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Author Topic: Bush, Webb have chilly moment over Iraq war
pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Why scheme and script for an exchange that may or may not ever be repeated?

In other words, what I'm asking is: "Why do you think your idea is more likely than a simple social question?"

pinqy

Because the president's words matter, whether he is speaking to a group or an individual, in public or in private, or whether his comments are "on-the-record," or off-the-record." Hint: The president is always, always, on-the-record.

Look, the president, or any politician who meets thousands of people, cannot be expected to remember the names and details of everyone he meets. (Although I know some who do, and it's amazing to watch.) That's why they have handlers and background people always with them. Having watched it a number of times with other people, it would go something like this:

"OK, Mr. President, this is Amy Klobuchar, the new senator from Miinnesota. She goes by Amy. Her husband is John Bessler, and they have a daughter named, Abigail. She lives in Minneapolis and has written a book about Hubert Humphrey. Her father, Jim Klobuchar, is an author and retired columnist for the Star Tribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota.

(President welcomes her to the Senate, talks about how difficult it must be to write a book, jokes about how tough it is to raise a daughter, asks about her father and how much he enjoys reading the Star Tribune when he gets up north.)

The next guy, Mr. President, is James Webb, the new senator from Virginia. He's a former secretary of the Navy, has written a number of books and produced the movie Rules of Engagement, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. He's married to a Vietnamese woman, Hong Le Webb, and speaks fluent Vietnamese. He's got four children, Amy, Sarah, Jimmy, and Julia. Jimmy is a Marine serving in Iraq, but that's a touchy subject with him.

(President demands to know about Jimmy the Marine, referring to him as a "boy.")

Pogue

I agree with all that, I didn't think that was in question, although I still don't see how "How's your boy?" is a demand. But that is not what it seemed to me that Sara was saying at all. That's not "calculated" nor "scripted." She claimed that the intent was to set up a good scene in case there was an interview. Are you also claiming that when briefed the President and/or his aids specifically thought about future interviews of the candidates and hoped they say something nice?

pinqy

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I agree with all that, I didn't think that was in question, although I still don't see how "How's your boy?" is a demand. But that is not what it seemed to me that Sara was saying at all. That's not "calculated" nor "scripted." She claimed that the intent was to set up a good scene in case there was an interview. Are you also claiming that when briefed the President and/or his aids specifically thought about future interviews of the candidates and hoped they say something nice?

pinqy

I quit. He's impossible.

--------------------
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pinqy
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You didn't say
quote:
Exactly what I said was the motivation -- Webb would mention Bush asking about his son in an interview -- is just what happened.
? or
quote:
Webb would talk to a reporter some where down the line and say that the President asked about his son, presumably making the President look like a compassionate, caring person.
Funny, I though those were your posts.

pinqy

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Are you also claiming that when briefed the President and/or his aids specifically thought about future interviews of the candidates and hoped they say something nice?

pinqy

Of course they did. They want to make sure the president doesn't slip up and say something stupid, insincere, or rude and insensitive. In this case, they clearly failed.

Pogue

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
It's not in the post you've been accusing me of ignoring, so I don't know why you're bringing it up.

It was from the first of my posts that I've been saying that you've been ignoring.

quote:
Because there are always exceptions and of course there are circumstances where a polite question would be rude.
An answer at last! Now we could actually continue the conversation that you allege I had a right to.

As you agree that context is important, and in your post above you've just admitted that Bush would most likely have just been informed by his handlers that Webb's son was a sensitive subject, can you not see how bringing it up could be rude, or at the very least, tactless?

quote:
Why do you think "How's your boy?" is generally a rude question?
Can you quote where I've said that?

quote:
If not then it is up to you, as Sara and Pogue attempted, to show why in this case it is rude.
Because Bush was bringing up a sensitive subject with someone that is far from a friend. A sensitive subject should not be the subject of small talk. Any etiquette guide will tell you this.

quote:
I never said it can never be rude in any context.
And I quote:

quote:
No, I don't believe asking someone how his son is is rude in any way shape or form.
quote:
But it also seems rhetorical, in that you already expect aparticular answer. I could be wrong, I'm just saying what my first reading was.
So why not answer it after I'd told you that it wasn't rhetorical?

quote:
My only reading, by the way, until you bullied me for the 5th time.
Well, if that's the only way to get you to answer the bloody question.

