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Eva Burgess' Optometric Needs Make The Wall Street Journal
Although the reporter, Jennifer Saranow, spent hours talking to me by phone and e-mail about my various "blogslappings" of the undercivilized, I ended up as mere background (grrr!). I told her she might warn people of that when she interviews them in the future. She thought that was good advice. Yeah, I'm all about good advice.

Saranow does mention my blog item on Eva Burgess, the cell phone shouter from The Rose Cafe a few weeks ago. Here's a quote from Saranow's piece (free access):

Last month, Eva Burgess was eating breakfast at the Rose Cafe in Venice, Calif., when she remembered she needed to make an appointment with her eye doctor. So the New York theater director got on her cellphone and booked a date.

Almost immediately, she started receiving "weird and creepy" calls directing her to a blog. There, under the posting "Eva Burgess Is Getting Glasses!" her name, cellphone number and other details mentioned in her call to the doctor's office were posted, along with the admonition, "next time, you might take your business outside." The offended blogger had been sitting next to Ms. Burgess in the cafe.

It used to be the worst you could get for a petty wrong in public was a rude look. Now, it's not just brutal police officers, panty-free celebrities and wayward politicians who are being outed online. The most trivial missteps by ordinary folks are increasingly ripe for exposure as well. There is a proliferation of new sites dedicated to condemning offenses ranging from bad parking (Caughtya.org) and leering (HollaBackNYC.com) to littering (LitterButt.com) and general bad behavior (RudePeople.com). One site documents locations where people have failed to pick up after their dogs. Capturing newspaper-stealing neighbors on video is also an emerging genre.

Helping drive the exposés are a crop of entrepreneurs who hope to sell advertising and subscriptions. One site that lets people identify bad drivers is about to offer a $5 monthly service, for people to register several of their own plate numbers and receive notices if they are cited by other drivers. But the traffic and commercial prospects for many of the sites are so limited that clearly there is something else at work.

The embrace of the Web to expose trivial transgressions in part represents a return to shame as a check on social behavior, says Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Some academics believe shame became less powerful as a control over everyday interactions with strangers in all but very small neighborhoods or social groups, as people moved to big cities or impersonal suburbs where they existed more anonymously.

P.S. I'm writing a book about my blogslappings and other episodes of "do-it-yourself justice," like recovering my stolen car and getting telemarketers to pay me for use of my time and phone line. I just sent the revised proposal to my agent.

And finally, thank you to everyone who called Eva Burgess. If people can't be persuaded to be considerate because it's the right thing to do, perhaps they'll be persuaded because they don't want a lot of weird calls from strangers who also resent having their breakfast interrupted by somebody else's loud, dull life.

Ever notice how you rarely hear valuable information dispensed in these high-volume public calls?...although there was that time the guy sitting behind me on the plane to SF talked about his multi-million-dollar insurance deal while we were stuck on the tarmac for half an hour. A secret multi-million-dollar insurance deal he would've been screwed on if "anyone" found out "before Monday."

Unfortunately, I was too busy to blog it when I got there. Not only was the guy rude, he was stupid. I took notes on his conversation, then, when I was getting off the plane, I even "fact-checked" a name he'd mentioned. "Excuse me, but was that Scott Colber, C-O-L-B-E-R, you were talking about?" I asked him.

No, it's "Culver, C-U-L-V-E-R," he said. Boy, did that guy get lucky I had a busy weekend.

UPDATE: Kate Coe links to it here on FishbowlLA.

Posted by aalkon at January 12, 2007 1:54 PM

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Comments

I'll buy the first copy that can be autographed.

Posted by: Crid at January 12, 2007 7:21 AM

Aww, thanks.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 7:25 AM

loved reading it thanks

Posted by: Kevin at January 12, 2007 10:36 AM

Thank you so much!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 10:42 AM

Out of plain curiosity, have you been approached with book deals before?

At the very least it seems there should be a column compilation, ala Anna Quindlen.

