Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Commentary on Miss Manners

A new Wednesday feature? Commentary on Miss Manners:

Today's column:
"To Madam, With Sincerely"

Miss Manners is exceedingly patient in explaining to a patent attorney that "Madam" is the female equivalent of "Sir" in formal correspondence, and that he need not worry that about the marital status of the unknown patent examiner. I am concerned that an attorney needs to write to the Washington Post etiquette columnist in order to learn how to address a government official.

The reply to the next letter strikes close to home:

"What you are doing is sending out a mass newsletter to people who have not shown interest in entering into a regular exchange.

They seem pleased enough to receive it, and Miss Manners does not mean to discourage you from continuing. But its being a hobby of yours does not require them to make it a hobby of theirs."

She is referring to the practice of sending out a group e-mail to friends and to the questioner's sadness that his friends do not reply. But I should keep her answer in mind when I lament the relative paucity of comments on the blog.

The final pericope? Just brilliant:

"Dear Miss Manners:

I have a friend who constantly refers to herself in the third person, i.e., "Jenny never eats red meat," or "Jenny loves to go to the movies!" What is the best way to deal with this wholly annoying habit?

How would Miss Manners know?"

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