Incidentally, does that mean that if Bush had repeated his question to Webb on an internet forum, then it would have been not only rude, but "bullying"? Is it the fact that he did in in person that makes it not only not bullying, but polite?

Those aren't rhetorical questions, either.

Which reminds me of another non-rhetorical question of mine that you didn't answer. If Webb had simply ignored Bush, would that have been polite? Would it have been polite if he'd said that he thought Bush's questions were rhetorical?

Again, those aren't rhetorical questions. They're real questions that I'd like you to answer.

quote:
How would you respond if you asked a simple question and the person rudely responded with a political statement?
I'd like to think I was tactful enough to avoid using sensitive subjects as small talk. However, if I had inadvertently done so, I would probably apologise.

quote:
It's not. But that's not the post I was referring to.
I've been referring to all of the posts of mine that you've been ignoring. Ignoring one isn't any more impolite than ignoring another.

quote:
No, it's bullying to whine every few posts how I didn't answer your questions.
Surely it's either bullying or it's whining? If you're going to resort to hurling insults, at least pick one and stick with it, rather than trying to use two contradictory ones at the same time.

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
It's not in the post you've been accusing me of ignoring, so I don't know why you're bringing it up.

It was from the first of my posts that I've been saying that you've been ignoring.
Now I know you never mentioned specific posts. Sorry I can't read your mind.

quote:
quote:
Because there are always exceptions and of course there are circumstances where a polite question would be rude.
An answer at last! Now we could actually continue the conversation that you allege I had a right to.

As you agree that context is important, and in your post above you've just admitted that Bush would most likely have just been informed by his handlers that Webb's son was a sensitive subject, can you not see how bringing it up could be rude, or at the very least, tactless?

Gee, an answer to a question I ALREADY ANSWERED. And, ummm no. I did not admit that Bush "would most likely have just been informed by his handlers that Webb's son was a sensitive subject." I agreed that Bush would have received some briefing on each person. But I don't know, you don't know, Pogue doesn't know that anyone said, or even likely said that merely mentioning Webb's son was a "touchy subject." I don't even know if that's true. It's true in the context of reporters in interviews, but does that mean that no one is allowed to ask Webb how his son is? No, it just does not seem likely to me that it would occur to anyone that simply asking "How's your son?" would be met with rudeness.

quote:
quote:
Why do you think "How's your boy?" is generally a rude question?
Can you quote where I've said that?
Nope. So since you don't think it's generally a rude question, then do you think that Bush must have meant to be rude? That requires that he knew that Webb would take the question badly. But there's no evidence for that. And if you think he wasn't rude on purpose, but only tactless, is a rude response justified when someone is unintentionally rude? No matter how you slice it, unless the question could be considered generally rude, then Webb was more rude in his reply.

quote:
quote:
If not then it is up to you, as Sara and Pogue attempted, to show why in this case it is rude.
Because Bush was bringing up a sensitive subject with someone that is far from a friend. A sensitive subject should not be the subject of small talk. Any etiquette guide will tell you this.
If it's so sensitive, then why did Webb prominantly display his son's boots? Why did Webb use his son's participation? There's a huge difference between not wanting to discuss your son in a formal interview with reporters and facing a polite social phrase.

quote:
quote:
I never said it can never be rude in any context.
And I quote:

quote:
No, I don't believe asking someone how his son is is rude in any way shape or form.

That's not saying it can never be rude in any context.


quote:
Incidentally, does that mean that if Bush had repeated his question to Webb on an internet forum, then it would have been not only rude, but "bullying"? Is it the fact that he did in in person the factor that makes it not only not bullying, but polite?