Posted by: Jake at January 12, 2007 11:27 AM

I don't have a deal yet...I have to finish a sample chapter and then my agent will take it out. But, I'm working on the chapter right now!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 11:38 AM

Perhaps Ms. Saranow lives by a different life code, but the offenses I see pointed out at sites that feature bad parking, leering, etc are not minor missteps in life by average folks. All of these sites feature the gross overstepping of personal bounds. I assume Eva had been doing the same thing. Sure, you might need to talk on your cell inside, but if you have to talk loudly, take it outside. Most people do. Some people don't. And if you become the joke of the moment on the internet, perhaps you might learn a lesson about screaming your phone number out loud in a small public space.

Or maybe you don't even care. Soon we might see desperate B-list celebrities doing rude things in public on purpose for the free publicity an online chastising might bring. Or maybe they already do. Starlets not wearing underwear got a lot of free press last year.

Posted by: Robyn at January 12, 2007 11:56 AM

It's totally worth Googling "PlateWire IDRVFAST."

Posted by: Jim Treacher at January 12, 2007 12:21 PM

Posted by: Jim Treacher at January 12, 2007 12:26 PM

Exactly, Robin. I actually gave the reporter a lot of examples (like my stolen car story) where it wasn't exactly somebody complaining because they don't like the color of your shirt.

I particularly like what people on cell phones sometimes throw back at you: "It's a public place." Yes it is, which means you share it with a lot of other people, and you should be mindful of their need to think their own thoughts, not have them shouted aside by your dull life." In a space you rent or own, providing you have rather thick walls, you can be as loud and uninteresting as you'd like!

It's as wrong to shout into a cell phone in public as it is to go into a restaurant and blast a boom box.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 12:48 PM

I'll paste in several comments from the original entry linked above (comments posted today):

----

You blogged about this? Why not just go over to her and ask her to keep it down, or take it outside? It sounds like there were two immature people in that Starbucks.

Posted by: Not Amy at January 12, 2007 12:58 PM

----

That was the part that didn't make it into the Wall Street Journal reporter's story. Conveniently, I still have the answers to the questions along those lines asked by the reporter. I'll paste the text in below:

I just don't always feel like getting into an argument with people in the moment. People who are rude enough to shout into their phone in a public place are often too rude to care that you're disturbed by their phone call, and will get ugly with you even if you ask in the most polite way for them to pipe down a little. And why should I have to say something to them and potentially get into an ugly situation? No, we didn't have cell phones growing up, but weren't we all schooled in "Do unto others..."? Does Eva Burgess really want to hear me shouting into my phone about my personal business? Maybe, since I have her number I should call her up and read her my grocery list?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 01:19 PM

----

Here's more from that e-mail:

Getting back to Eva, I also think this kind of blogslapping acts as more of a deterrent to a wide number of people than simply meekly asking somebody to consider the others in the room. I sometimes think to myself, "Hello? Did you come in for a lunar landing? If not, chances are there are a lot of people in the coffee shop, or Staples, or the line at the post office, who would rather think their own thoughts than have them shoved aside by your call."

I often say things, but when I did at the grocery store Trader Joe's a few days ago, after a woman was yammering into her phone right where I was trying to pick wine, the guy with her yelled at me, "Up your ass!" Classy. There's a psychic cost to getting in an argument with somebody in the moment, and I'm not always up for it. And why should I be?

Perhaps I said this when we spoke on the phone: It isn't crazy to expect people to be polite, it's crazy when you're seen as crazy for expecting it.

And again, in response to "Not Amy's" question above ("Why not just go over to her and ask her to keep it down, or take it outside?"):

Why is it my responsibility to educate another adult on the fundamentals of good manners?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 01:23 PM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 1:38 PM

Well, at least you weren'r misquoted. Or the misquotes (if any) can't be attributed to you.


I'm reminded of Steve Martin's reply to "Do you mind if I smoke?"


"No," he'd say. "Do you mind if I fart?"

