Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Books · Mind your manners, The Advice...
. . . .

Mind your manners, The Advice Goddess rages on the rude

Erin Cowell - January 25th, 2010
Mind Your Manners
The Advice Goddess rages at the rude
I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite
society
By Amy Alkon
McGraw Hill, $16.95
By Erin Crowell
Amy Alkon, humorist and nationally syndicated columnist of “The Advice
Goddess,” has taken her bold opinions of society and had them print, set
and bound into her newest book, “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to
beat some manners into impolite society.”
Her weekly advice column has caused a bit of a stir since appearing in
over 100 publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal,
with the Northern Express being one of the first newspapers to carry it as
far back as 1994 (sixth, to be accurate). Readers, including our own, have
accused Alkon of being brash, biased, and sometimes, just a plain “bitch.”
But she is also one of the best-loved writers in the Express and many
readers report that she’s the first page they turn to when the paper comes
out each week.
“I See Rude People” doesn’t stray far from Alkon’s classic “I don’t care
what you think” attitude – actually, the only thing Alkon does care about
in this book is the common disregard for others in our society.
The back cover reads: “Alkon gives you the tools you need to confront
these abusers and restore common courtesy, respect, and good manners in
society…One chastened cellphone shouter at a time.”

FUNNY STUFF
The book is funny – and thoroughly researched, complete with scientific
social experiments and all the archeological dirt on homo sapiens. From
the survival of the fittest, to the need of cohabitation within a small
community.
Alkon writes, “Our brains are programmed to respond to 21st century
problems using the adaptations that best solved prehistoric
hunter-gatherer mating and survival issues.”
So, despite all of today’s flashy gizmos, our brains are still working on
an effective, yet very outdated network. Alkon argues that we have simply
used technology as an excuse, another vehicle for being rude: The
businessman who just has to take that cell phone call at lunch.
It’s an example of rudeness that happens everyday. The thing is, many of
us quietly brush it aside like a loose hair.
Alkon writes, “What’s weird to me is how many people always suffer in
silence, even if it’s just a 13-year-old mall brat ‘like, yeah, ya
know’-ing so loud in line behind them that it’s impossible to hear the
counter guy trying to take their lunch order.”
Alkon suggests it also doesn’t mean you can’t use those gizmos to your
advantage. Like taking photos of an offender and posting it via
blogosphere -- a public humiliation. The kind of stuff that kept our
ancestors from stirring up the tribal pot. Many watchful eyes meant you
were out of the village (and likely to die) when committing a social faux
pas.

TAKNG ACTION
Our village has gotten too large, and Amy Alkon believes it’s time to make
it smaller.
Peeved off about that guy who cut you off in traffic? Tweet about it.
The more people who understand unaccepted social behaviors, the less
likely they are to commit the same travesty.
So is this book a get back-at-’em guidebook for self-empowerment? Hardly.
It’s about checks and balances. Knowing how to deal with jerks without
being one yourself. Of course, sometimes it means fighting fire with fire,
a method Alkon relishes, even excels at.
Here’s one example from her book:

“The lady made five very loud calls—each the same as the last—giving her
name (Carol), detailed directions to a kid’s birthday party at her house,
plus the time, plus her home phone number… I left this message on her
voice mail when I got home: ‘Carol, Carol, Carol… the microphone on a cell
phone is actually quite sensitive. There’s no need to yell. You probably
didn’t realize that your repeated shouting into your cell phone drove a
number of people out of the coffee bar today. Beyond that, you might
consider that I… know that you live at 555 Ferngrove Street… and that
you’re having a bunch of six-year-olds over at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Just a
little something to think about… Bye!’”

Alkon dedicates a couple of paragraphs to admitting she has occasionally
overstepped her bounds, her dislike of telemarketers is obvious: “I’m
hotheaded, and I have been known to scream at telemarketers and/or to ask
them if they have a suspicious vaginal odor—even if they happen to be
men.”
Although this kind of behavior might offend some, others will get a laugh,
and perhaps a newfound confidence in standing up to all the line cutters
and parking space hogs of the world.
Just keep your superhero ego in-check. There’s no need for a bloody nose
and minor concussion.

Don’t miss our interview with Amy Alkon in the February 8 issue of the
Northern Express, discussing everything from bad manners to her appearance
at the City Opera House in Traverse City, on Feb. 11. Alkon is one of
several speakers at this year’s National Writers Series.

Got a problem or question? Email them to Amy Alkon at AdviceAmy@aol.com or
visit her website: www.advicegoddess.com.


 
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