No, but it means that if multiple times Bush approached Webb while he was talking to someone else and insisted he answer the question, that would be rude.


quote:
Which reminds me of another non-rhetorical question of mine that you didn't answer. If Webb had simply ignored Bush, would that have been polite? Would it have been polite if he'd said that he thought Bush's questions were rhetorical?
No it would not be polite. That you fail to see the difference between face to face meeting when you're only confronting one person and a message board says a lot about you, though.

quote:
quote:
How would you respond if you asked a simple question and the person rudely responded with a political statement?
I'd like to think I was tactful enough to avoid using sensitive subjects as small talk. However, if I had inadvertently done so, I would probably apologise.
You would apologize for someone being rude to you?

quote:
quote:
It's not. But that's not the post I was referring to.
I've been referring to all of the posts of mine that you've been ignoring. Ignoring one isn't any more impolite than ignoring another.
How the **** am I supposed to know? Am I supposed to keep a goddamn log of everyone of your posts and have a reminder to reply? Jesus. It doesn't seem that anything else would satisfy you.


pinqy

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
[QB]Now I know you never mentioned specific posts. Sorry I can't read your mind.

I'm under the assumption that you can read, though. And, if being told that you'd ignored three straight posts in a row that you wouldn't simply assume that the last one of those three was the only one.

quote:
[/b]Gee, an answer to a question I ALREADY ANSWERED.
No, you didn't.

quote:
I did not admit that Bush "would most likely have just been informed by his handlers that Webb's son was a sensitive subject."
When Pogue outlined procedure and included the information about Webb's son as part of that procedure, you said "I agree with all that, I didn't think that was in question[...]" When you said that you agreed with "all that", I assumed that you meant that you agreed with "all" of it.

quote:
No, it just does not seem likely to me that it would occur to anyone that simply asking "How's your son?" would be met with rudeness.
It was, apparently, part of his campaign. Any handlers worth their salt would have mentioned it.

I have, from the start, however, said that Bush might simply not have done his homework. That's just as rude.

quote:
Nope.
I didn't think so.

quote:
So since you don't think it's generally a rude question, then do you think that Bush must have meant to be rude?
You don't have to mean to be rude to be rude.

quote:
And if you think he wasn't rude on purpose, but only tactless, is a rude response justified when someone is unintentionally rude?
I've never said that Webb was justified. I've said, repeatedly, that they were both rude. You, however, have said that Bush wasn't rude at all, with anything that he said.

quote:
If it's so sensitive, then why did Webb prominantly display his son's boots? Why did Webb use his son's participation?
I am neither his advocate, nor his biographer. You'd have to ask him those questions.

quote:
That's not saying it can never be rude in any context.
Yes it is. That's what "in any way, shape or form" means. "In any way, shape or form" is a phrase that denotes an absolute. "I don't believe asking someone how his son is is rude in any way shape or form." is exactly equivalent to "I don't believe there is any way asking someone how his son is is rude". and "I belive there is no way asking someone how is son is is rude.", except that it's a statement that has even more emphasis on the lack of variation than simply saying "no way".

If, however, there is a context in which it is rude, then there is a "way" in which it is rude.

quote:
No, but it means that if multiple times Bush approached Webb while he was talking to someone else and insisted he answer the question, that would be rude.
"While he was talking to someone else"? When have I ever disrupted your PMs? Or are you trying to claim that this is a public forum on which you can only carry on one conversation with one person at a time?

And, as far as "multiple times" goes, you claimed that I had "bullied" you for the 5th time. I mentioned that you'd ignored 5 of my posts. I only noted this after the 3rd one that you ignored. Which means that you considered the first 3 where I was simply trying to engage you in conversation as "bullying". Either that or you were engaging in hyperbole. Neither of which makes your point something that's to be taken seriously.

quote:
No it would not be polite. That you fail to see the difference between face to face meeting when you're only confronting one person and a message board says a lot about you, though.
I'm not seeing a difference? Sorry, but are you the same man that's just accused me of coming up to you and interrupting a conversation with someone else? Be consistent.

quote:
You would apologize for someone being rude to you?
I would apologise if I had been inadvertently rude to someone, yes. It's called being polite.

quote:
How the **** am I supposed to know?
As I said, I was labouring under the impression that you could read.

quote:
Am I supposed to keep a goddamn log of everyone of your posts and have a reminder to reply?
You could, you know, simply reply to them when they're posted. Radical concept, I'm sure, but it's what a "conversation" is. And I do have a right to that, remember?

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:


I never said it can never be rude in any context.

And I quote:

quote:
No, I don't believe asking someone how his son is is rude in any way shape or form.
That's not saying it can never be rude in any context.

WTF? OK, you're goning to have to explain this one to me.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:


I never said it can never be rude in any context.

