Sep 112006

Sorry for my recent absence from this medium. I have been inundated with various assignments, and RageBoy rehearsals/performances. Whilst walking home from one particular show last week, I was most upset to find it had started raining. On the short walk home I was most surprised to see a young lad holding an umbrella for a girl, as the two hurriedly headed for shelter.

“Surprised?” you ask? Well, yeah. I had hitherto thought that ethics and chivalry were dying faster than the Ozone Layer. It is not often that one sees a person give their seat to an elderly person, or other such acts that would have been commonplace in past generations. Where did all the good manners go? Whatever happened to holding doors open for ladies, pursuit of the truth at all costs, and generosity of heart?

I cannot help but place the blame squarely on current societal trends in first world countries. We are surrounded by people who think primarily of themselves; who would rather buy the latest mobile phone than save or donate their money; and who often squander away that which they do not have whilst in pursuit of the idyllic suburbanite dream.

It must be said that the problem does not only lie with the ‘general public’. The large corporations which shape people’s images of themselves are also accountable. They approve and distribute the contrived and idealistic advertisements. I can recall a news story in recent times which reported that certain banks were giving their staff a larger commission for opening a credit card account than a savings account.

I know there is very little chance of changing any of this, along with all the problems of disease, famine, unjustified wars and global warming. But I suppose it is just nice to know that there is some last vestige of chivalry and decency tip-toeing around in these troubled times.

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 Posted by at 8:33 pm

  8 Responses to “Chivalry”

Comments (8)
  1. Actually i’ve always found the mechanics of trying to duck under an umbrella someone else is holding for you oh so very difficult, particularly if you’re taller than them… you usually both end up soaked… but yep, it’s a sweet thought!

    Chivalry definitely ain’t dead. Someone stood up on the tram for me the other day (I’m pretty sure I told everyone, but just in case)… I hoped I was just looking a bit tired, and they didn’t think I was pregnant…

  2. “Where did all the good manners go?” I don’t know, did they go anywhere? or were they quite rare to begin with? maybe they are there and we just can’t see them, wrapped up in our own little troubles as we are.

    I have always found it curious that people lament virtues that fall into the category of being a “decent human-being” – YOU are a person of today. YOU are NOT small and insignificant. Yes, corporate institutions are cold and uncaring, they sell the message that “more is more” and “evey man for himself”. So what? Since when was advertising based on Truth? And just because they are selling a product, doesn’t mean you have to buy it.

    Well, maybe there is no such thing as a “free lunch”, but a smile is free. The only words and actions you have control over, are your own. You make your own impact on the world – YOU can give up your seat for the little old lady on the train, YOU can be polite, give of yourself. It could be as “small” as a hug for a friend or paying a compliment to someone who really needs to hear it… and if you manage to inspire others to follow in the process – so much the better.

    Don’t romanticise the past: live in the present and create the future. Chivalry (and manners) will only die if the people who value it, don’t practice it.

    (yes, Will, I do on occasion read your blog – and you can hold the door open for me anytime)

  3. true that… we should start a petition against Diddy not being able to call him self diddy no more

  4. An insightful, engaging and well-written comment LMR.

    You are quite right. We do only have today to change, and the impetus to change must come from us. It has often been quoted: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’. Moreover, perhaps the problem lies not with me romanticising the past, but with me projecting my (arguably hypocritical) values onto this society of ours.

    May I place my coat over a puddle for you also? ;-)

  5. Well hello there William…

    When you’ve been around as long as some of us have (and even if you haven’t) you start to become a weeny bit cynical in your dotage. If someone tries to be chivalrous to me I assume that a: they are being sarcastic, b: they’re a pervert, c: they’re mentally unsound or d: all of the above. How terribly depressing life thus becomes but hey if you always expect the worst you’re either pleasently surprised or more likely, seldom, if ever disappointed (and always prepared, right?). Chivalry isn’t dead but really, the rest of the world is so ungrateful when you try and be dashing that there’s really little point. Am I not right? (rhetorical question of course…) So I’d happily drag my coat through the mud for you if only I didn’t think you’d turn around and stab me in the back the very second you got a chance ;-) In the immortal words of Queen Elizabeth Dench, “too late, too late!”

    p.s. Am exceedingly jealous of your trip to Cantabrigiense. I couldn’t even place the picture of the organ, which shows just how out of practice I am… And what is this Rageboy you’re starring in??? Sounds like a rather salacious adult film that Mark Mawhinney might have enjoyed!



  6. Hey Forbsie,
    Good to see you’re checking out the site every now and then.

    So very well put Forbsie, as always. I would agree that perhaps chivalry is not dead, but is in fact so often mis-interpreted and mis-construed that people are keeping their chivalrous acts under wraps or in the dark.

    As for the photo of the organ, I’m relatively sure that it is the organ from Queen’s College Cambridge. Don’t hold me to that though!

    Rageboy is definitely a little salacious, but it is actually a play! It was rather well received actually, a World Premier I’ll have you know!

  7. Thought this might appeal to the audience reading this post : ad I saw whilst staring @ a tram ceiling today…

    What is gallantry? Is it standing for a lady, or standing for Prime Minister and making her First Lady?

    Gallantry is back – Boag’s Premium.

    So there you have it. The beer gods have spoken. ;)

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