Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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