And I quote:

quote:
No, I don't believe asking someone how his son is is rude in any way shape or form.
That's not saying it can never be rude in any context.

WTF? OK, you're goning to have to explain this one to me.
It depends on what your definition of "is" is.

No, seriously! "Shape" and "form" are intrinsic qualities, whereas "context" is extrinsic. A thing can be said to "be" its shape and its form, but it cannot "be" its context.

Of course, this kind of reasoning can get one disbarred....

Silas

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pinqy
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"Way shape or form" has nothing to do with context. It's referring to the question itself. The question in itself is never rude. But in context with some extreme circumstances it can be used in a rude manner. This is true for other things. I'd say that a book is not a weapon in any way shape or form. But that doesn't mean it couldn't ever be used as one.

pinqy

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Richard W
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Given that the actual answer to the question "How's your son?" is apparently "He's in a bad situation because of your actions, I'm quite angry about this, and you presumably know that," then I'd say it was definitely tactless of Bush to ask in the first place.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he was being genuinely concerned, or trying to "build bridges" or something, then I don't think Webb's reply is rude. It's brusque, perhaps, but it's actually quite polite - he's deflecting the question because the actual answer would be rude. That seems reasonable etiquette to me.

If you're arguing that the reply is "inappropriately political", then the question was inappropriately political in the first place. I can see Webb giving the same reply to anybody who asked. I don't see how the reply can be political without the question also being political.

Bush's reply is definitely rude, though. If he was actually trying to be polite and wanted to repeat the question, he could have phrased it something like "But he's OK in himself?" or "It must be worrying for you - how is he coping?" or something.

"That's not what I asked" is the first definitely rude thing that was said. Webb was at least keeping a veneer of politeness, to me.

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
"Way shape or form" has nothing to do with context.

Of course it does. If there is a context in which something can be rude, then there is a way in which it can be rude.

It's what the word "way" means.

quote:
The question in itself is never rude.
Except in those circumstances where it is?

quote:
I'd say that a book is not a weapon in any way shape or form.
You'd be wrong then, too.

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Dara bhur gCara
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While I don't have an adult son, and hence this is purely hypothetical, I would probably be mildly ticked off if someone referred to my adult son with the expression "How's your boy?" even if my adult son wasn't dodging bombs and bullets in a dusty quagmire as a result of the questioner's vainglorious and pointless invasion of a country that posed little or no threat to the wider world.

I just find the term "boy" when referring to adults a bit off, as though the questioner is trying to exert superiority over the person in question.

Of course that's just me, and sure what do I know about politeness?

--------------------
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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Given that the actual answer to the question "How's your son?" is apparently "He's in a bad situation because of your actions, I'm quite angry about this, and you presumably know that," then I'd say it was definitely tactless of Bush to ask in the first place.

That might be true if Bush could have reasonably known that Webb's answer would be that. I don't think that's true. I don't think any other answer than "fine" which is the standard etiquette answer, could or should have been reasonably expected.

quote:
Giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he was being genuinely concerned, or trying to "build bridges" or something, then I don't think Webb's reply is rude. It's brusque, perhaps, but it's actually quite polite - he's deflecting the question because the actual answer would be rude. That seems reasonable etiquette to me.
You're saying that even if the question were not rude (genuine concern and trying to build bridges is not rude and the question is not rude on its face), the rude response was justified because the question was rude? I don't get it. Ignoring the actual question and replying with something unrelated (and the health of Webb's son has nothing to do with whether or not the troops should be removed from Iraq) is on its face rude.
quote:
If you're arguing that the reply is "inappropriately political", then the question was inappropriately political in the first place.
"How's your boy" is in no way political.


quote:
I can see Webb giving the same reply to anybody who asked. I don't see how the reply can be political without the question also being political.
And I can see Bush asking the same question of anyone who has a son. Since the answer is not related to the question, then of course the reply can be political without the question being political.

quote:
Bush's reply is definitely rude, though. If he was actually trying to be polite and wanted to repeat the question, he could have phrased it something like "But he's OK in himself?" or "It must be worrying for you - how is he coping?" or something.
The reply may or may not have been rude, depending on tone. It could well have been a polite reminder that Webb was breaking etiquette.

quote:
"That's not what I asked" is the first definitely rude thing that was said. Webb was at least keeping a veneer of politeness, to me.
So, seriously, if you asked someone how their son was and they replied that the governement was opressing black men, you would think that perfectly normal and apologize for asking such a rude question? I fail to see the difference.

pinqy

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
While I don't have an adult son, and hence this is purely hypothetical, I would probably be mildly ticked off if someone referred to my adult son with the expression "How's your boy?" ...
I just find the term "boy" when referring to adults a bit off, as though the questioner is trying to exert superiority over the person in question.

