No more bad mannersby Rebecca Front / June 19, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Good manners are the cornerstone of civilisation.” David Fisher/REX
If I ruled the world—and I have to admit I’m surprised and insulted that this is the first time it’s been suggested—I would enshrine in law one principle: that we should all mind our manners.
There’s a line in Tom Stoppard’s play Professional Foul that says: “The history of human calumny is largely a series of breaches of good manners.” It makes complete sense to me. Good manners are the cornerstone of civilisation.
I’m not talking about etiquette—knowing how to use a fruit knife and whether it’s OK to blow your nose in polite company. Etiquette is just the veneer of a civilised society; it makes it look polished but conceals what’s going on underneath. Indeed, I often think that etiquette is itself an example of bad manners—a codified way of making people feel ignorant and out of place.