Miss Manners: My comment in the newspaper got me this summons


Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Not long ago, a committee was appointed to investigate claims of racism and racial discrimination in our community.

After reading a newspaper article describing the rather polarizing language the committee used to present its mission to the public, I felt led to respond with a letter to the editor decrying that language and also pointing out a local instance of institutional racism overlooked by the committee.

You may imagine my surprise at reading an open reply on the same editorial page from a member of the committee summoning me to a meeting of the committee to defend my remarks.

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Given that my telephone number is published and my email and snail mail addresses are common knowledge, I felt this was a highly unusual way to send me such a targeted invitation, which I find necessary to decline due to a conflict with my evening work hours.

Am I stuck in a time warp where I have missed a tectonic shift in the etiquette of issuing invitations? I trust not.

GENTLE READER: Were you too busy at work to look up how to correspond directly with this committee or its members?

The etiquette rule that eludes you is to respond in kind. You send an email invitation, you get an email response. You send an engraved card by post, you should get a response by post. Miss Manners noticed that your challenge was made in the newspaper, where the committee had stated its mission. So you are the one who made the dispute public.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How would one go about staying polite when leaving an unpleasant situation, such as involuntarily receiving something unwanted or bad news?

If I am pulled over for having a taillight out and receive a ticket, I don’t want to say “Thank you” or “Have a nice day” — because really, who wants a ticket? — but I’d still want to be respectful and polite.

GENTLE READER: How about “I’m very sorry, officer, and I assure you it won’t happen again”? Miss Manners promises you that this is more effective than “Why aren’t you out catching real criminals?”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: I volunteer with my local hospice, where I’m assigned one patient/family at a time whom I visit weekly in the home, sometimes for many months. These relationships become very special and dear to all of us.

Many …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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