Of course that's just me, and sure what do I know about politeness?

It's cultural. In the Southern US, referring to an adult child as "boy" or "girl" is common and not considered derogatory or off.

pinqy

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Richard W
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Given that the actual answer to the question "How's your son?" is apparently "He's in a bad situation because of your actions, I'm quite angry about this, and you presumably know that," then I'd say it was definitely tactless of Bush to ask in the first place.

That might be true if Bush could have reasonably known that Webb's answer would be that. I don't think that's true. I don't think any other answer than "fine" which is the standard etiquette answer, could or should have been reasonably expected.
I suppose I don't see how Bush could have been aware that he had a son, but not aware that his son was in Iraq and that he'd been campaigning to have troops withdrawn.

quote:
You're saying that even if the question were not rude (genuine concern and trying to build bridges is not rude and the question is not rude on its face), the rude response was justified because the question was rude?
No, I said I didn't think the response was rude. Possibly brusque, but to me he seems to have been deflecting the question to avoid being rude.

quote:
So, seriously, if you asked someone how their son was and they replied that the governement was opressing black men, you would think that perfectly normal and apologize for asking such a rude question? I fail to see the difference.
Er...

Well, I suppose if my son was black had recently been beaten up and falsely imprisoned by government employees on racial grounds, the person who asked the question was directly responsible and had refused to admit fault, apologise or release him, and I was known as a campaigner against racial oppression by the government, then yes, I'd probably consider it a polite and restrained response, and think that the guy asking was being a complete arsehole even if he was using a "polite tone of voice"...

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pinqy
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I guess my main question is where on Earth people are getting the idea that mentioning Webb's son is an off-limits topic? Webb wore his son's combat boots as part of his campaign. Webb has freely answered media questions about his son. Asking about his son's health should not be an off-limits subject.

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I guess my main question is where on Earth people are getting the idea that mentioning Webb's son is an off-limits topic? Webb wore his son's combat boots as part of his campaign. Webb has freely answered media questions about his son. Asking about his son's health should not be an off-limits subject.

Where on Earth are you getting the idea that anything other than "fine" is an off-limits response?

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trollface
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I'm guessing that the media didn't send Webb's son into combat...

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
I suppose I don't see how Bush could have been aware that he had a son, but not aware that his son was in Iraq and that he'd been campaigning to have troops withdrawn.


Sure, but that can't possibly be construed as making an inquiry as to the son's health verboten.

quote:
quote:
You're saying that even if the question were not rude (genuine concern and trying to build bridges is not rude and the question is not rude on its face), the rude response was justified because the question was rude?
No, I said I didn't think the response was rude. Possibly brusque, but to me he seems to have been deflecting the question to avoid being rude.[/b]
But that's dependent on "How's your boy?" being rude. We can agree that it is not rude on its face. And we can agree that a polite question does not deserve a rude answer. Therefore a "brusque answer to avoid being rude" is not justified as a response to a polite question. So my position is that if (as I contend) the inquiry was meant as polite, said in a polite manner, then a rude response is not justified (as I believe Webb's response to be) but further that since there shouldn't have been any urge to be rude, a less than polite answer to avoid being rude is also unjustified. Your defense of Webb's response not being rude seems to me to depend of Bush's question being impolite.


quote:
quote:
So, seriously, if you asked someone how their son was and they replied that the governement was opressing black men, you would think that perfectly normal and apologize for asking such a rude question? I fail to see the difference.
Er...

