Monday, April 23, 2007

The Structure of Discourse

Hmph. It seems that Pretty Lady's Troll Count is up to two! She is not certain What This Means--has she Arrived? Or has she merely Slipped? It is so difficult to tell.

Pretty Lady hates to stoop to mention that Imus person, particularly as, to her knowledge, she has never heard Imus doing whatever it is he used to do, before the recent Unpleasantness. But the issues with the Unpleasantness, she hears, have something to do with Freedom of Speech.

Pretty Lady is, of course, All For freedom of speech. She is a very firm believer that when a person possesses factual information to the material detriment of the Powers That Be, whatever powers they may be, one has a duty to coherently assemble this information and Speak Out. Her understanding is that the framers of our constitution believed likewise. The reasoning behind this freedom, so her recollections of high-school history class go, is that if the Powers That Be go down the wrong track, and start oppressing people or doing something else stupid, Freedom of Speech is one of those early-warning trip-switches that keep the whole shenanigan from going down the tubes.

As far as she knows, the framers of our Constitution did not think too much one way or the other about people's freedom to utter inane, untruthful vulgarities about complete strangers. They didn't have to. The rules for this sort of behavior were laid down in a parallel social code which has nothing to do with the Constitution; these rules are called 'Manners,' and Manners strictly declare that such behavior is Rude.

There are still, Pretty Lady understands, a contingent of persons who assert that Manners are trivial, unneccessary, and downright Oppressive. They feel that adhering to such an archaic and arbitrary code trammels their Creative Self-Expression; they feel that they are using their vulgar diatribes to some Higher Purpose, whatever that may be. They have a perfect right to feel this way.

However, Pretty Lady asks that such persons, before spewing their offensive trash, first make a coherent, rational, fact-based case for why they believe that such trash is providing a point of departure for constructive discourse. If their point is conceded by a majority of Pretty Lady's polite friends, they may proceed unhampered.

If, however, Pretty Lady and a quorum of her most trusted associates deem that such commentary is providing no direct, indirect, tangential, or purely diverting information regarding--well, regarding anything, this commentary will be excised from the record. Pretty Lady hates to be draconian, but she has to draw the line somewhere.

Because when Manners are discarded by the majority, eventually someone somewhere will become sufficiently offended to bring the State in. And then it is All Over. No Freedom of Speech, ever again. So, in supporting Manners, Pretty Lady believes that she is enhancing, rather than assaulting, the cause of Freedom.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more where manners or courtesy are concerned - without it we quickly descend back into savagery. Manners are the oil of civilization, enabling us to disagree without pulling each other limb from limb.

k said...

Well put, both of you.

Anonymous said...

I was raised with good manners instilled in my very being. I got smacked whenever I stepped the least bit out of line.

I--of course--rebeled for a time when Uncle Sam's forced(the draft) military experience allowed me to wander far beyond the fences built by my parents, but thankfully, that was a relatively short period.

Since returning to my instilled rules of conduct, I--and others like myself--have been under constant assault by the media, television, the dismal public opinion standard of the masses, and man-hating femininsts... to revert to a base, crude, drooling, witless, and ignorant man ape, not unlike our cave-dwelling ancestors.

Sorry folks, not going to happen.

I can understand--finally--why most of the Christian martyrs of yesteryear went to their deaths in the manner they did.

Anonymous said...

Well put.

The "I'm Just Bein' Real" attitude is just an excuse for being nasty and heedless of others' feelings and sensibilities. The lowest common denominator culture informs me that entropy is not just for physics anymore.

The Aardvark is saddened and frustrated at the increased coarsening of our culture. There has always been the Base Element; I just never expected to see them lionized so. What to do beyond placing Miss Manners next to the Gideon Bibles in hotels, and teaching the kinder their p's and q's, and practicing them myself ?

Anonymous said...


first, they must be taught to read... and to understand what they read.

Then--possibly--maybe books like the ones you mentioned could do some could.


Real books now, not something like the "Eubonics Guidebook To Manners" written(pun intended) by some horses ass(dark horse of course) that calls himself Da Hip RapDog Funk, or some such nonsense.

Anonymous said...


Which may seem odd, coming from me.

I am loudmouthed, foul-mouthed, and judgmental. I get paid for being so, albeit a pittance.

The difference is that while I treat words and ideas with great coarseness, I most usually refrain from doing so with individuals.

And I *never* get crass with someone who hasn't responded in kind, you know?

Anonymous said...


A bit of common ground!