It’s been a while since I read Lynne Truss’ book Talk to the Hand. But, it remains one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a while. Truss spends the bulk of the book decrying what she perceives to be an increasing rudeness or lack of respect in the world. I sense the same thing. Civility and respect are increasingly rare, and her book is unusually insightful for a book written at the popular level. At times, she comes off as too cynical, or even cantankerous, but the book as a whole is helpful. Be warned…there are a few language bombs throughout. However, her point is right on target, and you will laugh plenty.

Here’s a long quote worth reading…

"There seems to be an idea that the more disrespect you show towards the
rich or famous…the nearer you move towards achieving equality,
but the effect is quite the opposite: rudeness highlights difference.
In a truly egalitarian society, everyone would show respect to everyone
else. It is very bad news for our society that overt disrespect is such
a big game these days, because it just stirs people up without
enlightening them. Mass entertainment that demeans public figures
satisfies popular base instincts but leaves nobody better off. Besides, at the same time as it’s become fashionable never to look up to anyone, it has become nastily acceptable to look down.

"end of deference" is about a lot more than the flattening of class
distinctions, in any case…Respect and consideration are
traditionally due to other people for all sorts of reasons, some big,
some small. Here are twenty (mostly lapsed) reasons to show special
politeness to other people that have nothing to do with class.

1 they are older

2 they know more than you do

3 they know less than you do

4 they got here first

5 they have educational qualifications in the subject under discussion

6 you are in their house

7 they once helped you financially

8 they have been good to you all your life

9 they are less fortunate than you

10 they have achieved status in the wider world

11 you are serving them in a shop

12 they are in the right

13 they are your boss

14 they work for you

15 they are a policeman/teacher/doctor/judge

16 they are in need

17 they are doing you a favor

18 they paid for the tickets

19 you phoned them, not the other way round

20 they have a menial job

Amen. Thoughts?