Quote of the Day

From the character of the Bursar in Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue:

It may be proper to be vilely rude to one’s equals, but I’ve always considered it the worst of tastes to be uncivil to servants.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

5 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. “OK I understand, but will you please connect me to someone who’s paid enough that I can shout at them with a clear conscience.”

  2. Hmm. Keith’s post reminds me of the evolution of the word “condescending.” It used to be a positive character trait: describing people who treated their inferiors as human beings. Now, of course, it is used for people who treat human beings as their inferiors.

    That’s one thing I’ve always liked about Japanese society. In many respects, subordination is a role, to be assumed enthusiastically from 9-5 and put down thereafter. It is not a trait, except for out-groups such as Koreans and burakumin. I think it is a bit different here. We still pretend that subordination does not exist at all, while we’re increasingly petrifying into a caste system. But as long as William Henry Gates III consents to be called “Bill”, it’s somehow okay.

    1. Thanks for this bit of etymology which was unknown to me but explains uses of the word in 19th century literature that until now I haven’t understood.

  3. I’m reminded of: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”

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