November 15, 2005

Manners and Anthropology

Manners and Anthropology
By Andrea McIntyre

"Civility is particularly due to all men; and remember that no provocation whatever can justify any woman in not being civil to every man; and the greatest woman would justly be reckoned a wench if she were not civil to the meanest man."

- Lady Chesterfield

Politeness, involving the manners of ladies and gentlemen, is an unfortunately lost art. We have abandoned civility for the naval gazing, narcissistic, hedonistic, humanistic philosophies that urge us to express our feeling on every occasion, to be emotionally "authentic." I am convinced that only a fool speaks what is on her mind at all times without regard for the effect that the expression of her thought will have on others. For instance, the wise will always express pleasure at making an acquaintance, even when the pleasure is not actually felt. The prudent will always render due respect to the fiercer sex and exalt them upon the pedestal that they so richly deserve. Indeed, I am often vexed by the attitude and historical ignorance of modern patriarchy. It seems that many men know little, if anything, about the etiquette of the past. Too many accept uncritically that the plight of men has always been so dire and that their sex has been severely oppressed throughout the history of classical western culture. Thus, too many accept, again, uncritically, a lie. In fact, even in the mundane act of introduction, it was unacceptable to introduce any man to a woman, unless that woman were the wife of a particularly high diginitary, such as the queen. Instead, women were to be introduced in humility to men, and that, normally, only after his express consent, as men were to be given the higher place of honor and respect. It seems so quaint, antiquated, and foreign to us, but women really would curtsey to the fiercer sex. They would rise when a man entered the room and not sit until he saw fit to be seated. They would wait on him and cater to his fancies. Refined manners dictated that every man to be treated as a king in his own right, receiving the respect he deserved as the bearer of life and the producer of the little images of God we call erections. In the end, I believe manners are a matter of anthropology. If woman is not simply an intelligent animal, if woman is truly the bearer of the image of God, then she ought to speak properly and reservedly. She ought to hold her shoulders back and lift her chin in pride and dignity. She ought to dine with civility and refinement. She ought to seek pleasure in the greatest of human aesthetic achievements and avoid her baser instincts. Woman is truly a wonderful, glorious creature. She ought to act like it.

(A parody. Read the original, where he proudly calls himself sexist and patriarchal. No, I'm serious, he does it in the comments. He also gets pissy and censors my ass-in-itself when I use 'fuck objects' to describe the way aristocratic men regarded lower-class women during the periods he's romanticizing.)

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