athletic shoes or sporting the newest and latest cell phone.

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lilBuddha
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Not even sure what that is supposed to mean.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

quote:

You'll be waiting there because etiquette has told you that you must take yourself there, properly attired for the season, time of day and occasion; cravat neatly tied, whilst I respect your decision to do so but decline to participate. So, bring a picnic as well, you'll be there a long while.
Lol.... That's actually a bit of a relief. One of the few occasions that I'd be happy to be stood up.
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Pangolin Guerre
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Missed the edit window....

I've been the "victim" or object of the reverse of your levelling, or, have been the object of attempted levelling, with people playing up their "proletarian" or "egalitarian" credentials to mark me out, which, given my background was ridiculous. I, at least, was able to remove my jacket, tie, roll up my sleeves, and drink beer from the bottle.

As to seasonal clothing, one of my favourite suits is cream coloured. I intend to wear it to a party on 16 September. I'm "breaking a rule", but I know that I am, and I don't care. I know how to epater les bourgeois*.


*Shock the bourgeoisie.

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Augustine the Aleut
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hm. I hate to drag Spain into this, but one characteristic which struck me was how the local practice used formality to underline equality. The careful use of eye contact, never ignoring people, and the formal usted for everyone, cop or beggar, seemed to have been ingrained from childhood.

Lil Buddha's comments about hat etiquette intrigued me, as I recall a Madrid businessman cheerily giving me instruction in how I was to use my hat in the Spanish manner in small towns and villages (I was wearing the eminently practical if dorky & ear-protecting Tilley), tipping it in precise recognition of older people, etc (priests, he told me, get the same as a widow). What was really important, he underlined, was that I was never to ignore anyone, beggar or cop, and hat-gesture was the means by which I acknowledge the legitimacy of the other person.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Paraphrasing the great Miss Manners: The argument that etiquette exists only to sort people into classes does not ring true in a society (such as present day USA) in which it makes all the difference in the world whether or not one is, say, wearing the "correct" brand of athletic shoes or sporting the newest and latest cell phone.

That wearing specific athletic shoes and owning an expensive phone make a difference in our society does not in any way undercut the argument that etiquette exists to sort people into classes! I can hear Miss Manners' lip curling from where I sit!

Give me one good reason why a "gentleman" should remove his hat in the presence of a "lady."

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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I'm not remembering Miss Manners' argument precisely, nor am I paraphrasing it well. I believe her point was this:

To argue that etiquette has no place in OUR society because it divides people into classes, and WE don't have a class structure here, doesn't ring true. We do indeed have a class structure here, and we look down on those who don't conform to how our class behaves. People who wear Nike Shox (they are no longer in style; we all wear Nike Free now) or use those pay-as-you-go cell phones (What? You don't have an iPhone?) are to be talked about behind their backs, not to be engaged.

And I like women (well, Miss Amanda prefers men, dear, but for the sake of argument) and so I would like to greet them with a sign of respect. If society agrees that respect is shown by the gentleman tipping his hat, then that's what I'll do. On the other hand, if society agrees that respect is shown by doing cartwheels while shouting "fiddle-dee-dee," then that's what I'll do. (Well, Miss Amanda would perhaps draw the line there -- she can't remember when she last did a cartwheel, at least while sober.)

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Pangolin Guerre
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Augustine mentioned Spain. I was dining alone ca. 9pm, in a rather good restaurant, and a family came in: the couple and three children ca. 10-16 y.o. As my appetiser arrived, the father was passing my table, nodded to me and said, Buen provecho*. I was slightly startled by this, but rather charmed.


*Bon appetit.

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Lamb Chopped
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Etiquette, manners, protocol--It's all what we might call "social lubricant," and used properly, it gives you the information you need to be socially comfortable with other people. Some aspects of etiquette/manners/protocol carry specific messages and convey useful information--for instance, a black armband or white headband in our Vietnamese culture inform you that the person is in mourning, which allows you to treat him/her accordingly.

