Trends for All
August 23, 2017

“Now trending: destructed denim.” JC Penney Advertisement “Everything about this farm-house was formerly the scene of plain manners and plentiful living.” William Cobbett, Rural Rides It’s hard not to notice the advertisements I receive in the mail. It’s also hard not to be discouraged by them. Images are extremely powerful. Though at […]

Reclaiming Manners at Table
February 1, 2017

“At table let mirth be with thee, let ribaldry be exiled…for at table it becometh not to be sad nor to make others sad. … Nothing should be blirted out at table that might diminish mirth. It is wrong to defame the character of those not present; nor should one’s personal sorrow […]

Reclaiming Manners between Men and Women
January 25, 2017

The latest in my series on Reclaiming Manners is an article I posted at The Catholic Gentleman, a reflection on this quotation: “The greatest man would justly be reckoned a brute if he were not civil to the meanest woman.” Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette (1866) Today’s article is HERE. How to Treat […]

Reclaiming Manners in Dress
January 11, 2017

“Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty, but see that they be brushed once every day, at least, and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.” Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior* Common practice in dress has notably deteriorated. Many young people can hardly fathom more civilized customs of […]

Reclaiming Manners: Honoring Age
January 4, 2017

“You shall stand up before the hoary head, and honor the face of an old man…” Leviticus 19:32 Honoring age, by obvious and meaning-full bodily signs, is as old as humanity. Which signs are to be used is a matter of custom; that signs must be used is a matter of a […]

Reclaiming Manners in Speech
December 21, 2016

“Be not forward but friendly and courteous; the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when it’s a time to converse.” #66, Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation* Regarding our power of speech Aristotle observes: “Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vain, and […]

Reclaiming Manners: The Look on Your Face
December 14, 2016

“A man is known by his appearance, and a sensible man is known by his face, when you meet him.” Sirach 19:29 It is the main thing that people see. So much about us, about our disposition toward those around us, is enshrined in our face. We simply owe to others a […]

Reclaiming Manners: A Series
November 30, 2016

“Etiquette and ethics, rightly understood, are in fact continuous, partly because character is often revealed in outward display; moreover, the principles of self-command and consideration for others shown in ‘small manners’ are of a piece with virtue and justice. Indeed civility may very well be the heart of the ethics of everyday […]

Gestures: A Meeting of Body and Soul
October 29, 2014

“Imitations practiced from youth become part of nature and settle into habits of gesture, voice, and thought.” Plato, Republic III Plato showed great concern about how people move and use their bodies. Bodily gestures have significance; and they are connected to deeper realities, especially the dispositions of our soul. His immediate prescription […]

To Text, or Not to Text
October 1, 2014

I share some thoughts on this question at Front Porch Republic, following my attending a conference with Wendell Berry this past weekend. Texting: Why I Resolve to Avoid It