Dust off the etiquette handbooks, and get ready to mind your p's and q's. This hour on To the Best of Our Knowledge, good manners -- why learning which fork to use is the key to saving civilization! Not to mention -- the joys of being rude.
Judith Martin (a.k.a. Miss Manners) tells Jim Fleming that etiquette is not just a ploy of the idle rich. She says that too many people demand respect and are quick to react (sometimes violently) to perceived slights but that they are unwilling to extend the same courtesy to others. According to Miss Manners, society cannot function without both law and etiquette. Judith Martin's newspaper column is internationally syndicated, and she is the author of "Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior" and "Miss Manners Rescues Civilization."SEGMENT 2:
Historian Richard Bushman tells Steve Paulson that rules of behavior have a long history in America and are one means of establishing social hierarchy. Bushman teaches at Columbia and is the author of "The Refinement of America." Also, Sarah Kortum tells Jim Fleming about the importance of etiquette books in the 19th century and provides several examples from her book "The Hatless Man: An Anthology of Odd and Forgotten Manners." And, Village Voice columnist Cynthia Heimel provides a brief commentary on the joys of losing your cool.SEGMENT 3:
Jesse Sheidlower is an editor in the Random House reference department and editor of "The F Word." He talks with Judith Strasser about the history of "the F word" and its ever wider acceptance in American society, especially among the young.
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