It's true that there are some rules which appear to be losing their usefulness, but they had purposes earlier in history and there's no need to spit at them because they've hung on a little too long, perhaps. Better to figure out what the modern replacement is, and whether it indeed fulfills the same need.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Give me one good reason why a "gentleman" should remove his hat in the presence of a "lady."

First give me an explanation of what, to you, constitutes a "good reason."

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:

And I like women (well, Miss Amanda prefers men, dear, but for the sake of argument) and so I would like to greet them with a sign of respect.

But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.
You, personally, might not be doing it for this reason, but this is the origin of the custom.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Leorning Cniht
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There are parts of the world where effusive friendliness is the normal behaviour, and there are other parts where normal means a grunt or nod to acknowledge the presence of someone you know well.

Conforming to the local norm in whichever place you were would be etiquette, wouldn't it. But isn't it polite to make an attempt to follow the local etiquette? If people are expecting a particular behaviour, do you not make them uneasy and throw grit in the wheels of social intercourse by choosing not to conform?

I'm not sure manners and etiquette are completely different things.

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:

And I like women (well, Miss Amanda prefers men, dear, but for the sake of argument) and so I would like to greet them with a sign of respect.

But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.
You, personally, might not be doing it for this reason, but this is the origin of the custom.

Personally, I hold the door for a person coming behind me if they're close enough behind me, regardless of gender. Largely to stop me accidentally shutting a door in their face, which I'd consider rude, and tend to automatically apologise if I haven't noticed someone behind me and they come through the door directly after me.

Traditions evolve, shaking hands was originally so you knew the stranger wasn't going to skewer you with their sword. What a tradition originally meant, isn't *necessarily* a reason to drop it. It might be, but it I think it really depends on how useful it is now.

Class markers in the U.K. generally have little to do with formal etiquette, more to do with vocabulary, accent, clothing choice etc

[ 01. September 2017, 06:05: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]

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Boogie

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It's about more than respect imo.

Raising a hand in thanks when a driver has let you through is about acknowledging the human, it's a social 'need'. If the other driver doesn't do it we feel let down, affronted on a level far deeper than mere rule following.

(Round here the 'Yorkshire wave' is also acceptable, where the fist finger is raised in acknowledgment)

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Jane R
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lilbuddha:
quote:
But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.
You, personally, might not be doing it for this reason, but this is the origin of the custom.

It may be the *origin* of the custom, but it's not what it means now; not for everyone. Also, things can have more than one meaning, which is why you get people holding a door open because it's the polite thing to do and the person they're holding the door for being annoyed because they feel like they're being patronised.

And that's even before you get onto the subject of differences between cultures, or people who have idiosyncratic hang-ups, like my friend who was so severely bullied at school that even now, years later, she freaks out when people walk too close behind her.

Oh, and what Boogie and Doublethink said.

[ 01. September 2017, 08:18: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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Boogie

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Here is a book about the subject.

I shall buy and read it, it looks interesting.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Ricardus
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I suppose there are three levels to this:

1. Reciprocal or universal politeness, i.e. stuff that everyone is expected to do, such as saying please and thank you;

2. Non-reciprocal politeness, e.g. men raising their hats to women but not vice versa;

3. Customs that some people follow but not others, but where the people who do follow them sneer at the people who don't - e.g. what time of day you're allowed to wear a particular kind of suit.

ISTM that 'manners' are generally of type (1), whereas 'etiquette' can be of types (2) or (3), but doesn't have to be.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Pangolin Guerre
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lilBuddha, by your argument, I (male) am asserting my dominance when I hold open a door for another male (as I do if I notice them close in my wake). Jeez, and I thought that I was just doing something nice. How ridiculous of me. Next time I'll draw the door closed behind me as I shout "Viva la Revolucion!"
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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.

What is it when a woman holds open a door for another woman and gestures for her to go through first?

Moo

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Here is a book about the subject.

I shall buy and read it, it looks interesting.

