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Posts Tagged ‘manners

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god”*…

 

A wild beast, a god… or just aging:

Time with friends, colleagues, siblings, and children diminishes over the course of a lifetime. The older we get, the person we spend the most time with is the one we see in the mirror.

That’s the conclusion of a recent, fascinating analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey, an annual census by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics of how Americans spend their hours…

More at “These charts show who you’ll spend your time with across your lifetime.”

* Aristotle

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As we wince at Sartre’s observation that “if you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company,” we might send courteous birthday greetings to Giovanni della Casa; he was born on this date in 1503.  A Florentine poet, diplomat, and inquisitor, he is best remembered as a writer on etiquette and society, especially for his famous 1558 treatise on polite behavior, Il Galateo overo de’ costumi.

Portrait of Giovanni della Casa by Jacopo Pontormo

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Written by LW

June 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Their manners are more gentle, kind, than of our generation you shall find”*…

 

 Larger image available at source, here

Saying “please” and “thank you” is not a universal custom — there are societies such as the Inuit, where it is not the case. In fact it first took hold in Western society during the commercial revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as evidence of the democratization of society — our desire to view everyone as equals. Before that, saying please and thank you was a way to show deference to a lord or master. “Thank you” derives from “think,” it originally meant, “I will remember what you did for me” — and “please” is short for “if you please,” “if it pleases you to do this”:

“Consider the custom, in American society, of constantly saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ To do so is often treated as basic morality: we are constantly chiding children for forgetting to do it, just as the moral guardians of our society — teachers and ministers, for instance — do to everybody else. We often assume that the habit is universal, but as the Inuit hunter made clear, it is not. Like so many of our everyday courtesies, it is a kind of democratization of what was once a habit of feudal deference: the insistence on treating absolutely everyone the way that one used only to have to treat a lord or similar hierarchical superior…

More of Delancey Place’s instructive excerpt of David Graber’s wonderful Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years here.

* Shakespeare, The Tempest

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As we mind our Ps and Qs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1897 that London taxi driver George Smith smashed his hack into a building on New Bond Street.  On being charged with the offense, Smith admitted that he’d had “two or three glasses of beer” and apologized, arguing that “it is the first time I have been charged with being drunk in charge of a cab.”  In fact, it was the first time anyone had been charged with drunk driving.  Smith was fined 25 shillings.

 Larger image available at the source, here

 

Written by LW

September 10, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece”*…

 

In 2012, 437,000 people were killed worldwide, yielding a global average murder rate of 6.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. A third of those homicides occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, home to just 8% of the world’s population. But data on violent death can be difficult to obtain, since governments are often reluctant to share their homicide statistics. What data is available is sometimes inconsistent and inconclusive.

To make this data clear and to better address the problem of global homicide, a new open-source visualization tool, the Homicide Monitor, tracks the total number of murders and murder rates per country, broken down by gender, age and, where the data is available, the type of weapon used, including firearms, sharp weapons, blunt weapons, poisoning, and others. For the most violent region in the world, the 40 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, you can also see statistics by state and city. That geographic specificity helps to underscore an important point about murders, says Robert Muggah, the research director and program coordinator for Citizen Security at the Rio de Janeiro-based Igarapé Institute, in the above-lined story: “In most cities, the vast majority of violence takes place on just a few street corners, at certain times of the day, and among specific people.”

via Slashdot.  Explore the interactive murder map here.

* William Shakespeare, Macbeth

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As we reach for the kevlar, we might recall that it was on this date in 1637 (or nearabouts, as closely as scholars can say) that Cardinal Richelieu introduced the first table knives (knives with rounded edges)–reputedly to cure dinner guests of the unsavory habit of picking their teeth with the knife-points of the daggers that were, until then, used to cut meat at the table.  Years later, in 1669, King Louis XIV followed suit, forbidding pointed knives at his table; indeed, he extended the prohibition, banning pointed knives in the street in an attempt to reduce violence.

 source

 

Written by LW

May 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

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