Thursday, June 7, 2007

Talk to the Hand

I had high hopes for Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door, and Lynne Truss did not fail to deliver. Just as full of humor as her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Talk to the Hand was a refreshing (or would that be depressing?) nonfiction look at the rudeness in the world around us.

Who among us is exempt from contact with rude people? Everyone that I know could easily share an anecdote to support the theory that our world is quickly becoming a disrespectful, unreasonable, selfish, and downright rude place. I think that the average person would relate to many of the stories and conclusions that Lynne Truss shares in this book. Surely the book would also generate a few laugh-out-loud moments, as well as a 'yes, that's exactly right!' moment or two.

If nothing else, I am inspired to go out of my way to be respectful and courteous to those around me when in public places or speaking on the phone.

From The Fifth Good Reason: Booing the Judges

There seems to be an idea that the more disrespect you show towards the rich or famous [...], the nearer you move towards achieving equality, but the effect is quite the opposite: rudeness highlights difference. In a truly egalitarian society, everyone would show respect to everyone else. It is very bad news for our society that overt disrespect is such a big game these days, because it just stirs people up without enlightening them. Mass entertainment that demeans public figures satisfies popular base instincts but leaves nobody better off. Besides, at the same time as it's become fashionable never to look up to anyone, it has become nastily acceptable to look down.

The "end of deference" is about a lot more than the flattening of class distinctions, in any case. [...] Respect and consideration are traditionally due to other people for all sorts of reasons, some big, some small. Here are twenty (mostly lapsed) reasons to show special politeness to other people that have nothing to do with class.

1 they are older

2 they know more than you do

3 they know less than you do

4 they got here first

5 they have educational qualifications in the subject under discussion

6 you are in their house

7 they once helped you financially

8 they have been good to you all your life

9 they are less fortunate than you

10 they have achieved status in the wider world

11 you are serving them in a shop

12 they are in the right

13 they are your boss

14 they work for you

15 they are a policeman/teacher/doctor/judge

16 they are in need

17 they are doing you a favor

18 they paid for the tickets

19 you phoned them, not the other way round

20 they have a menial job


Carrie said...

I've been looking forward to reading this book! Your review just makes me want to read it more!

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

I loved this book. Truss is brilliant and hilarious!