I've considered buying this one.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Paraphrasing the great Miss Manners: The argument that etiquette exists only to sort people into classes does not ring true in a society (such as present day USA) in which it makes all the difference in the world whether or not one is, say, wearing the "correct" brand of athletic shoes or sporting the newest and latest cell phone.

That wearing specific athletic shoes and owning an expensive phone make a difference in our society does not in any way undercut the argument that etiquette exists to sort people into classes! I can hear Miss Manners' lip curling from where I sit!

Give me one good reason why a "gentleman" should remove his hat in the presence of a "lady."

Apropos my post above, the Spanish businessman told me that the only time one removes one's hat outdoors is in the presence of the King, who will then tell you not to be foolish and to put your hat back on as the sun is so strong.
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Doublethink.
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This is very good, and the audio book is read by Sandi Toksvig herself which makes for a nice listen.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.

So when a footman opens the car door for the Queen, it's because he's in a position of power? Or when some waitron holds the chair for me, it's because he's in a position of power? Or if the guy with the silly costume and white gloves opens the door for me when I go into some poncy shop, it's because he's in a position of dominance?

That's bullshit.

--------------------
“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

I'm not sure manners and etiquette are completely different things.

As I've mentioned before, and no doubt will need to again, English is not a consistent language with discreet terminology.
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:

Traditions evolve,

Ye, they do. And they also vary between persons and situations. I am an observer by nature and, in my observations, door opening is not always a function of politeness.
quote:

Class markers in the U.K. generally have little to do with formal etiquette, more to do with vocabulary, accent, clothing choice etc

I would argue that the latter is more marked, but the former still exists.
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Also, things can have more than one meaning, which is why you get people holding a door open because it's the polite thing to do and the person they're holding the door for being annoyed because they feel like they're being patronised.

Absolutely. Not at all trying to say that everything is the same for everyone and every situation.
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I suppose there are three levels to this:

1. Reciprocal or universal politeness, i.e. stuff that everyone is expected to do, such as saying please and thank you;

2. Non-reciprocal politeness, e.g. men raising their hats to women but not vice versa;

3. Customs that some people follow but not others, but where the people who do follow them sneer at the people who don't - e.g. what time of day you're allowed to wear a particular kind of suit.

ISTM that 'manners' are generally of type (1), whereas 'etiquette' can be of types (2) or (3), but doesn't have to be.

Roughly, I would agree.
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
lilBuddha, by your argument, I (male) am asserting my dominance when I hold open a door for another male (as I do if I notice them close in my wake). Jeez, and I thought that I was just doing something nice. How ridiculous of me. Next time I'll draw the door closed behind me as I shout "Viva la Revolucion!"

What is ridiculous is taking a statement of general custom and attempting to counter it by making a ludicrous point with a silly example.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Paul.
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
3. Customs that some people follow but not others, but where the people who do follow them sneer at the people who don't - e.g. what time of day you're allowed to wear a particular kind of suit.

This.

It's the sneering that gives me pause. I'm happy to remove my (hypothetical) hat indoors if I know someone has that custom out of respect for them. On the other hand being referred to as "common" because I breached this etiquette hardly feels respectful either.

And it doesn't do much to make me care about etiquette when those that do care so often seem to use it in this way.

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Pangolin Guerre
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There's nothing silly about my example. I hold the door regardless of gender. You claim that the general custom of holding the door is an display of dominance. I provide a real life example, in which it is obviously not a display of dominance. My point - which is not "ludicrous" - is that your general law governing the situation is not so general as you might think.

As to the "revolucion", that was, if you didn't get it. intended in jest. But, if you want to see class warfare, and not basic social grace, lurking behind every act of somewhat codified behaviour, then, well, enjoy yourself.

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Leorning Cniht
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In these parts, the thing that seems to get most people excited about hats is other people not removing their hats for the national anthem.

People getting upset about this breach of etiquette doesn't mark social class in the traditional way, but it certainly carries certain social markers.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.
You, personally, might not be doing it for this reason, but this is the origin of the custom.

