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Reblogged:That Signal Isn't Necessarily of Virtue!

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In addition to her inerrant advice, one of the things that keeps me coming back to Miss Manners is her occasional gentle (and often humorous) demolition of boorish behavior.

The gentleness spares the blushes of anyone who may genuinely think, in this age-without-norms, that what they propose is polite behavior. The humor makes the advice memorable and helps the rest of us remain sane. Case in point is a recent letter titled, "Leave Your Water Bottle at Home."

Whether the letter-writer is genuinely confused (plausible, given the fashion of practicing environmentalism as conspicuously as possible) -- or is insufferably pious and wants a very public and echoingly loud slap on the back -- Miss Manners's reply is priceless:

Image by Houston Max, via Unsplash, license.
Presumably the least any host can provide you is water -- in the original environmentally conscious receptacle: a glass -- so bringing your own is not only disrespectful, but also redundant. Unless you mean to suggest that what you carry around with you is more potent than water, in which case Miss Manners fears that your host's offense may turn instead to deep concern. [bold added]
Anyone wanting to brag via steel bottle surrogate about fitness or Concern for Mother Earth -- but with enough sense to wonder how that comes off -- has been warned.

As for the rest of us? Well, I won't succumb to the temptation to inquire directly, as if I were on a set with that legendary dipsomaniac W.C. Fields, but yes: This thought will occur to me and replace what might have been mild annoyance with an inward smile.

In addition, I now have a way to amuse myself with other species of virtue signaling: Considering in what plausible ways they might unintentionally come off and enjoying the sport or even bringing it up if the situation warrants. (And yes, this can be a tool for introspection regarding communication, come to think of it.)

Thanks again, Miss Manners!

-- CAV

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