Well, I suppose if my son was black had recently been beaten up and falsely imprisoned by government employees on racial grounds, the person who asked the question was directly responsible and had refused to admit fault, apologise or release him, and I was known as a campaigner against racial oppression by the government, then yes, I'd probably consider it a polite and restrained response, and think that the guy asking was being a complete arsehole even if he was using a "polite tone of voice"... [/QB]

I'm sorry, was Webb's son involuntarily drafted? Beaten by Bush's forces? Suffered in any way? He's a volunteer in the Marines. Vastly different from your scenario. Why'd you have to change the parameters?

pinqy

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I guess my main question is where on Earth people are getting the idea that mentioning Webb's son is an off-limits topic? Webb wore his son's combat boots as part of his campaign. Webb has freely answered media questions about his son. Asking about his son's health should not be an off-limits subject.

Where on Earth are you getting the idea that anything other than "fine" is an off-limits response?
Can you show me any ettiquette guide where it is considered polite to reply to a general inquiry about the health of one's family with a broad statement that doesn't actually address the question? There are certainly a range of answers that would be polite. But calling for withdrawal from Iraq is not one of them.

pinqy

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
I'm guessing that the media didn't send Webb's son into combat...

Neither did Bush. Webb's son joined the Marines well after the war started.

pinqy

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Richard W
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I'm sorry, was Webb's son involuntarily drafted? Beaten by Bush's forces? Suffered in any way? He's a volunteer in the Marines. Vastly different from your scenario. Why'd you have to change the parameters?

pinqy

Because you did... unless you meant the question I was replying to to be completely without context. (I see I got the positions the wrong way round and it was meant to be me asking the question rather than answering it.)

If I, as myself and not involved in the government or racial politics, asked a white friend of mine who had a six-year-old white son (the actual age of one of my friends' sons) "How's your son?" and he replied "The government is oppressing black people" then I would think it was a complete non-sequitur, almost as if he'd replied "Aliens have eaten my beetroot!"

What context were you imagining for your scenario where "hypothetical me" asked somebody how their son was and they replied "The government is oppressing black people"?

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pinqy
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quote:
If I, as myself and not involved in the government or racial politics, asked a white friend of mine who had a six-year-old white son (the actual age of one of my friends' sons) "How's your son?" and he replied "The government is oppressing black people" then I would think it was a complete non-sequitur, almost as if he'd replied "Aliens have eaten my beetroot!"

And if you were in the government and asked a Black friend? Would you then expect a remark about oppression?

Webb's reply was a non-sequitur. He was asked about his son, he did not answer about his son. His resoponse had ****-all to do with the question.

pinqy

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I guess my main question is where on Earth people are getting the idea that mentioning Webb's son is an off-limits topic? Webb wore his son's combat boots as part of his campaign. Webb has freely answered media questions about his son. Asking about his son's health should not be an off-limits subject.

Where on Earth are you getting the idea that anything other than "fine" is an off-limits response?
Can you show me any ettiquette guide where it is considered polite to reply to a general inquiry about the health of one's family with a broad statement that doesn't actually address the question? There are certainly a range of answers that would be polite. But calling for withdrawal from Iraq is not one of them.

pinqy

This is peculiar. I mean, I know I'm not any expert on etiquette like, say, you or anything, but it appears you're demanding that I provide a citation to disprove an assertion you've made.

Isn't that very poor, er, etiquette?

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pinqy
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No, I was responding to your question and relating it to my position on the topic.

In simpler terms, just for you, "No, I do not believe that anything other than "fine" is necessarily off-limits. There are a range of acceptable answers. Mr. Webb's response does not fall in that range by any standard I've ever heard of. I invite you or anyone to show me any ettiquette guide that holds that the type of answer Mr. Webb gave is acceptable."

pinqy

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
No, I was responding to your question and relating it to my position on the topic.



Yes; by demanding a citation to disprove an assertion that you'd made.

quote:
In simpler terms, just for you, "No, I do not believe that anything other than "fine" is necessarily off-limits. There are a range of acceptable answers. Mr. Webb's response does not fall in that range by any standard I've ever heard of. I invite you or anyone to show me any ettiquette guide that holds that the type of answer Mr. Webb gave is acceptable."

pinqy

But you're the person making the assertion that it's poor etiquette. Wouldn't the correct and proper thing be to show us, by perhaps linking to the etiquette guide of your choice, that it doesn't fall within the parameters of acceptable conversation, as you say?

