MISS MANNERS RESCUES CIVILIZATION by Judith Martin

MISS MANNERS RESCUES CIVILIZATION

From Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing and Other Lapses in Civility

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Here is Dear Miss Manners once again, scolding and shaking her finger at Gentle Readers who fall short in the task of lubricating the increasing, squeaky hinges of social interaction. This time, Martin (Miss Manners on [Painfully Proper] Weddings, 1996, etc.} adopts Miss Manners's familiar, self- mocking pseudo-Victorian persona (``totally besotted with the idea of proper behavior'') to address a host of millennial dilemmas in etiquette. These range from legislating protection for the American flag to netiquette on the Internet. She deplores the first (the power of etiquette is sufficient safeguard, she maintains, siding with the Supreme Court) and hails the second as a resurgence of standards to guide the new electronic community. In between, she fearlessly, but politely, tackles issues of date rape, sexual harassment, public protest, political correctness, dress codes, and even proper behavior in the operating room. Why, she wonders grumpily, should a nervous patient or even other members of the surgical team be subjected to the surgeon's taste in music--or any music at all, for that matter? That, like smoking in an unventilated room, is inflicting a possibly offensive personal whim on a defenseless public. Incidentally, etiquette does not preclude that public, individually or collectively, from protesting strongly--but politely, of course. As amusing (or irritating, depending on your tolerance for those who refer to themselves in the third person) as Miss Manners may be, she takes her subject seriously enough to equate manners with morals. Etiquette is more than social convention--it promotes orderly and predictable behavior that enhances human dignity and reduces conflict. It is worth preserving, she feels, even as traditions evolve. With civility as the foundation of civilization, Miss Manners evokes a kinder, gentler lifestyle that still packs a (ladylike) punch. (20 b&w line drawings, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-517-70164-2
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996




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