Posted by: TE at January 12, 2007 4:37 PM

Actually, there's something close to that I've said about cell phones: "One shouldn't talk loudly on a cell phone anywhere one wouldn't feel perfectly comfortable farting loudly." Then again, perhaps that doesn't go far enough (people are awfully comfortable with an awful lot these days!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 12, 2007 5:33 PM

Amy, you didn't attempt to solve the problem, you simply let it proceed and used it as an opportunity to grandstand in a manner that might affect the family, including the little girl, in ways that you might not consider. You made her play a game that she wasn't even aware she was playing, and then punished her for breaking the rules. I don't like loud phone talkers either, but you dealt with that in a very immature and irresponsible fashion. You may or may not have had a bad experience in going and asking her to talk quietly or take her conversation outside - unfortunately you'll never know, because, based on a previous bad experience with a different person in a different situation, you decided that there was a danger that she would react in the same manner. Then, you posted her phone number on your blog! Don't anyone give me that "if it's in public..." excuse. Yes, she inadvertently revealed her number to YOU. YOU chose to then reveal it to the rest of the world, without her consent, and you posted it on your blog without knowing how many people might call or what they might say. And then you have the audacity to thank everyone that called? I'll join you, there. Anyone who called up Eva to offer their assistance in dealing with an idiot like yourself, I thank them. Where's your number, Amy? Are you too gutless to have done unto yourself what you would do unto others? Have you ever spoken too loudly in public, on a phone? No? How do you know? Is my 'too loud' the same as your 'too loud'? You, and a lot of others, seem to also forget the fact that going out in public not only means what you do and say is able to be picked up and used by everyone else, but it also means that you will be dealing with millions of unique individuals whose upbringing, experiences, tolerances and opinions are different to yours, and every now and then one of them might step on your toes without being aware of what they are doing.

Your replies to a number of people in this and the original post confirm that you like to take your perception and opinion and use it as a basis for how the rest of the world should work and act. You ask why it is your responsibility to educate another adult on the fundamentals of good manners? I answer that it is your responsibility because she may not be aware of your personal criteria for good manners, and if you're going to pass on information that was inadvertently revealed to you for the rest of the world to deal with as they will, then the least you can do is explain to her which of your personal rules she is breaking before you do that.

You're not a shitty enemy. You're just an idiot who's unfortunately been given access to post stories about your OWN dull life on the internet. Luckily, though, Eva walked out of the restaurant after a few minutes. YOU chose to immortalize the moment on your website - which, hopefully, doesn't get a great deal of patronage. I can't imagine what juicy details of your stellar existence THAT post might have pushed off the front page. I like the spiel about your column, by the way - including this statement:
"Although the column reads as humor, it's based in science, psychology, evolutionary psychology, and ethics."
Sorry, Amy. I have never read anything of yours and I doubt if I ever will, because if this is an example of your ethical behaviour, I can't imagine what your columns are like. You seem to have made a lot of people laugh, particularly if they are having a bad day and are in bad relationships. This is a very noble and wonderful thing that you do. I can't reconcile that with the irresponsible behaviour regarding this woman's number. Why don't you do the right thing and take it down, and ask people to stop calling her?

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 8:47 PM

Again, if Eva and other people rudely inserting their dull lives into the breakfasts of the rest of us don't want their phone numbers to be known, they shouldn't shout them out in public. Eva has yet to apologize for disturbing my breakfast. And trust me, I'm not the only one who's disturbed -- merely one of the few people who will say or do something about it.

As for "my personal criteria for good manners" -- when I'm in a public place, my cell phone is always on "vibrate," and if I need to make or take a call, I run outside.

As for Eva not knowing "the rules" of a game she was playing -- is being cognizant that you're not the only one on the planet and acting accordingly really such an unusual and unexpected "game"?

And how does my giving out this woman's cell phone number affect her kid? You might read Barry Glassner's "Culture Of Fear" about pseudodangers, instead of spouting silly crap.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 9:23 PM

> she inadvertently revealed

Not inadvertently, irresponsilbly.

> YOU chose to then reveal it to the rest
> of the world, without her consent,

Once the secret's been shouted out in public (by the owner), consent is implicit. Try that one in court.

> Is my 'too loud' the same as
> your 'too loud'?

Narcissism. Amy's point is that courtesy is a standard for everyone to adhere to, not a personal, impulsive judgment call. See also the Boyfriend Gregg principle, which is 'how fuckin' oblivious do you have to be, anyway?'

> I answer that it is your responsibility because
> she may not be aware of your personal
> criteria for good manners,

Is she aware of how we feel about four-way stop signs? About carrying firearms on airliners? About disposal of personal wastes? Do we have to survey this person's Inner Child before every encounter, or can we sometimes expect that people in public have their shit together?

