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Wednesday
May 25, 2016

My Diary month    year

Entry from May 23, 2016

Social elites have always defined themselves — and justified their elite status — by their manners. I think we must have forgotten this since the word "uncouth" became, well, uncouth. Originally meaning "unknown" or "unknowing" the word was in common use by the 18th century to indicate someone who was unfamiliar with the manners of what was once called "polite" society and therefore at best a doubtful claimant to membership in that society. There was no point to calling peasants or tradesmen uncouth unless they aspired to join, or deal on an equal footing with, the elite, when unfamiliarity with the latter’s ways advertised unfitness for their company. The manners of the postwar American elite do not admit of any such overt exclusions, which are now seen as wrong and undemocratic. But the elite would not be an elite if it did not retain some means of excluding the uncouth — something that it has accomplished in our time by turning its manners into morals. Full Entry


Past Entries

Entry from May 13, 2016
Entry from May 5, 2016
Entry from April 27, 2016
Entry from April 21, 2016
Entry from March 18, 2016
Entry from March 15, 2016
Entry from March 10, 2016
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Entry from February 10, 2016
Entry from December 8, 2015
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Entry from November 13, 2015
Entry from October 30, 2015
Entry from October 22, 2015
Entry from October 1, 2015
Entry from September 21, 2015
Entry from September 11, 2015
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Entry from July 10, 2015
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