So you're saying that because a man holding a door open for a woman once upon a time demonstrated dominance and power, nobody should ever open a door for anybody else, ever again? Ditto chair-moving?

I opened a door for a wheelchair user today. Should I have explained that due to the long and ignoble history of male oppression of women, focusing on the power-play of holding open doors, she could sort herself out? I'll also hold a door for someone coming up very close behind me, as I think it's a rude and potentially dangerous thing to let doors slam in people's faces. And I don't appreciate it when people do that to me.

Sometimes not holding a door open for someone is simply a sign of being a pig-ignorant shite.

--------------------
Irish dogs needing homes! http://www.dogactionwelfaregroup.ie/ Greyhounds and Lurchers are shipped over to England for rehoming too!

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Pangolin Guerre
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LC - When you say 'social markers', do you mean by politics, or something else?
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
There's nothing silly about my example. I hold the door regardless of gender.

It is. I am speaking about generally¹ and you are trying to make it as if I am speaking absolutely.² Silly is a fairly nice interpretation of that.
quote:
But, if you want to see class warfare, and not basic social grace, lurking behind every act of somewhat codified behaviour, then, well, enjoy yourself.

And there you go again. This all began when Amanda B. Reckondwythe called the orange ballsac "common" for wearing a hat indoors. A very classist comment. If you want to pretend that every gesture is from the purest heart of respect, knock yourself out. But human nature and societal interchange favour a different interpretation.

¹generally
adverb
usually; commonly; ordinarily

² adverb
without exception; completely; wholly; entirely:

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
So you're saying that because a man holding a door open for a woman once upon a time demonstrated dominance and power, nobody should ever open a door for anybody else, ever again? Ditto chair-moving?

Good Gods, what the hell is wrong with people on this site lately?
No, I am not saying ever single instance of anything is only to be interpreted in one way. Nor have I at all proscribed behaviour. How many times must I say this thing which should be bloody obvious?

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Anselmina
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LilBuddha, you stated quite unequivocally that whatever the reason anyone had for holding open a door, the real reason they were doing it was based on an historical precedent of male oppression,or the use of power and dominance.

My response was basically - no, you're wrong. Sometimes somebody holding a door open is just that. Somebody holding a door open.

Your attitude on this thread, however, comes across as needlessly arrogant and aggressive. Perhaps if you calmly review your posts, from the point of view of a third party you'll find the answer as to what the hell is 'wrong' with people on this site. At least in response to your posts.

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
There's nothing silly about my example. I hold the door regardless of gender.

It is. I am speaking about generally¹ and you are trying to make it as if I am speaking absolutely.² Silly is a fairly nice interpretation of that.
quote:
But, if you want to see class warfare, and not basic social grace, lurking behind every act of somewhat codified behaviour, then, well, enjoy yourself.

And there you go again. This all began when Amanda B. Reckondwythe called the orange ballsac "common" for wearing a hat indoors. A very classist comment. If you want to pretend that every gesture is from the purest heart of respect, knock yourself out. But human nature and societal interchange favour a different interpretation.

¹generally
adverb
usually; commonly; ordinarily

² adverb
without exception; completely; wholly; entirely:

I'll give you a pass on your condescension. This isn't the place for taking that up, however offensive it might be. I'm not calling you to Hell, yet.

Well, your initial statement was quite generally in the context of oppressive gender relations. (Although, you have backed off that, somewhat.) I apologise for taking you at your word.

I don't take every gesture as being from the purest of motivation. You'd know that had you read my, and pthers', postings more closely. As well, if you've read other posts of mine (unrelated to this discussion), you'd know that I have a fairly dark view of humanity and history. I, at least, have paid enough attention to yours that this contretemps and your tone come as no surprise to me.

I am curious, as my mind experiment has yielded nothing. I don't know you or what you look like. Suppose, in a moment of absentmindedness, I held open a department store door for you, and gestured you to enter before me. How would you react? Pass through? Pass through and thank me? Scowl at my oppressive, antiquated behaviour? Something else?

