Tuesday, October 06, 2020

I, Miss Manners

You gotta love the Associated Press.

Today the AP published a brief piece headlined "How Do I Politely Ask Someone To Wear A Mask?", with the same genteel delivery that one might ask a shopper not to bruise the bananas in the produce aisle.

From the article:

"'Experts say you should make the request discreetly because shaming the person could put them on the defensive. If they feel violated by the way you approach them, they are much less likely to make a change,' said Jan Kavookjian, a behavioral scientist at Auburn University."

Call me contrary, but behaviorally speaking, the person not wearing a mask in public at this stage of an ongoing nightmare of a pandemic is NOT THE ONE BEING VIOLATED.

How discreetly do you suppose Dr. Kavookjian would address someone swinging a machete in a public place? I mean, in one hand you've got COVID-19, in the other you have a machete—both can leave you with long-term organ damage or kill you outright. Shall we be careful not to shame the person with the machete?

Also, if you're "making the request discreetly," doesn't that assume you're doing so quietly, so no one else hears? As a matter of verbal communication, how close do you have to get to an unmasked person, in public, to make a discreet request? IDK, BUT I BET IT'S CLOSER THAN SIX FEET.

Never mind, reading on:

"Public health experts say masks are key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. But asking a stranger to put one on could still result in a volatile situation, since they may not be easily persuaded."

Point of order: isn't it the stubborn, maskless person creating the potentially volatile situation? If by "volatile" we mean, "prospectively killing or maiming the people around them," then, yes! Yes, they are.

In which case, isn't AP putting the burden of politesse on the wrong party? In a court of law, if one swings a machete in an uncontrolled manner and cleaves an innocent bystander, who's legally liable? 


Moving on:

"Rather than risk a confrontation, experts say it might be best to steer clear of people without masks in public if you can."

This seems like a good time to define a word, and today's word is: sociopath.

noun, Psychiatry.

"a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience."

So, over here we have Person A, say, grocery shopping, wearing a mask to mitigate the risk of contracting or unknowingly spreading a highly contagious and proven-deadly disease. Over here, we have Sociopath B, in the same store, swinging a machete.

"Experts say" rather than reward and reinforce the socially conscious and morally responsible behavior of Person A, s/he should clear a path for Sociopath B to continue their crime spree, unburdened by shame or responsibility.

Random observation: enabling and reinforcing undesirable behavior rarely leads to desirable behavior. 

Back to the AP, in closing:

"According to etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, if you do find yourself interacting with someone who is not wearing a mask, you might say something like, 'For your safety and mine, I would feel much more comfortable if we were both wearing masks.'”

Before I say something like that, I'd like to see the data on successful use of passive-aggressive sentences in a potentially volatile situation. Sadly, AP and Gottsman offer none. 

But it occurs to me that many, many people across the country HAVE tried the "polite response" for months now.

Which may be why 210,000 formerly polite people are now dead people.

Maybe it's time we tried something different.

Vote. Like you're not a sociopath with a machete.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Every time I see a Trump-hole talk about the Prez-hole and their support of him I always think about this. They're always so glad he protects their freedoms which translates as freedom to have a tantrum anytime asks you to make a slight conciliation for the greater good. Everyone has been so programmed to be so PC in this country that we're meant to dance around these toddler humans. One Facebook example: when a woman proudly said she's voting for T-ass for protection of freedoms and that the stock market was so good for her. I couldn't help myself. I know I'm not supposed to engage with dingbats, I know I'm supposed to ask myself if the person can even understand the concept. But I had to. I replied to Dumb-sphincter: "Why yes, it is so important that it's all good for you Karen Shrugsoffothers, that's exactly how JFK put it in his famous speech. Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for Karen Shrugsoffallothers. Yeah you." Arrrrrrrrrrg with the deplorables.