> I have never read anything of yours and I
> doubt if I ever will

You just wrote seven hundred fifty words to a woman whose thoughts are not of interest to you. Hell, I've been through *marriages* involving less text. I wouldn't have published that woman's info either, but as long as the Alkons of the world are so full of piss, I won't have to.

Posted by: Crid at January 13, 2007 9:35 PM

Amy, did you actually read what I posted? I agree with your view of good manners regarding phone etiquette. I don't like loud talkers either. Don't accuse me of spouting silly crap - just answer the question: Can you guarantee me that someone will not harrass her over the phone after reading it on your website? If someone did that after hearing her spout her number in the restaurant, that would be her responsibility. But if someone read it on your website, that would be yours. Not only that, but who is calling her up and what are they saying? Do they know if her daughter is answering or not? Can you answer those questions with any certainty Amy, as you sit there with her number still displayed on that post which is being linked to by other news sites? I don't know what Mr. Glassner has to say on the subject but I don't think he was there.

Again, Amy. You didn't solve the problem, you dealt with it afterwards in a very cowardly manner. I doubt whether you really were that disturbed if you took the time to take down her details and organise a blog post, inciting other people to call her up and do what you are too scared to do. Why don't you call up Eva, leave her your number if she's not there, and give her an opportunity to apologise for disturbing your breakfast? We both know why. Because she won't apologise. I'd say that's mainly because you didn't explain to her how she was disturbing your breakfast - you just matched her rudeness with rudeness of your own. You had an opportunity to inform her of her transgressions. Now you've told only your side of the story in a public forum and asked others who you do not know to act on your behalf - others who have a high opinion of you through your other writings, and who will now automatically have a low opinion of Eva. Is that a responsible and appropriate response to a display of public rudeness that no-one else spoke up about?

Thanks for explaining to me your personal criteria for good manners. We actually share the same criteria. However Eva is probably still not aware. Yes, being congizant that you're not the only one on the planet is not unusual. I am fully aware of that. That's why, even if someone is being rude, I wouldn't act in an irresponsible manner without making them personally aware of what they'd done. But then again, I can understand that there are others who would. Like yourself, for example. I don't have to be happy about it, but I can see how it can happen. I take it back, Amy. Don't take her number down. Do what you want. Just don't assume that you are an infallible moral barometer. Her number is up on your website, not because she vocalised it in public, but because you put it on your website. If you start taking responsibility for accusation, charge, verdict and sentence regarding perceived transgressions in a public forum, just be prepared for the consequences.

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 9:54 PM

Is common courtesy really so uncommon?

And no, I didn't read your entire diatribe. I merely skimmed it.

Learn from Crid, who posted just above: Smart, sharp, and concise.

Gets the point across much better.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 10:06 PM

Thanks, Crid. I'll try and respond as you have done.

> Not inadvertently, irresponsilbly.
I think you mean irresponsibly. And the two are not mutually exclusive. Yes, it was irresponsible. It was also inadvertent.

> Once the secret's been shouted out in public (by
> the owner), consent is implicit. Try that one in
> court.
Actually, I would love to argue that one in court, as it's clear that there was no intent to share the number with anyone except the person on the other end of the phone. I agree that Eva was irresponsible. Legally, as you say, consent is implicit. However, the legal world grows ever further from the real world in definitions every day. Why don't you ring Eva - you have her number - and ask her if she intended to share her number with everyone? Her crime was speaking loudly. She was irresponsible. What about Amy? She chose to write the number down and display it in a public forum, and she does not know what anyone is going to do with it. Is that responsible?

> Narcissism. Amy's point is that courtesy is a
> standard for everyone to adhere to, not a
> personal, impulsive judgment call. See also the
> Boyfriend Gregg principle, which is 'how fuckin'
> oblivious do you have to be, anyway?
Narcissism? Who, mine or Amy's? MY point is that everyone is different, and Amy is not acting as I would act, or, for example, anyone else in that restaurant. I do agree that courtesy is a standard that everyone should adhere to. However, everyone has their own defitions of courtesy, how could mine or yours be the same as Amy's or Eva's? I agree that I probably would have found Eva's behaviour rude. However I would not agree that everyone would have. Do you know if everyone would have found her rude? And I actually disagree with how Amy has dealt with the situation, not her views on mobile phone courtesy.

