Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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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