Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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
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.”

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
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

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
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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