> Is she aware of how we feel about four-way stop
> signs? About carrying firearms on airliners?
> About disposal of personal wastes? Do we have to
> survey this person's Inner Child before every
> encounter, or can we sometimes expect that
> people in public have their shit together?
No, how would she be aware of any of those things? I think you're kind of getting off the point here Crid, and just picking statements of mine to ridicule. I won't stop you, 'cause it seems like you're having fun. :)

> You just wrote seven hundred fifty words to a
> woman whose thoughts are not of interest to you.
Thanks Crid. Well picked. I would consider myself defeated if I didn't have other points as well.

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 10:21 PM

Oh well done, Amy. I'll try and use small words as well. Please read posts before commenting on them, the point is actually explained quite clearly. I did you the courtesy of reading your articles before I posted. Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Courtesy?

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 10:26 PM

Peter, you can't spew a bunch of wordy crap and expect people to read it. Less is more. I don't owe you my time. Odd that you would think I do.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 10:28 PM

Actually, I would love to argue that one in court, as it's clear that there was no intent to share the number with anyone except the person on the other end of the phone

You must not be a lawyer. Your right to privacy over information you shout in a public place is nil.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 10:30 PM

Amy, those posts have less words in them than the blog post regarding the articles at the top of this page. I read the articles, and the responses - because it is courteous to do so before commenting in a public forum. Of course you don't owe me your time! I never suggested that you did. And you can pick and choose which parts of my posts you DO want to spend your time on - it's clear that you're doing that. But if you're going to talk about courtesy in this blog subject, then I would of course expect you to act in a courteous manner on your own forum. Otherwise, you might seem less than credible. If you're going to spend the time to comment on parts of my posts only, then you might be in danger of missing the point. You suggested that I read an entire book before! I might do so because it looks interesting. In any case, it's also about perceptions, Amy. You see it as wordy crap. I see it as my considered opinion. How can two people see the same thing completely differently? It's amazing, isn't it? Which one of us is narcissistic, Crid?

No, I'm not a lawyer. I do realise, though, that the legal right to privacy is nonexistent in that situation. Her legal consent and her ACTUAL consent would be two different things, was my point. Also, wanting to argue something in court does not imply that I don't know the law. It simply means that, in this case, it might not be clear cut - and that I might not agree with it.

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 10:50 PM

Peter, it's great that you're willing to do this level of pro bono amateur legal work for the blatantly rude.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 10:52 PM

> It was also inadvertent.

Unthinking, best case. Amy says we should think about stuff.

> it's clear that there was no
> intent to share

Then how could Amy collect it? Law expects people to husband their resources (including privacy), otherwise it's assumed they're not up to it and assets are auctioned.

> ask her if she intended to
> share her number

Why am I, a famous half-caf enthusiast, compelled to worry what's in the secret hearts of other Starbucks patrons? Why can't I assume that everyone's handling their needs as they see fit, and is ready to deal with the consequences? People are as you find them.

> MY point is that everyone
> is different

Whatiszis, PBS? Life isn't a purple Barney video, and we're not a "happy family." Our topic is courtesy and the boundaries we're each expected to observe.

> everyone has their own
> defitions of courtesy,

Nope. Words have meaning, that's why they're useful.

> I would not agree that
> everyone would have.

"Everyone" doesn't have to share identical judgment for the behavior to be wrong. You did that same thing earlier with the "guarantee(!) me that someone will not harrass her" thing. (And that "me" is telling.) The telephone woman voided her own warranty.

> just picking statements of mine
> to ridicule.

Don't be wrong, it makes it easier!

Posted by: Crid at January 13, 2007 10:52 PM

Oh Amy. Now you're just trolling! :) Your own work championing the rights of the silent offended is equally inspring. Now please, continue not answering my points and only nitpick at the comments you can score the easy points on.

Posted by: Peter at January 13, 2007 11:04 PM

Now please, continue not answering my points and only nitpick at the comments you can score the easy points on.

Peter, you're one of those people who's the last to know he lost the argument (if you ever figure it out). Your arguments are irrational and silly, and are, thus, no fun to respond to. Just tedious to read. This isn't school, and I'm under no obligation to respond. Crid, thankfully, took some of the heavy reading off my hands, and made quick work of you. Let's hope you notice soon -- before you burn through a keyboard or two.

