Next up: Advice to the Lovelorn?

Nov 27, 2016 | 0 comments

emily-postSo, first the mainstream media spent a year or so telling us what results to expect in the 2016 Presidential election.  They based their predictions upon polls and interviews and the best the conventional wisdom think-tankers had to offer.  They were wrong… oh so wrong.

Now – can you believe it?—they are giving us etiquette advice:  “How to Argue Fairly and Without Rancor (Hello, Thanksgiving!)” opined the New York Times.  The PBS NewsHour had a number of voices – some from their “NewsHour Family” – give advice on how we can talk to each other this year at the Thanksgiving table.  Unbelievable.

First of all, unless I am very much mistaken, the audience that the mainstream media reaches is not the audience that might need conversation pointers from Miss Manners.  And those who might… Actually, stop!  Who in the world needs a lecture about how to behave at the dinner table?  Whoever it might be, is sure as hell not going to listen to the pundits who got just about everything wrong over the past few months.

Bad enough that they are now trying to justify their miscalls.  But to patronize their audience by advising them on their Thanksgiving table conversations? OMG!

media-by-mcchesneyPerhaps these self-appointed arbiters of polite conversation should have visited a few of our homes, sat at our tables, listened to how we handled it.  There was no formula, I can guarantee you!  We muddled through – avoiding some topics, tippy-toeing around others and having a few righteous arguments about others.  It was already a given Mr. and Ms. M. Media, that we were with family and friends who go way beyond the political machinations of our country.  Do we feel strongly?  Yes!  But… it was Thanksgiving!  And, if we needed chiding or good advice, it certainly wasn’t the egg-all-over-your-face media we’d likely turn to.

I am reminded of my great aunt by marriage, Aunt Minette, who was a Home Economics major at Oregon State University back in the early 1900s – when it was still Corvallis College.  In the forties and fifties we always went to Aunt Minette and Uncle Will’s commodious San Francisco home for holiday dinners.

Mrs. T. W. Espy (Aunt Minette)

Mrs. T. W. Espy (Aunt Minette)

All the Bay Area relatives plus various strays would gather there and, shortly before the appointed dinner hour, Aunt Minette would quietly ask each of the women: “Have you planned your conversational gambits?” My mother was always so incensed – afterwards, of course, and never within Aunt Minette’s hearing.

“The idea!” Mom would fume.  “She must think that none of us has a brain in our heads!  Does she think we don’t know what appropriate table talk is?”  Well… Aunt Minette was a Home Ec major back in the olden days and a family member, besides.  Probably better credentials for giving holiday mealtime advice than even the most illustrious of award-winning journalists.

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