The Unbearable Politeness of Being
I have been politely nudged no less than five times in the last week to read this well-polished gem of humblebraggery on ‘How to be Polite’, by Gentleman Paul Ford. So I have, and have been duly regaled by the author’s lamentation of our current impolitic times, and how far ahead in life and love he has gotten by sending thank you cards, “turn[ing] the conversation relentlessly towards the speaker”, and not touching anyone’s hair without permission until “at least six or more years of marriage.”
I will try, though my editorial muscles twitch with vituperative energy, to refrain from mentioning the many ways in which this article is poorly written. (Okay, allow me just one as a proof of concept: “at least six or more years” is necessarily always more than six years. The “or more” is superfluous.) I want to focus on the message, since it bothers me more.
Humblebraggery. Now, that’s a word I’ve often needed but never knew.