This was apparently one of the texts that George Washington based his behavior on.
The rules have in common a focus on other people rather than the narrow focus of our own self-interests that we find so prevalent today. Fussy or not, they represent more than just manners. They are the small sacrifices that we should all be willing to make for the good of all and the sake of living together.
Cursing / cussing / swearing
A thought I've had is that cursing is the verbal equivalent of wearing a t-shirt.
My thinking on shyness is that it's an instinct that keeps people from making social mistakes that could get them killed. I've noticed that I'm shy with people who I don't know, but once I have an idea of how they react, what they're sensitive about, etc. then I feel a lot more relaxed and can joke around with them.
I used to be shy. Then I started forcing myself not to act shy. Got over it. Like anything else, practice.
I spent my first year traveling reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances and making myself talk to at least one interesting stranger every day. Best thing I ever did.
I still talk to random people, have met some great friends that way.
Manners toward marginalized groups / 'microaggressions' / political correctness
After thinking about this for a while, at the moment I think that the idea of trying to get rid of subtly-hurtful behavior is a good one.
On the other hand, I don't have a view of the big-picture of all of the problems society faces, so I don't have an opinion on whether the attention this issue is getting is the best use of society's time.
I suspect that the cause of the controversy is that it is painful for people to change their behavior, and so basically what is being asked is for the microaggressors to feel more pain than they otherwise would (while changing their behavior) so that the recipients of the microaggressions can feel less pain than they otherwise would.
When I was in grade school I picked up the habit of referring to things as "retarded" when I wanted to say that they were "nonsensical", and I feel good about having removed that habit from my behavior.
At the moment I wonder if the term 'microaggression' is the best term possible, as (to me at least) the term 'aggression' has the connotation of being done consciously, while it seems that these are generally behaviors that are done almost reflexively, and are often(?) not done with the intention of causing harm.
On the other hand, I haven't spent time trying to think of a better term, so that may very well be a better term than anything I could come up with.
There's nothing wrong with words in-and-of-themselves. There shouldn't be a cultural ban on saying these words, regardless of the context. It's the context that makes a word good or bad.
I don't like euphamisms, because they conceal reality, they hide the truth.
English is loaded with euphamisms, because Americans have trouble facing the truth.
It gets worse with every generation.
Example: PTSD was referred to as "shell shock" in the WW1: simple, short. In WW2 it was called "battle fatigue": four syllables. In the Korean War was called "operational exhaustion": eight syllables. In the Vietnam War it was called "post-traumatic stress disorder": eight syllables. "The pain is completely buried under jargon." That language takes the life out of life.
He then lists more examples of euphamisms.
"toilet paper" became "bathroom tissue".
"sneakers" became "running shoes".
"false teeth" "dental appliances"
"medicine" became "medication"
"information" became "directory assistance"
car crashes automobile accidents
partly cloudy became partly sunny
motels became motor lodges
house lodges became "mobile homes"
used cars became previously owned transportation
"room service" became guest room dining
"constipation" became "occasional irregularity"
hospital became "wellness center"
"poor people" used to occupy "slums", now "the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities"
airlines say they "preboard those in need of special assistance"
he talks about terms that refer to the handicapped. He says there's nothing wrong with the term "cripple" in and of itself.
While he was saying this, it made me think, "Maybe one reason to make the terms for these people longer is to make it harder for other people to turn the term into a slur."
A sampling of language and behaviors called “microaggressions,” provided to Clark University students, that universities are urging students to avoid.
“You are a credit to your race.”
Showing surprise when a “feminine” woman says she is a lesbian.
When a nonwhite faculty member is mistaken for a service worker.
Telling a nonwhite woman, “I would have never guessed that you were a scientist.”
“What are you? You are so interesting looking.”
“Of course he’ll get tenure, even though he hasn’t published much — he’s black.”
“What’s an environmental microaggression?” Ms. Marlowe asked the auditorium of about 525 new students. She gave an example. “On your first day of class, you enter the chemistry building and all of the pictures on the wall are scientists who are white and male,” she said. “If you’re a female, or you just don’t identify as a white male, that space automatically shows that you’re not represented.”
A nonverbal microaggression could be when a white woman clutches her purse as a black or Latino person approaches.
Another subset of microaggression is known as the microinvalidation, which includes comments suggesting that race plays a minor role in life’s outcomes, like “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough.”
Somewhere around 22:30 Thiel brings up this idea of his that the term "the developed world" suggests that there's no more progress to be made, and that that's harmful; it leads to complacency about making more progress.
I just thought, "Oh, that might make a good example to bring up with someone to help them understand what the 'microaggression' thing is all about."
Explanation: Dominant cultures copying the cultural innovations of non-dominant cultures makes it more difficult for the latter to use those innovations to raise themselves up (ie improve the average financial situation of their members and the status of the culture as a whole). So basically the dominant culture is being a copycat.
In the famous 1976 case Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, the late Beatles member George Harrison was found to have infringed on The Chiffon's hit "He's So Fine" with his own solo song "My Sweet Lord" in part because The Chiffons song was so popular that there was little doubt whether Harrison had been exposed to it. The judge concluded that even though there was no evidence that "He's So Fine" had been on Harrison's radar, he had likely heard the song and internalized it "subconsciously."
I was reading this article and thought about the anecdote in "Thinking Strategically" about two sailboats in a race, where the boat in the lead should just copy whatever the boat behind it does and it will be able to maintain its lead if the wind changes, whereas if doesn't copy the other boat, that difference may lead to the other boat taking the lead if the wind changes. You see the same kind of behavior in the music industry, where the people at the top can copy whatever new sound is becoming popular or whatever new idea might lead to someone else becoming popular, and thus maintain their position over those competitors. And "cultural appropriation" in the sense of "writing songs in the style of people who belong to another culture" (like "Elvis copying black rock-and-roll singers") could be a way that a dominant group maintains a privileged position over a less-privileged group.
This relates a story of how Conan O'Brien's writers stole a few jokes from a guy on Twitter. This doesn't show cultural appropriation, but it shows how someone in a privileged position can maintain that position by copying the inventions of others.
He's got a blaccent that's obviously fake. I'm not convinced it's bad for him to be using it, but it would definitely seem to fall within the realm of this argument.
One thing I'm noticing while watching his videos is that he definitely seems to purposely drop hints in his videos that would lead the user to think he's black. I'm not sure what to make of it; I don't understand why he would do that.
The gossip argument
Explanation: Dominant cultures that draw attention to the old / no-longer-in-use cultural traditions of non-dominant cultures may perpetuate unrealistic / unflattering conceptions of the current stateof those non-dominant cultures. So the dominant culture is kind-of 'gossiping' about the non-dominant culture.
Example: If the majority of Americans are not very familiar with the culture of Mexicans or the Japanese, and then you have a rock tour that features geishas and guys in sombreros, that may lead people to think that those practices reflect the current state of those cultures.