November 19, 2004

Manners Make The Man

Enoch Soames, Esq., gives us a short excerpt today from a treatise on the role of politeness in protecting society from itself. This prompted me to remember again one of the lines of Alec Guiness's Prince Feisal from "Lawrence of Arabia":


For Lawrence, mercy is a passion. For me, it is a matter of good manners. I leave it to you to decide which is the more reliable motivation.

As a firm opponent of Rousseau's notion of the "Natural Man" and as a long time warrior in the cause against "letting it all hang out," "doing your own thing" and "whatever turns you on," I think there is much in this.

Posted by Robert at November 19, 2004 10:06 AM | TrackBack

Heinlien said it best:

"Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw san into machinery that does not work too well at best."

Posted by: John at November 19, 2004 11:48 AM

So many great scenes in Lawrence. Great cast --Alec Guiness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Peter O'Toole, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains -- I mean, they don't make'em like this any more. There just aren't actors like this anymore, never mind the cinematography, script, etc.

And let's not forget the Jose Ferrer cameo -- ugh! -- as if I could.

Posted by: DWC at November 19, 2004 02:01 PM

"It's my manner, sir".

Posted by: Enoch Soames at November 19, 2004 02:17 PM

Ferrer's cough gets creepier every time I watch this film.

On the other hand, I love the soft impudence of O'Toole's delivery of that "It's my manner, Sir" line. Makes you want to smack him with a brick.

Posted by: Robert the LB at November 19, 2004 02:40 PM

"We can't all be lion tamers."

Posted by: DWC at November 19, 2004 06:55 PM
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