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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Hey you, read this, OK?

Say, whatever happened to "please" and "thank you"?

Listen to the conversations around you — colleagues at the office, customers in the coffeehouse line, those who serve you, those you serve, the people you meet each day. "Give me a tall latte." "Hand me that hammer." "Have a good one."

Notice anything missing? The traditional magic words "please" and "thank you" that many people learn as children appear to be disappearing.

Lisa Gache, co-founder of Beverly Hills Manners in Los Angeles, has noticed the gradual vanishing of courteous language. She blames the casualty on the casual. "The slow erosion of the 'magic words' in our everyday vernacular," says Gache, who coaches people to be more civil, "has to do with the predilection toward all things casual in our society today. Casual conversation, casual dress and casual behavior have hijacked practically all areas of life, and I do not think it is doing anyone a service."

Other polite phrases also seem to be falling by the wayside. "You're welcome," for instance. Say "thank you" to someone these days, and instead of hearing "you're welcome," you're more liable to hear: "Sure." "No problem." "You bet." "Enjoy." Or a long list of replies that replace the traditional "you're welcome."

Instead of saying "thank you," people say "got it." Or "have a good one." Or, more often, nothing at all. And in lieu of saying "no, thank you," reactions such as "I'm good" are increasingly common.

"The responses 'have a good one,' 'I'm good' or 'you bet,' do not carry the same sentiment or convey the same conviction as when we are sincerely expressing our gratitude or thanks," Gache says. "They feel less invested, almost as if they are painful to utter under our breath."

Please excuse us for asking the questions: Are we just finding new ways to say old, polite phrases? Are good manners merely morphing? Or are they fading away altogether?

That's from a lengthy NPR treatment of the current state of incivility. The general premise of the piece is that it's getting ruder all the time out there, which I think is almost beyond argument. It's so generally uncivil that any display of what we once called "manners" is refreshing and very appreciated, no matter what form the words take. If the expression seems sincere, I don't think there's a big difference between "Thank you" and "No problem." When a co-worker and I first see each other during the work day, "How's it going?" works just as well as "Hello, how do you do?" An answer is never expected anyway -- the greeting is just to acknowledge being comfortable sharing the same space. Language is always evolving, so we should be careful not to confuse form with function. "Being more informal" is not the same thing as "lacking in respect."


Fri, 03/16/2012 - 9:44am

Hey you, look at this ultrasound! Hey you, listen while I describe the development of your fetus!

tim zank
Fri, 03/16/2012 - 2:08pm

Littlejohn, do you really get that big a chuckle out of abortion? Seems a fuzz ghoulish and off topic for this post.

Christopher Swing
Fri, 03/16/2012 - 4:21pm

The state-sponsored rape of women he's alluding to has nothing to do with abortion, other than legislators that decided it was a necessary punishment for seeking one.

Tim Zank
Fri, 03/16/2012 - 8:31pm

Seriously, I don't think either one of you read the post or the linked article. 

Christopher Swing
Fri, 03/16/2012 - 9:27pm

Oh, I think littlejohn is just using it as a jumping-off point/comment on current events. A little off topic but applicable.

How do you politely go about the conversation involved in a forced transvaginal ultrasound, anyway? Maybe it's better to be informal when inserting the 10" shaming wand against someone's will?

Tim Zank
Sat, 03/17/2012 - 4:28pm

Bryan I think you nailed it the other day during your "back and forth" that resulted in Mr. Swing's banishment from the News-Sentinel's other comment section, he's just a paid troll. That's the only thing that makes sense really. 

Christopher Swing
Sat, 03/17/2012 - 5:44pm

Aw, Tim, are you trying to goad people into arguments again? That's adorable!

Harl Delos
Sun, 03/18/2012 - 10:52am

Gee, Leo, I think it is obvious that there is a lot of respect here.

Sun, 03/18/2012 - 10:54am

Tim, the blatant mispresentation of the truth and utter hypoocrisy in arguments (see interactions at Kevin L and my articles in past) may not prove the paid troll status, but it certainly does disclose an ideologue who does not allow truth and basic civility to get in the way.  I respect you since you respect the truth and have the courage to post under your given legal name and are part of the Fort Wayne community.  Those who are involved in the opposite of all of those hallmarks are impossible to respect, be they paid trolls or merely useful idiots of world socialist powers.

Sun, 03/18/2012 - 11:06am

Oops, I forgot to say "thank you" Tim, and "please" dear leftists, consider being civil.

Christopher Swing
Sun, 03/18/2012 - 3:47pm

As much as Angola is a part of Fort Wayne, anyway. XD

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 7:44am

Thar blows the unknown (as to geographical setting) Captain, always ready to use personal info against fellow posters in his assymetrical war against conservative principles.  Thank God he did not drag Tim's daughter into the argument once again.  Please never do that again.

Christopher Swing
Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:00pm

Ah, you mean pointing out Tim's hypocrisy in internet-stalking me when he should have been worrying about his own stuff. (But Protip: just the city you live in isn't really personal info, especially since Tim's a realtor that advertises it on his website. And he's happy to use his children's info in advertising his business...) That was a good one! Better bring that up to deflect the fact that you just made yourself look dumb. :D

I suppose if Leo and the NS et al would do more to enforce their own rules and put a stop to people like Tim and yourself  stalking people for their location and info, that wouldn't be such an issue.

BTW, by your own logic, shouldn't we not respect you when you post as "Ransom" on Turkette's blog? I also did some looking, and the News-Sentinel isn't even actually locally owned. Doesn't that make Leo and Leininger paid by out of state interests?

For someone so obsessed with where other people live and where they're getting paid from, you've just demonstrated a lot of ignorance of both.

I mean, yeah, your whole argument that people shouldn't be listened to on national issues being discussed here because they don't live here is just dumb on its face. And a distraction from the actual topic. A distraction you need since you don't have anything to say that's on topic.

But you could at least be consistent in applying your dumb logic.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 2:28pm

So that sure sounds like an admission/defense of being not from around here, Chris.  As for my penname at awb, that is no secret!  Clearly identified there often.   Unlike pennames used to hide identities.  Mr. Swing (right).

Christopher Swing
Mon, 03/19/2012 - 3:45pm

"So that sure sounds like an admission/defense of being not from around here, Chris."

I can't help you with the voicees in your head, Brown.

Doesn't have anything to do with making  the "being from here/being here/real name" sideshow relevant, anyway. Unless you think it's only relevant when you want to apply it to me, but doesn't matter when you apply it to Zank or yourself.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 4:41pm

Thank you, Leo.