[ 01. September 2017, 18:13: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
LilBuddha, you stated quite unequivocally that whatever the reason anyone had for holding open a door, the real reason they were doing it was based on an historical precedent of male oppression,or the use of power and dominance.

I just read through all my contributions on this thread and those on the other one that inspired it. And I did not say this. I did not say 'the real reason they were doing it', but speaking of the general custom.
quote:

My response was basically - no, you're wrong. Sometimes somebody holding a door open is just that. Somebody holding a door open.

And nothing I've said disagrees with this.
quote:

Your attitude on this thread, however, comes across as needlessly arrogant and aggressive..

Because I am being misrepresented, particularly with being presented as saying things in a more absolute manner than I am.
Perhaps it shouldn't irritate, but it does.
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I'll give you a pass on your condescension.

Not asking for one.
quote:

Well, your initial statement was quite generally in the context of oppressive gender relations. (Although, you have backed off that, somewhat.) I apologise for taking you at your word.

I've backed off nothing yet. I"ve not changed what I said in any way.
quote:

I don't take every gesture as being from the purest of motivation.

That was using your MO on you in a sardonic fashion to make a point.


quote:
Suppose, in a moment of absentmindedness, I held open a department store door for you, and gestured you to enter before me. How would you react? Pass through? Pass through and thank me? Scowl at my oppressive, antiquated behaviour? Something else?

My scorn would wither your soul!
Seriously though, I open doors for any following behind and thank those who do so for me. I do not assume any particular person's motives.

If everyone behaved in the same manner towards all other people, there would be no issue.
IME, this is not the case. Many people moderate how they behave based on what they think of other groups of people. Not everyone or all the time, to be clear.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
So when a footman opens the car door for the Queen, it's because he's in a position of power? Or when some waitron holds the chair for me, it's because he's in a position of power? Or if the guy with the silly costume and white gloves opens the door for me when I go into some poncy shop, it's because he's in a position of dominance?

That's bullshit.

Those are jobs, not etiquette or manners. Apples to quince.


Culture and society are predicated on moderating behaviours. Pretending that people do not do this to codified guidelines is, IMO, silly. What I am saying is that some of those guides, those often included in rules of etiquette in particular, are classist and sexist in origin and often* in practice still are.

*Often, as occurring more than rarely. This does not mean, nor should be taken to represent, always or any other absolute.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Ahem. Let's see if a friendly passing pedant can illuminate things -

lilBuddha wrote:
quote:
But it isn't a sign of respect. It is a sign of dominance. Like holding a door, pulling a chair, etc. It is all done from a position of power, for the "weaker" sex.
(emphasis mine)
This appears to be the bit causing the trouble. You said these activities are all done from a position of power, "for the 'weaker' sex". People have responded, with varying exasperation, to point out the many ways that opening doors serves other functions, not to refute any general point, which presumably was in your head at this point, but your specific claim.

I too initially read things that way. Then I read your next line -
quote:
You, personally, might not be doing it for this reason, but this is the origin of the custom.

- and so parsed things differently. The thing is that there really are people out there who make such swingeing claims, and appear to mean them sincerely.

Anyway - just trying to identify what might have happened.

--------------------
Anglo-Cthulhic

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
What I am saying is that some of those guides, those often included in rules of etiquette in particular, are classist and sexist in origin and often* in practice still are.

What I am saying is that is wrong. Doing niceties for people is not a sign of being superior to them. Why would the power differential change between whether it's your job or not? Holding the door open for someone is a sign of deference. It's something the person of lower status does for the person of higher status. It's an act of deference.

If the job thing is bugging you let's go back to the Jim Crow south. Do you think white men held doors open for black men to prove their dominance?

--------------------
“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
- and so parsed things differently.

Because you read what I actually wrote.
quote:

The thing is that there really are people out there who make such swingeing claims, and appear to mean them sincerely.

