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Talk To The Hand Unabridged Cd by Lynne…

Talk To The Hand Unabridged Cd (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Lynne Truss

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1,992523,377 (3.36)52
Title:Talk To The Hand Unabridged Cd
Authors:Lynne Truss
Info:Penguin Audio USA (2005), Edition: Abridged, Audio CD
Collections:Read but unowned, Stewart's Read
Tags:Y08, culture

Work details

Talk to the Hand : The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door) by Lynne Truss (2005)



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"I come to two possibilities on completing Lynne Truss’s book of a decade ago: either I am becoming increasingly intolerant and grumpy as I, too, grow older, or that she is right. I don’t want to think that I am living out what I believe was Churchill’s maxim about being liberal in one’s twenties and conservative in one’s forties, I really don’t. But there was a lot which resonated with me in Talk to the Hand (in itself a dated reference). Ms Truss is forthright about her intent: it is a rant, and it’s a very personal sort of rant. And what I found worrying and rewarding in equal measures was that the rant more than once resonated with me, and made me think “she’s got that spot on.”

What didn’t resonate, however, was enough to give me pause. I suspect that Ms Truss is more conservative than I typically count myself to be. I am not bothered by some of the things that she is, or at least, not in the same way. Her fury at technology, for example, is not the same as mine, nor is it for the same reasons. She seems to simply fail to comprehend its intricacies, but I worry about what it’s doing to the way in which people (and more specifically me and my immediate family) think (qv; The Shallows). Further, I have no problem countering rudeness with escalated rudeness, and apparently my non-smiling demeanor is generally enough to close down any opposition. I will stop patronizing businesses that are rude, and I will write letters and emails. And as one of those people with a regular fixation on behaving in a civil way, and teaching my kids to do the same, I can honestly say that I’ve never been lectured on equality by anyone for holding a door (fingers crossed), which is something that I still do, because I had family members who accepted nothing less.

Ms Truss has picked up the things which make her cringe in society, but honestly, they aren’t the sorts of things which would make one stay home to bolt the door. This book is a rant: the rant, one says hesitatingly, of Middle England. It’s a bit like listening to characters in the later series of Midsummer Murders, and finding the disconnect from reality to be almost too much to bear the suspension of disbelief that the murder with a bowlful of eggs and eels requires. In Midsummer, everyone will always vote Tory, except for the wild youth (bless!), but there will still always be an NHS and a BBC and a local post office and library, despite the real-world Tories having sold all of those things off and turned them into wine bars for City types. There’s a slippery paradox at the heart of this book, which is that everyone should always want the same sort of society: that of the ‘good old days.’ Of course, nostalgia is a trap, the biggest trap of all.

I am led to wonder, too, just how much worse the state of manners has gotten for Ms Truss in the past ten years? Not only has there been the rise of the dumbphone, with its commensurate drones with their slack jaws and dull eyes flickering across tiny text (thanks, Apple - I don’t think), but also a rise in so-called “social media,” with its endless driveling “updates” from whatever you’d call the opposite of “the great and the good” - the hoi polloi, perhaps? I haven’t looked, but I’m sure that Talk to the Hand’s author may well have thrown her hands up in disbelief at how much further things have devolved in a decade’s time. Only yesterday, I saw the “news” that Facething was going to add a “dislike” button, and that fact was treated as NEWS by the BBC?! I’m sorry, but that isn’t news - news is something that matters. Not that we would know as much, of course, in a world where many of the newspapers have gone as well.

In the end, though, none of this really matters. Every generation’s thoughtful membership feels at some point - if it has any self-awareness whatsoever - that the world has gone to hell, that everything is falling apart, and that surely we’re not too far from the end. And yes, civilizations have ended, but generally, as T.S. Eliot once said, “not with a bang, but a whimper.” That is the uncertainty of endings: you can’t know them until you have lived through them, and definitively seen the New Thing, whatever it may be, start. So roll on, the next big thing. Some of us are ready to face you down, and demand that you stop spitting your gum on the pavements, working a till while jabbering on your mobile, and driving while texting (though hopefully natural selection will pick off most of those). " ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Sep 18, 2015 |
At first, despite Truss's denials, this reads like straight-forward crotchetiness. However, it gets interesting a little later, with for example p. 46, "Surely if we hold doors open, we are acting altruistically? Yet our furious, outraged, jumping-up-and-down reaction when we are not thanked would indicate that we hold doors open principally to procure the reward of a public pat on the back."

