Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Costly Virtue of Politeness

It began here.
Yup, here on the Evantine Abbey blog.
And the project of saving Western Civilization from itself is done.
The Amazing Missus has both written four short chapters on basic manners and has added all the requisite commas to that which the Oracle wrote.

You are saying to yourself, "Self, how can I get a hold of 1 or 50 of these puppies?"
That is a problem. I can print them out myself complete with color card cover. I took the first one to FedEx/Kinkos for cutting and coil binding and they charged me $5 for a 8" plastic coil (which I like the best cuz it can lay flat). Heavens! The work is extremely valuable but add the $5 to the other costs of toner and paper and the "extreme value" registers as "excessive cost" to the man on the street. How would you possibly afford the fifty copies you want?
I would like to offer this contribution to Western Civilization for sale but I don't know how to keep the costs down to a reasonable level. Comments with "helpful" ideas (not involving becoming a Calvinist) are encouraged. I have already looked into buying the dang machine that will do this magical binding but they run between $400-600. A lot of you would have to order your 50 copies lickety split. I figure the final cost should look like $5 retail. No ones face would turn ashen when looking at a 5.5"x8.5" spiral bound, 60 page, color covered booklet and hearing me say "That'll be $5, please".

Some of you who are new to the meanderings of the Oracle are wondering what the above "actually is". It is 30 one page observations/arguments/philosophies following the 30 Rules for a Gentleman and a Lady (15 each). The seminars I hold at the Big Haus called The Mojo Oracles (for men) and The Tao of Eve (for women) ended up producing certain observations based on my study of Lord Chesterfield and Balthazar Castiglione. I wrote the Rules a few years back to help the observations of a "gentled condition" fit the seminar format. As requests for explanations continued, I, in the last couple of years, wrote one page defenses for each.
Also, having run a boarding house for college students for 27 years my wife and I were acutely aware of the bad manners that were the norm in the middle class. We added chapters at the end on attire, conversation, public behavior and dining to address the most basic, foundational manners. We even included pictures to distinguish between how a lower primate holds a spoon and how a human being would do the same.
I gave a talk at the Society for Classical Learning conference last year in Greensboro to great response and a year later (at this year's conference) people were asking me for materials. I knew a single affordable volume was needed and something schools or individuals could use or give away. Today we have a product but we are working on "affordable".


Austin Storm said...

I don't know how this squares with affordability, but does print-on-demand the way it should be done. And then they'd be perfect-bound.

Also, you ought to become a Calvinist.

Thomas Banks said...

As per your title: Is politeness actually a virtue? If so, it is one of which Christ possessed precious little.

Thomas Banks said...

Do you think it might be better described as being a subjective or personal, as opposed to actual virtue?