An Appreciation of Miss Manners


Judith Martin

I have a lot of questions. I have to get my answers somewhere. One of my favorite answer people is Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners. I’ve been desolate for the last few weeks, when she seemed to have disappeared from my Chicago Tribune on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. The Trib has an unsettling habit of letting features I enjoy simply lapse with little to no explanation. A couple of weeks ago they posted a tiny announcement that went something like this:

Beginning this week, the Miss Manners column will be a joint effort by Judith Martin, her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin.”

Then I saw nothing of Miss Manners for what felt like forever. It may only have been a month, but I was certain that Miss Manners was gone from my life. I assumed the Tribune had decided that if Miss Manners could  not handle the duties of her column without the aid of her children, she would have to go. I had visions of her in a parka, set adrift on an ice floe. I felt bereft, until I realized that Miss Manners is a syndicated columnist. I need not be the the mercy of the Trib. In one form or another, she was still

“…helping to convey the importance of etiquette and good manners with wit and wisdom. She has advised millions on how to treat others with dignity and respect.”

(from Judith Martin’s National Humanities Medal, awarded in 2005)

I was poised to do an exhaustive internet search so that I could find a way to continue to read her column.

Huzzah! She magically reappeared in my Tribune today! My despair has given way to jubilation…tempered with caution, of course. What’s to keep the Chicago Tribune from withholding her without explanation once again? I can think of nothing.

I’m relieved, however, that she has a helpful website that provides links to where she may be read online. I never know when the Trib will turn arbitrary and capricious and stop publishing her column altogether.

Viva Miss Manners! Long may she shine as a beacon of civility in this benighted world.


4 thoughts on “An Appreciation of Miss Manners

    1. Catherine Brennan

      Glad we agree on this, J.T. One of the things I like best about Miss Manners is that for her, manners have to do with doing one’s best to bring the greatest comfort to all concerned. She’s definitely not just about which fork to use!


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