Your own work championing the rights of the silent offended is equally inspring.

If you think I'm the only one disturbed by loud public cell phone use, perhaps we should send a crew over there to help you extract your head from your ass.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 11:27 PM

A book for you to read:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592402402?ie=UTF8&tag=advicegoddess-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1592402402

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt The Door, by Lynn Truss.

Here's a quote:

Manners are about showing consideration, and using empathy. But they are also about being connected to the common good; they are about being better. Every time a person asks himself, "What would the world be like if everyone did this?"...

Yes, what if everyone got on their phones in a public place and shouted out their business. Once, in Staples, a guy barked at his girlfriend while I was in the pen aisle. (It wasn't like I could go outside to buy pens where I would be free of having the details of his life shoved into my ears.)

Anyway, after trying to think through the din about what kind of pens my assistant prefers, and then find them, I turned to him and said, "Hey, I've really enjoyed hearing about your life, now I'll tell you about mine: I'm going to go home and feed my dog, but I have to go to Lincoln Hardware first and pick up some lightbulbs, and that stuff for my closets...and then I'm going to get the mail...no, I think I'll do that later, when I run..."

He thought I was nuts. I thought he was nuts that he didn't find it nuts to make another person his captive audience.

Is it weird and wrong to expect to go through life without the most aggressive noise pollution being thrust at you in any public place?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2007 11:35 PM

Amy, of COURSE you're under no obligation to respond! But you're doing it anyway! The hilarious part is that you're only responding to the parts of my arguments that you can score easy points on. When it comes to answering remotely tough questions, you're going straight for, "I don't owe you my time," and "I'm under no obligation to respond."

I'll write my main points in big letters and keep them short, just for you:
* I AGREE that she was rude. From your description, it certainly seemed so. I SHARE your opinions on phone etiquette.
* You didn't deal with the situation, but responded with equally rude and irresponsible behaviour.
* Legally, I know she lost the right to privacy. But in the REAL world, I doubt that she would have intended for her number to be shared, no matter how loud her conversation (which, I'll state again because you don't seem to be getting it, seems to have been loud enough to be considered rude).

No need for the crew, Amy. They can go over to your place, though, if you still think you're the infallible judge, jury and executioner in regards to all rude behaviour. Yes, I think I lost the argument, because you've decided to have a different argument to mine. By the way, that's TWO books you've asked me to read now. I think it's equally odd that you would expect me to read books about courtesy and pseudodangers, when it's clear I share your opinions on phone courtesy, but you don't have the courtesy to read my full posts and actually answer the questions I ask.

I'm appalled that my arguments are irrational and silly. If you explain how, I'll most definitely consider your expressions.

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2007 12:16 AM

* Legally, I know she lost the right to privacy. But in the REAL world, I doubt that she would have intended for her number to be shared.

Boo friggging hoo. Behave in a civilized manner and I'll smile at you and offer the paper, and maybe even ask if you'd like me to bring you back a glass of water when I get one for myself. Turn my breakfast into optometry theatre, and suddenly, everything changes.

I told you to read Glassner's book because you made some asinine statement implying I'd endangered her kid. Bullshit -- based on nonthink. Furthermore, it's the parent's job to care for her child, not mine. If that involves keeping her phone number private, that's easily done: Make appointments in the privacy of your own home. Need I belabor this point any further?

As for Truss' book, see the qote above: "What would the world be like if everyone did this?" (what Eva did). That point seems lost on you (like so much); hence the book recommendation.

If you agree she was rude, what's with the thousands of words of text? You think I'm an asshole for posting her number. Fine. Say it once, then shut up about it.

As for my posting about this, do you think asking rude people to pipe down really has a great impact on their behavior? If they cared about other people's feelings, they wouldn't be shouting in a public place. With more and more people behaving as if this is perfectly acceptable behavior, it's clear that drastic action like mine is not only necessary but correct.

Also, I think it's kind of hilarious.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 14, 2007 12:34 AM

Yes Amy. I realise your feelings and attitude towards public rudeness - your interpretation of public rudeness. It so happens that, from the sounds of it, I agree with your interpretation in this case.

