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October 27, 2005


Via several other bloggers, I see this neat feature that allows Crescat readers to create a map of where they are from. You can put your pin in the map here-- pseudonymously, if you prefer.

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The unbearable rudeness of Prudie

After the whole shakedown wedding debacle I no longer read Slate's Prudie, but occasionally a Friend of Crescat sends along a link that is so egregious it cannot go unremarked. Here's a recent exchange:

Hello, Prudence!

I am an animal lover and animal-rights advocate. I will not in any way support factory farming. This means that any meat or dairy I eat must come from a free-range/all-natural market. Almost all my friends and family (including in-laws) shop at regular grocery stores and serve factory farmed meat (shudder) at their events. Everyone has been aware of my feelings on the matter for many years. So I'm wondering, is it acceptable or insulting to bring along my own main course, such as chicken breast, to a dinner?

—Free Range for Me, Please

Dear Free,

Go ahead. Your beliefs are as important to you as religious dietary rules are to others. You should, however, if any "outsiders" are present, explain your convictions so that no one gets the idea the hostess is a rotten cook. Years ago, in fact, when Carol Channing was following a macrobiotic diet, she would show up in the best restaurants and fanciest homes with a little brown bag with her meal therein. And clearly you have paid attention to the dictum of the late Gaylord Hauser: "You are what you eat."

—Prudie, gastronomically

No, no, no. Leaving aside the dangerousness of What-Would-Carol-Channing-Do? as a dictum of etiquette, Prudie is wrong on many levels. She is right that religious beliefs and moral beliefs count the same, but wrong to think that either entitles one to pack a sack lunch to a dinner party. She is also wrong to think that this is made any better by explaining to others that one's moral superiority comes before communal etiquette, and wrong to think that this has anything to do with being what one ingests.

As Miss Manners would say-- eat a sandwich beforehand.

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When Harriet Miers was nominated, I wrote:

I confidently predict that she will be confirmed by at least 65 senators, and take the bench within two months.

I was wrong. She withdrew her name from consideration this morning. We will have more talk of this.

[I cross-posted this at Originalisms.]

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