Finished. That bit did turn out to be about the most nuanced, thoughtful bit in the book.

I'm not convinced A) that Truss doesn't value etiguette over manners, despite her protestations, or B) that rudeness and the kind of respect and kindness that go with it are on the increase. I believe that as we get older we feel it more due to a cumulative effect.

Nor do I know who she believes will read and benefit from this. Anyone who does pick it up will be sympathetic already, yet feel as if they are already impeccably mannered. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Wow, I can't remember being this disappointed with a book...well, I was going to say "in a long time," but I might more accurately say "ever." In terms of disparity between my expectations and the reality, this is the most disappointing book I've ever read. I give it one star, and a glance over my reviews will demonstrate that I almost never do that.

I read, and loved, Truss's previous work, [b:Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation|8600|Eats, Shoots & Leaves The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation|Lynne Truss|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1309285488s/8600.jpg|854886]. It was funny, erudite, and most importantly, it was self-righteous and self-important in exactly the right places and right amounts. That it dealt with a topic dear to my heart (the gradual erosion of literacy through shoddy grammar and punctuation) only made it more enjoyable for me.

So when I sat down to read Talk to the Hand, I expected something similar: a humorous yet fiery diatribe, rich with research and examples, only in this case railing against the decline of personal manners rather than grammar. What I got was a crotchety, unfunny whine-fest that continually tried to extrapolate bad manners into low overall moral character. She takes the flamethrower to entire armies of strawmen in this book, as I've simply never met anyone as rude as some of her examples. Her stories about eight-year old kids cussing out their parents in public sound exactly like the "what is our country coming to" chain e-mails I used to get forwarded to me by my fifty-something aunts and cousins years ago, and they ring horribly false. In addition, she lets some rather ugly biases slip with blithe references to "shaven-headed bling bling gangstas" and such.

Worst of all, this wasn't even a fun read. Unlike her last book, which was so stuffed with content that the pages flew by, this one dragged and was amazingly repetitive. Honestly, I was a little worried when I found myself fighting the temptation to skim the end of the introduction, thinking "OK, I get it, I get it, I get it..." This book felt like a 20-page magazine article stretched into a 200-page book. And Truss's decision to sanitize the word fuck into Eff (e.g. Eff this, Eff you, you Effing such-and-such) was jarring, off-putting, and made large stretches of the book just plain annoying to slog through. All in all, this was a grumpy, miserable, spittle-flecked little book, and I can't discourage you strongly enough from picking it up. Stick to the book with the pandas on the cover. ( )
  benjamin.duffy | Jul 28, 2013 |
Listened to this on audio. Very short and entertaining. More of a comment on British society than ours, but makes you think about the value of simple kindness and courtesy. ( )
  goygirrl | May 1, 2013 |
Hilarious skewering of today's rudeness epidemic. Funny, in England they think we're still polite in the US! ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Talk to the Hand does occasionally read like a thank-you letter extended ambitiously to the second side of the notepaper. Yet it addresses an important subject with intelligence and humour, and for that we should certainly be grateful.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Independent, Susie Boyt (Nov 4, 2005)
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Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Oscar Wilde
An apology is a gesture through which an individual splits himself into to parts: the part that is guilty of the offense, and the part that dissociates itself from the delict and affirms a belief in the offended rule.

Erving Goffman
Fuck off, Norway.

Paul Gasciogne, on being asked if he had a message for the people of Norway.
First words
If you want a short-cut to an alien culture these days, there is no quicker route than to look at a French phrase book.
The trouble with traditional good manners, as any fool knows, is judging where to draw the line.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143058037, Audio CD)

Sticklers unite! The Queen of Zero Tolerance takes on the sorry state of modern manners in the spirit of her one-million-copy-selling, number-one New York Times bestseller, Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Unabridged CDs - 2 CDs, 3 hours

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An evaluation of the way discourteous behavior has become commonplace and even applauded in today's society is a humorous call to arms that challenges ill manners and the practices that support them.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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