Manners

Anne Rice's petition won't work. People will still find a way to be jerks on the Internet—because it’s the Internet.

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Protocol Experts Explain How Obama Could Have Handled the Castro Handshake

It's hard to snub without looking graceless

Sometimes world leaders just have to have good manners.

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What Happens When the British Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real

Intimacy and the decline of manners in society

Is intimacy always a good thing? It has become customary to suggest that it is. But rather than being democratic, intimacy can be troublesome. Today we are obliged to be relaxed. Casualness is mistaken for fairness. The idea that each of us should do what makes us feel comfortable does not result in other people’s comfort and hardly seems to improve our own. I’ll call this the paradox of laxity: to paraphrase the sociologist Norbert Elias, we are constrained to be unconstrained.

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