Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 2, 2007 / 18 Menachem-Av, 5767

Dept. of Etiquette

By Paul Greenberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Don't you just hate it when guests decide to help you clear up after dinner? Without, of course, knowing anything at all about where things go. Afterward, you can never find what you're looking for.


The other day, it was reported that a helpful dinner guest in Verviers, Belgium, decided to put the leftovers in a freezer. That's where she found the bodies of the host's wife and young stepson.


Oh, dear. That kind of thing can spoil even the best of dinner parties. And it raises all kinds of question. For example:


What does a polite guest say, "Call the police!" or just "Excuse me"?


Do the guests stick around long enough to help the host wash the dishes and into his handcuffs?


The guests, according to the local prosecutor's office, had described their host as seeming "ill at ease." Which is understandable. Putting on a dinner party can be quite stressful.


Whom does one consult about the proper course to follow in such circumstances? Hercule Poirot? Or maybe Martha Stewart, who surely has encountered this problem before in her extensive experience with interior decoration, gracious entertaining and criminal law.


What can a gracious host say to put nosy guests at ease after such a discovery?


Somewhere in her files, Miss Martha surely has just the right response to this kind of awkward social situation. ("Oh, thank you so much! I've been looking everywhere for them! Another cup of coffee?")


Speaking of etiquette, the struggle to hold back the rising tide of vulgarity in presidential politics promises to be as successful as King Canute's. Did you catch the Democratic presidential debate on YouTube? It fully met the standards of the day. Unfortunately.


The questions set the tone for the evening. One concerned citizen, who accompanied himself on the guitar, asked the candidates whether "one of y'all" could get him a pardon for a speeding ticket. The candidates' responses maintained the same (low) level of public discourse. It was amusing all in all, but scarcely elevating. The death of American eloquence proceeds apace as the medium, television, dictates the message.


Asked whether, if elected, the candidates would be willing to work in the Oval Office for the minimum wage, various contenders fell over each other to respond in the affirmative, rushing to appear more-proletarian-than-thou. Among those ready to be our first minimum-wage president were John Edwards, Hillary Clinton ("Sure!") and Barack Obama.


More disconcerting than the candidates' professed eagerness to join the low-paid is the possibility that they might be worth just what they're asking for.


Folks who actually have to work for the minimum wage in this country surely have ambitions of earning a higher salary some day. And would readily say so. That's another difference between workers struggling to get by and the presidential candidates out to pander to them; the workers may be sincere.


Hillary Clinton declined even to identify herself as a liberal. ("I prefer the word 'progressive.' ") Of course she does. Liberal became a bad word some time in the 1980s, maybe the '70s, when the liberal agenda proved so disappointing. But instead of changing that agenda in any but cosmetic ways, true believers changed its label. And what could be a more acceptable label than Progressive?


As the Bush administration continues to wallow in the polls, look for the emergence of more acceptable terms for conservative, too. Realist? Moderate? Compassionate Conservative? Oh, forget that last one. It's already been tried.


Politics is the health of euphemism. It's a wonder the language retains any clear meaning whatsoever after every American presidential campaign.


As for the sense of personal dignity that etiquette is designed to foster and preserve, in American politics that was lost long ago.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles