The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 January 2005

No Civil War jokes, please

According to an ongoing survey by etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart, Charleston, South Carolina is the most well-mannered city in America.

For twenty-eight years, Stewart has been compiling data from her readers and students, and Charleston has come out on top eleven times.

I grew up in Charleston, and I suspect that this gentility is the combination of three factors:

  1. Traditional Southern warmth. This far into Dixie, both people and climate are distinctly warmer than average.

  2. A sense of history. Charleston has been around for well over three hundred years, and being part of it both exalts and humbles: you're proud to be there, and you know it's going to outlive you.

  3. Ties to the military. The old Navy Yard has closed, but Charleston has strong military traditions, and as Heinlein noted, "An armed society is a polite society." (San Diego, another traditional Navy town, placed second in Stewart's rankings.)

That's my thinking on the matter, for what it's worth, and I hope you'll consider it a worthwhile contribution to the discussion.

And if you don't, well, bite me.

Posted at 10:14 AM to Almost Yogurt

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