Apology accepted: The lost arts

February 28, 2012 11:00 amComments OffViews: 1

Annalisa Klein | Commentary Editor

I apologize. It’s my thing. I’ll apologize because someone misunderstood what I said, or when I misunderstand someone else. If I happen to accidently bump someone in the hallway, I’ll pardon myself. I even speak in tones that can only be described as apologetic if I’m in an awkward situation. I do it when I’m sorry and even when I’m not.  It could be my upbringing in a foreign household, or it could be that I’m simply mannerly. Some people find this annoying. I find it to be a sign of proper etiquette.
Oral etiquette is a lost art-form. Gone are the days of Shakespearean English and pointed witticisms. We no longer speak nor understand the English of our fore-fathers. There is a market for translating proper English into our common slang, but no market for translating our everyday speech into the poetry of the past.

200 years ago, a college education meant you could speak in ways we barely attribute to our own philosophy majors. You could paint daggers with speech. A couple years ago, the lyrical poetry of today’s songs were vastly overshadowed by the lyricism of pure conversation and dialogue. For this, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that we as a generation no longer understand that words are powerful and that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. I’m sorry that our parents never stressed how crucial words can be. I’m sorry that sorry seems to be an insult to the one who apologizes, and sometimes to the one who was wronged. I’m sorry that inflection and tone have fallen by the wayside for vulgarities and lewd sayings.

I apologize on behalf of my generation for our apathy towards Emily Post and her instructions on setting a table and the underscore of setting a life. I’m sorry that my television has failed to empower the watcher with knowledge of science and literature. I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. And if you don’t like my apology, I’m sorry for you.
So instead of simply apologizing for my generation, I’m going to show what I think one’s vocabulary and mannerisms should look like. I call all my fellow readers, writers, poets, and friends, to action. I call you to read something of substance. I call you to a conversation that does not involve some high level of smut and harlotry. I call you to a higher standard. I call you to stand on the shoulders of giants.

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