Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners

Recorded July 18th, 2020

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Judith Martin
Saturday, July 18, 2020, 4pm pacific

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Judith Martin’s most recent book, Minding Miss Manners in an Era of Fake Etiquette, is a modern guide to modern manners in which Miss Manners guides you through these turbulent times with her timeless wisdom and archly acid wit.

Also known as Miss Manners, Judith has made tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette which have not escaped official notice. During a White House ceremony In November, 2005, she was awarded the nation’s highest honor in the humanities, the National Humanities Medal, in recognition of her contributions to society as America’s foremost etiquette columnist and author.

Judith’s “Miss Manners” newspaper column — distributed thrice-weekly by the Universal UClick and carried in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad — has chronicled the continuous rise and fall of American manners since 1978. Since 1996, she has been writing an additional “Miss Manners” column for the Microsoft Network, and she is a contributor to the Financial Times.

In addition to Minding Miss Manners in an Era of Fake Etiquette, Judith has also published Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding — co-authored with her daughter, Jacobina Martin — a manifesto against today’s monster weddings that explains how to plan nuptials that are charming, contemporary, affordable, and yet excruciatingly correct.

In addition, she has written No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice; Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (Freshly Updated); Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change); Miss Manners’ Guide to Domestic Tranquility: The Authoritative Manual for Every Civilized Household, However Harried; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: The Right Thing to Say; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: Communication; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: Eating; Miss Manners Rescues Civilization from Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing and Other Lapses in Civility; Miss Manners On Weddings; Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium; Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children; Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, and two novels, Style and Substance and Gilbert. She is also the author of Common Courtesy: In Which Miss Manners Solves the Problem that Baffled Mr. Jefferson.

Born in Washington, D.C., and reared there and in foreign capitals, Judith is a graduate of Wellesley College and has been awarded honorary degrees. She and her husband, Robert Martin, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington D.C. They have two perfect children, Nicholas Ivor Martin, who is Director of Operations at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Jacobina Helen Martin, who teaches improv comedy at Second City in Chicago.

“If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.”

– Miss Manners

Get ready to join Judith Martin aka “Miss Manners” in conversation, Saturday July 18th.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation.

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any that match your interests.
Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 9

    votes

    What is the correct way, in your opinion, to confront hate speech, interpersonally and in larger group settings?

  • 8

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    What is the largest way in which manners and etiquette have changed across generations? What advice would you give to Millenials and Gen Z on the topic of civility and etiquette?

  • 5

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    What is your take on political correctness? What does it mean to you to be “politically correct” and what is its place in etiquette?

  • 4

    votes

    I am obviously not a young lady. What is a good come back to the person who addresses you as “young lady” ?

  • 3

    votes

    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

  • 3

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    What do you recommend to do when a longterm friend has dropped you during quarantine? You are single and don’t have a family. She is married and has children. You feel very hurt that she has made no effort to reach out or “be a friend” while she knows you are alone. You go back 30 years and don’t have confrontational conversations so this is uncomfortable.

  • 3

    votes

    How has life in a pandemic impacted your writing and/or perspective on etiquette?

  • 3

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    Can you please address proper etiquette surrounding the use of technology in social settings?
    By the way, I belong to the Commonwealth Club of California. You spoke to us many years ago, and are my favorite club speaker ever! 😀

  • 2

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    What is your biggest pet peeve?

  • 2

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    At a social occasion, another guest who is an acquaintance of years takes it for granted, in a group forum, one is in agreement with his political views, which you abhor. How might one extricate oneself with as little harm done as possible?

  • 2

    votes

    I’m extremely sensitive to synthetic scents. Is there a way to politely ask friends and colleagues not to wear perfume and cologne around me?

  • 2

    votes

    I am fortunate to be able to afford state-of-the art hearing aids, which I wear most of my waking hours. However, audiologists will tell you even those devices do not replicate perfect hearing, and occasionally I must ask for something to be repeated. Rather than increasing the volume a bit, turning in my direction, or uncovering their mouths, those responding often convey obvious annoyance and condescendence by speaking extremely slowly with exaggerated syllables (eye-rolling optional). An attempt at continued conversation creates a repetitive cycle as the speaker refuses to adjust. How does one politely enlighten those who treat my hearing impairment as a great inconvenience to them–or worse, appear to equate it with feeble-mindedness or senility?

  • 2

    votes

    It seems these days that young people no longer call their parents-in-law “Mom” and “Dad”, but rather by their first name. This somehow seems impolite, or at least cold, to me. What do you think?

  • 2

    votes

    I am a widow and new to the electronic dating scene – sites such as Match.com. If I am communicating and meeting up with more than one “match” is it appropriate to let everyone know I am seeing more than one person, or is it like dating in the past where who you saw and when was simply your business?

  • 2

    votes

    How can we stop the use of “you guys” addressing mixed genders?

  • 1

    votes

    What’s the best way to diffuse a power struggle with a bossy/controlling friend?

  • 0

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    This isn’t a question, but a thank you. Many years ago I was on the Today Show and very nervous, as it was my first time on TV. I was in the Green Room and they asked me to take off my clothes to iron them, which made me more nervous. Judith Martin was also in the Green Room, and said to me, “I always have my clothes ironed at the Today Show,” which immediately put me at ease. Now that’s good manners! Thank you. Laura Fraser

  • 0

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    We now are trapped at home for anyone who wants to text us. What can we do ? We don’t always want to answer.

  • 0

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    Do you remember?
    Many years ago my mother had a small jewelry store in Rockville. You came in one day looking for berry spoons, I think. My mother showed you some antique spoons that she had. You explained that no, these were not berry spoons; they were, in fact, some other kind. My mother jokingly said, “Who do you think you are? Miss Manners?” You said, Well, as a matter of fact …” 🙂

  • 0

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    This is another appreciation for your good manners when I was a young Antioch College intern on the WP Women’s Page in the Fall of 1967. You were covering the White House and diplomatic events (Lynda Bird Johnson’s wedding I remember). At your generous invitation, I tagged along with you to a few diplomatic events- adding a whole other dimension to my experience as a lowly copy girl on the Weddings and Engagements section. Thank you!

  • 0

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    I’m at my wit’s end with people — at the risk of “shaming” and/or confronting people which would not be the sought after outcomes or experience, how in the world do the compliant mask wearing persons encourage non-mask-wearing idiots, oh sorry, people, to wear freaking masks? And what, pray tell, do mask-wearers do with all the deep resentment and anger we are beginning to feel towards said people who are putting others’ health at risk and succeeding in keeping our country shut down…?

  • 0

    votes

    Is it now okay to lick your knife or take bread with your hand to soak up gravy?

  • 0

    votes

    How do we respond to an adult child who speaks rudely to us?

  • 0

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    How can we encourage more people to recognize and implement manners in their daily lives?