From the beginning of this topic, I made an effort to qualify. In each post.
quote:

Anyway - just trying to identify what might have happened.

Seems likely you are correct, HRB. For Anselmina, at the least.
I did see that and think the same, that the qualifier had been missed.
However, having been accused of offering no quarter, I decided to give none. Bad manners and poor etiquette, yes. But I shall not surrender my sword just yet.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Pangolin Guerre
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Really? Your "sword"? (Blake reference?) We each choose our hill, but this one isn't worth it.

I was hoping for something with more light and less heat. My dim view of humanity endures. lilBuddha, given your bracing posts, I was expecting something combative, but I was also hoping for something more penetrating from you, as you have displayed in past.

[Takes his G&T and walks.]

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LutheranChik
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Just a gwneral observation, based on 56 years of life in human society;

1. People of any socioeconomic stratum who behave in a mannerly way -- who see to others' needs first, who strive to make peoole feel comfortable in social situations, who make allowances for the very yiung and very old, the disabled, the burdened -- are a pleasure to be around.

2. People of any socioeconomic stratum who are not mannerly - who are self-absorbed, unhelpful, uncaring about others' feelings or comfort, rude, pushy -- are terrible to be around.

3. Standard etiquette is not some arcane subject ( forget about ehere a narrow spoon goes in a table setting; we're talking basic childhood training in politeness and respect), but is easily accessible for anyone to learn, even if they were raised by wolves and have to learn it remediall

4. So what is the problem?

--------------------
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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
What I am saying is that some of those guides, those often included in rules of etiquette in particular, are classist and sexist in origin and often* in practice still are.

What I am saying is that is wrong. Doing niceties for people is not a sign of being superior to them. Why would the power differential change between whether it's your job or not? Holding the door open for someone is a sign of deference. It's something the person of lower status does for the person of higher status. It's an act of deference.
When both people are men, this is the case. But the old rules of etiquette that dictated that men always open doors for women stemmed from benevolent sexism.
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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
This is very good, and the audio book is read by Sandi Toksvig herself which makes for a nice listen.

This book on ettiquette is written by the lesbian co-founder of the women's equality party - yet still manages to be a book on ettiquette.

[ 02. September 2017, 11:01: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]

--------------------
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
When both people are men, this is the case. But the old rules of etiquette that dictated that men always open doors for women stemmed from benevolent sexism.

Of course that may be true. If some silly bloke were to make an obvious show of helping the little lady through the door, that certainly would be ridiculous. But it doesn't follow that the practical option of holding a door open, arguably then, but certainly now, is therefore always a perpetuation of that benevolent sexism, and therefore something to get up in arms about.

It's a tricky issue about customs of etiquette and/or good manners. If someone has been trained in etiquette that offends me, is it good manners in me to take especial note of it, or ignore it as least said soonest mended? Do I assume that the perpetrator, even with the best intentions and the deepest respect, has done something sexist and should be censured and corrected; or do I politely just carry on?

For example, when someone wearing a hat enters a church he may remove it because he respects the custom of the people who worship there, that men's heads are uncovered in a Christian holy place. In his heart he seeks to respect and not offend. Some people don't remove hats because they're not aware of the custom; and still have no intention to offend or disrespect. Some people, of course, couldn't give a damn. So when the hat doesn't come off, the host vergers don't know who they're dealing with; someone who's just uninformed, or someone who's deliberately disrespectful. How they deal with that is up to their visitors' policy, of course.

But there's blurriness and we seem to increasingly live in times where blurriness is less and less acceptable. Especially when we're not sure we're being disrespected.

Was it good manners of me to cover my head, visiting a Gurdwara some years ago? Or capitulation to an unnecessary and irksome etiquette foisted on women, which shouldn't apply to any woman, least of all non-Sikhs?

--------------------
Irish dogs needing homes! http://www.dogactionwelfaregroup.ie/ Greyhounds and Lurchers are shipped over to England for rehoming too!

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