“Manners” and “Family Life” Reflected in “Changing Times” and “Polite Society” by Gary S. Smolker

Modern History of Civility, Propriety & Taboo Words in American Culture

Below is a copy of a string of emails I exchanged with some friends over the past few days on the interrelated topics of manners, the way people speak and propriety.

The most recent email is at the top.

The first email is at the bottom.

I have deleted the name of the woman Bob refers to in the copy of his email to me which appears below.

Polite Society and Civility in Thought and Practice in Changing Times

A friend of mine has a big bowl in the entryway of her home.

She requires everyone who comes to visit her at her home to put their cell phone in that bowl before proceeding to the living room or the dinning room in her house.

Family Life in America in Changing Times

A higher percentage of women age 18 to 24 lived with their parents or other relatives in 2014 (36.4%) than at any time in data going back to 1940, a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data found.

Among young men, the 42% living with their parents is the highest since World War II.

Just 24% of young women were married in 2014 vs. 40% in 1990.

Harvesting and Freezing Eggs, Using Sperm from Sperm Banks & Hiring Surrogates

Young wealthy unmarried women are having their eggs harvested and frozen to be used at a later time in their lives when they are “ready” to have a child.

Busy professional women who are too busy to be pregnant, women who don’t want to have their bodies become “disfigured” by pregnancy and/or by giving birth to a child are hiring a surrogate to carry their fertilized egg to term.

Women who want to have a child in spite of not being married and/or in spite of having an impotent sexual partner incapable of getting them pregnant are obtaining sperm from sperm banks to fertilize their eggs.





E-mail this morning (November 2, 2015) from Gary to Bob:



I see things are changing, too.

I saw the new movie “Steve Jobs.”

I briefly “tried” to discuss the story told in the movie “Steve Jobs” – the life Steve Jobs lived as portrayed in that movie – with two women.

My conversation with one of them veered off her telling me she still sets her dinner table with fine crystal and china and eats in the dinning room in her home.

She brought this up as part of a broad conversation and discussion she initiated on the topic of many families not eating dinner together.

I remember my friend Jason’s mother serving Jennifer and me tea out of a silver tea pot at “tea time” about fifty years ago.

I have a friend who gets dressed up and has dinner by candlelight every night with his wife, when they eat at home.

I have another friend who goes through an elaborate tea ceremony, as a matter of the way he and his wife live, every time I have dinner at his house.

We have a lot to discuss.


—–Original Message—–
From: Bob
To: Gary Smolker <gsmolker@aol.com>
Sent: Mon, Nov 2, 2015 7:13 am
Subject: Re: Recruiting Your Expressive Faculties to their Fullest: In Re: Narrative Vividness

There is a strong argument that our culture has been coarsening since the fifties. As I am old enough to remember the fifties very well, my own observations support this. When I was in my teens it was extremely rare and shocking to hear the vulgar four letter words come from a woman.  Today it is common to hear those words used by women at the dinner table!  Women’s lib and radical fem has certainly freed the restraints on language of a “polite” society.
The culture has embraced this coarsened path for better or worse, as have I.  Still, it is sad to notice that something has been lost, left behind in this good and doubtless march to liberation.
The culture may be coarser, but likely better in sum.  As a fine example, I note our mutual friend YOUNG WOMAN’S NAME describing herself as a “badass woman”.  She is, and I love that she is able to be.


Sent from my iPad

On Nov 1, 2015, at 7:43 AM, Gary Smolker <gsmolker@aol.com> wrote:


The Use of Words is a beautiful skill.


—–Original Message—–
From: Gary Smolker <gsmolker@aol.com>
To: A Limited Number of Friends
Sent: Sun, Nov 1, 2015 7:35 am
Subject: Recruiting Your Expressive Faculties to their Fullest: In Re: Narrative Vividness

My best guess is Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover knew/know “piss” is a [mildly] offensive taboo word so they  purposefully use[d] the word piss to signify their disgust with the person they were talking about.


At the time (1948) Norman Mailer wrote his true to life novel about World War II (The Naked and The Dead) it was unacceptable to use the word FUCK.

Mailer knew it would be a betrayal of his depiction of the soldiers to have them speak without swearing.

As a compromise to the sensibilities of the day he had them use the pseudo-epithet fug.

When Dorthy Parker met him she said: “So you’re the man who doesn’t know how to spell FUCK.”

—–Original Message—–
From: Friend
To: gsmolker <gsmolker@aol.com>
Sent: Sun, Nov 1, 2015 3:07 am
Subject: Re: Narrative Vividness

Why were they so fixated on piss?
In a message dated 10/31/2015 10:23:44 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, gsmolker@aol.com writes:
By the way, Lyndon Johnson had a way with words when it came to summing up people he distrusted, including a Kennedy aide (“He wouldn’t know how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.”) and so did J. Edgar Hoover (“I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.”)

Copyright © 2015 Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on November 2, 2015, in Polite Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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