Oh, and "in simpler terms, just for you," is a bit off, don't you think? For someone who's explaining politeness to us all and everything?

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BeachLife
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In defense of manners:


She asks how to deflect painful holiday queries

quote:
Dear Miss Manners: I have been a seriously disabled woman for a great many years. My life is sad, complicated and a very big disappointment. My question is not about how to deal with it, but how to deal with certain kinds of questions.

When people that know me ask how my holiday was, or how my weekend was, I hate to lie to them, and say that it was fine when I know that they know better and yet, I really don't want to discuss it. I live it and don't want to listen to the litany myself. If it bores me, how must others feel?

What can I say that won't make people feel that I am either lying or in some way making them feel bad for an honest question with a fraudulent answer?

Gentle Reader: Ah, but it is not an honest question. Nor is it a dishonest question. True and false are not the only possibilities in human discourse.

Miss Manners would like to introduce you to the concept of conventional expressions, designed to indicate goodwill but not meant to be taken literally. People who don't understand this, and snap back at "Good morning" with "What's good about it?" make themselves tedious.

The conventional greeting is followed by a conventional inquiry: "How are you?" "How y'doing?" or the ones you get about weekends or holidays.

The conventional answer is "Fine," but if you still object to that, you could say, "Oh, as usual. How was yours?"



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pinqy
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I demanded nothing. I requested clarification. I thought it was common knowledge that a "how are you/wife/child" is generally accepted as a polite non-question: a social politeness that does not invite true discussion of the topic. Also, I thought it generally accepted that to any question a response that's germaine is expected and not a non-sequitur. These are premises, not conclusions. If I am wrong in this matter, I'm willing to be corrected.

pinqy

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
In defense of manners:


She asks how to deflect painful holiday queries

quote:
Dear Miss Manners: I have been a seriously disabled woman for a great many years. My life is sad, complicated and a very big disappointment. My question is not about how to deal with it, but how to deal with certain kinds of questions.

When people that know me ask how my holiday was, or how my weekend was, I hate to lie to them, and say that it was fine when I know that they know better and yet, I really don't want to discuss it. I live it and don't want to listen to the litany myself. If it bores me, how must others feel?

What can I say that won't make people feel that I am either lying or in some way making them feel bad for an honest question with a fraudulent answer?

Gentle Reader: Ah, but it is not an honest question. Nor is it a dishonest question. True and false are not the only possibilities in human discourse.

Miss Manners would like to introduce you to the concept of conventional expressions, designed to indicate goodwill but not meant to be taken literally. People who don't understand this, and snap back at "Good morning" with "What's good about it?" make themselves tedious.

The conventional greeting is followed by a conventional inquiry: "How are you?" "How y'doing?" or the ones you get about weekends or holidays.

The conventional answer is "Fine," but if you still object to that, you could say, "Oh, as usual. How was yours?"


I wonder if Miss Manners would say the same thing if someone inquired about just one of your children or just one of your parents, particularly if there was some condition or status which set that child or that parent apart from the rest of your family. Is inquiring about an ill parent or a child in a dangerous environment always to be considered strictly a "conventional" greeting or inquiry and not a serious question? That strikes me as rather callous.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
It's cultural. In the Southern US, referring to an adult child as "boy" or "girl" is common and not considered derogatory or off.

pinqy

On the contrary, it can be quite derogatory, in the southern US or elsewhere, depending on its usage. I already steered clear of "girl," and learned rapidly to do the same for "boy" when I moved to the south.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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The conventional answer is "Fine," but if you still object to that, you could say, "Oh, as usual. How was yours?"
I like that. So Webb could have said, "Oh, you know, surviving so far. How about the twins? Have they been shot at lately?"

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
I demanded nothing. I requested clarification. I thought it was common knowledge that a "how are you/wife/child" is generally accepted as a polite non-question: a social politeness that does not invite true discussion of the topic. Also, I thought it generally accepted that to any question a response that's germaine is expected and not a non-sequitur. These are premises, not conclusions. If I am wrong in this matter, I'm willing to be corrected.

pinqy

Well, since not everyone agrees with you that Webb's response was rude, clearly it isn't common knowledge nor generally accepted. So the subject clearly merits further investigation, and why shouldn't it be by the person who's making the assertion? Rather than putting the onus on people who don't necessarily agree with the assertion to disprove it, which, as I say, is generally frowned upon.

