Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 20:17:33 -0400


Subject: Re: thank you . . . thank you

On Wed, 22 Oct 1997, Beverly Flanigan wrote:

Melissa, do you have any evidence that people used to be more polite

and/or formal than they are today? And what's your time frame for

"used to"--50 years ago? 500 years ago? 10 years ago? How do you

measure politeness: use of title + last name vs. first name? use of

pleases and thankyous vs. Hey you and OK? Like some others, I

absolutely hate "(God) bless you"; it's not really polite and personal

so much as formulaic and empty, IMHO, and I (subtly?) signal my

rejection of it by never saying "Thank you" afterwards.

Can you honestly say that you haven't noticed a decrease in politeness in

the last 20, 10, even 5 years? People do not speak kindly. They no

longer use words that show their respect for people. For example, your

response seemed kind of impolite to me. I know that you had to have

noticed the change in people today. There is no formality. There is no

polite small talk amongst strangers anymore. There is no one asking

stranger how they are doing that day. How could you not notice these

things. As for a time frame, pick a date and look at the decrease of

pleasant ness from there on.