The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 April 2005

Curiously, posted on Thursday

I read Robert A. Heinlein's Friday when it first appeared. The tale of an Artificial Person in a not-quite-post-apocalyptic world is generally not considered among RAH's best, but it's such a breezy read (despite a below-par ending) that I go back to it now and again, and, as always with Heinlein's strongest characters, I've gotten a pretty good mental picture of what Friday herself might be like.

And now that Jacqueline is describing her blog as "[t]he bildungsroman of an aspiring Heinlein heroine," I haven't had to revise that picture in the slightest.

Oh, well. I only threw that in so I could mention this particular passage, which seems to be sticking in my mind these days:

"[A] dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."

"Really?"

"Pfui. I should have forced you to dig it out yourself; then you would know it. This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength."

I wouldn't be surprised to see that FWP has something to say about that.

Posted at 7:35 AM to Almost Yogurt


I do, Charles. The trends worry me more than I can say.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 9:01 AM on 28 April 2005

If rude and bad-mannered cultures are dying off in favor of more polite cultures then I suppose the Japanese are going to take over the world.

Posted by: bill at 11:53 AM on 28 April 2005

I completely agree with both Heinlein and you. Heinlein made several astute assessments in _Starship Troopers_, as well.

Posted by: unimpressed at 11:53 AM on 28 April 2005

Only read "Friday" and the Stranger/Strange Land books by Heinlein -- adored Friday, hated Stranger.

Friday was cool. I kinda liked the corporate states arrangement.

Posted by: david at 11:21 PM on 28 April 2005