Oh, and I'm still wondering how "in simple terms, just for you" fits in on the pinqy scale of incivility. I didn't like it very much, that's for sure.

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Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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pinqy
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More Miss Manners:
quote:
Gentle Reader: We did do away with "How are you?" as a question. Did Miss Manners forget to tell you?
Except for the excessively literal-minded and some troublemakers, people now understand "How are you?" to be a ritual greeting, requiring only the ritual answer "Fine, thank you," regardless of the medical, emotional and financial state of the person who is asked. One can even merely nod pleasantly and reply "How are you?" just as the response to "How do you do?" is not "I do terrible, thank you kindly," but "How do you do?"
This is so accepted a practice that one has to make a special effort when using the same words socially to inquire into another person's well-being: "I haven't seen you in so long, and I've been thinking about you -- please, do tell me how you are." (Your doctor, therapist, accountant or personal trainer can still ask it straight and expect a descriptive answer, such as "Gassy," "Hostile," "Broke" or "Like I've been run over by a truck.")

[/b]

I see no reason why asking about a person's child/spouse would be any different.

pinqy

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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
In defense of manners:


She asks how to deflect painful holiday queries

quote:
Dear Miss Manners: I have been a seriously disabled woman for a great many years. My life is sad, complicated and a very big disappointment. My question is not about how to deal with it, but how to deal with certain kinds of questions.

When people that know me ask how my holiday was, or how my weekend was, I hate to lie to them, and say that it was fine when I know that they know better and yet, I really don't want to discuss it. I live it and don't want to listen to the litany myself. If it bores me, how must others feel?

What can I say that won't make people feel that I am either lying or in some way making them feel bad for an honest question with a fraudulent answer?

Gentle Reader: Ah, but it is not an honest question. Nor is it a dishonest question. True and false are not the only possibilities in human discourse.

Miss Manners would like to introduce you to the concept of conventional expressions, designed to indicate goodwill but not meant to be taken literally. People who don't understand this, and snap back at "Good morning" with "What's good about it?" make themselves tedious.

The conventional greeting is followed by a conventional inquiry: "How are you?" "How y'doing?" or the ones you get about weekends or holidays.

The conventional answer is "Fine," but if you still object to that, you could say, "Oh, as usual. How was yours?"


I wonder if Miss Manners would say the same thing if someone inquired about just one of your children or just one of your parents, particularly if there was some condition or status which set that child or that parent apart from the rest of your family. Is inquiring about an ill parent or a child in a dangerous environment always to be considered strictly a "conventional" greeting or inquiry and not a serious question? That strikes me as rather callous.
I've read Miss Manners for years and I am just about 100% certain she would not have endorsed Webb's response. As I said much earlier in this thread, even if another person is being rude, it does not justify a rude respose.

Again from Miss Manners:


Humor is a fine response to rude query

quote:
MISS MANNERS: I have an apparently interesting scar, about 3 inches long, straight down my spine on my lower back. It's not normally visible, but occasionally friends or acquaintances will inquire about it and I cheerfully tell them the rather dull truth about falling off a stool when I was a child. However, sometimes random strangers catch a glimpse (leaning over a water fountain, or on the beach and the like) and feel utterly comfortable coming up to me and asking where I picked up such an odd disfigurement. In these cases, I tend to cheerfully tell them the first thing that pops into my head - I was born with a tail, or kidnapped by aliens or had a reverse C-section, that sort of thing.

My casual acquaintance, upon hearing about this habit, informed me that it was unconscionably rude and terribly inappropriate. I tend to feel that I'm reacting humorously, but not inappropriately, to an entirely rude question, and that if they felt the need to go to all the effort of approaching me, I ought to give them an entertaining return.

Who's in the right here? And, if I'm being rude, what would be a polite response that's still better than a blank stare or a chilly "Excuse me?"

GENTLE READER: A better response? Yours are indeed amusing, and Miss Manners will not try to top them. You need a casual acquaintance with a better sense of humor.

As long as your delivery is not sarcastic, a good-natured non-answer is more polite than any way of conveying that it is none of their business.



--------------------
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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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