Yes, I understand why you recommended Glassner. However, you seem to have done nought but pass the buck on this one. Can you guarantee that no-one will harrass the family after your posting of Eva's cellphone number? I've asked that question several times, neither you nor Crid seems to have answered it. If they were harrassed by someone who heard the number, then that would certainly be Eva's responsibility. If they were harrassed by someone who read the number on your website, are you denying ALL responsibility?

If everyone acted rudely on their cellphones in public, the world would not be as nice as it is now. Nor would it be as nice if everyone posted numbers they overheard on the internet. You've most definitely not come up with a solution there. But the point of that paragraph is certainly not lost on me.

Do you want me to post the thousands of words again? If you want to know what they are, go read them; again, that's what I do with your posts before I comment on them. It's common courtesy, after all. What should I do to you, Amy, to teach you a lesson on courtesy? What should you do to me, for opening up with both barrels in my first post and rudely calling you an idiot? Would you wash my mouth out with soap? I certainly deserve it. What if I were allergic to soap? Yes, that statement is ridiculous. I should go read Glassner. But you don't know the answer, do you? Just like you don't know the answer to who will call Eva and what they will do or say.

I will say as much as I like on the subject and I will shut up when I like. As will you. We're not alike in THAT respect...I'd prefer that you say more, specifically in the areas of the questions I ask and the subject of whether posting her number on the internet is just as rude as her speaking it loudly in a restaurant.

I don't know if asking rude people to pipe down has an impact on their behaviour; I think it does. I've done so a couple of times to noisy neighbours in the past, and they have done so to me. Most times it ended well, and sometimes it didn't. I've seen no such need for drastic action so far. If someone posted my address and picture on the internet because I play my music too loud, and I didn't get a rental property because of that, I wouldn't really consider it an appropriate response to playing my music too loud - and I might even get very upset. But asking me to turn it down because it is disturbing them? I'd suggest it would work just about every time. It has in the past.

Now, if you're going to respond, try and read all of my post and if there's anything I've said that's irrational and silly, then let me know why - I'll actually listen carefully. I've now read some of your columns Amy and I agree with most of your fans that you're a humorous and intelligent woman with a lot of common-sense advice to give. I have a beef with how you behaved in this particular situation and I, who have no vested interest either way in this, simply think you should take the number down. Try not to respond to just one line of my post and nitpick it, or ask me questions that you really should be asking Eva. I've already been just as rude to you as she was and for that I apologise, because my behaviour doesn't make anything better either. There are other opinions in this world than yours or mine, or Crid's, or Eva's. Sometimes someone might not see that something is as rude as you, and acting like this might not be an appropriate response in everyone's eyes. Accusing someone online of being rude is one thing, but responding how you did and calling it right is another. I'd like to hear some other opinions on this.

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2007 2:29 AM

Crid, just a response to your last reply:
> Unthinking, best case. Amy says we should think
> about stuff.
What was wrong with inadvertent and irresponsible? Did we need another word? Ok, unthinking then, if that's what you want. Seems fine.

> Then how could Amy collect it? Law expects
> people to husband their resources (including
> privacy), otherwise it's assumed they're not
> up to it and assets are auctioned.
Yes, I understand that's what the LAW says. But I thought that we had just agreed that she was irresponsible and unthinking. So she did not intend for her number to be collected and posted on the internet, otherwise one might assume that she would do so herself. The law says that intention is implied, yes, again, I get that. But ask her the question - all legal issues aside - and I would suggest her answer would be no, she did not intend for her number to be collected. Take the law out of this for a moment, because this is not and has never been a question of law. Amy has not broken any law.

> Why am I, a famous half-caf enthusiast,
> compelled to worry what's in the secret
> hearts of other Starbucks patrons? Why
> can't I assume that everyone's handling
> their needs as they see fit, and is ready
> to deal with the consequences? People are
> as you find them.
You are not compelled, Crid. I am asking you in the context of this argument, this back-and-forth, that we are having. Of course you don't need to ring her. But I think we can be in agreement that everyone is NOT handling their needs as they see fit every moment of the day, otherwise this discussion would not be taking place. Or am I wrong?

> Whatiszis, PBS? Life isn't a purple Barney
> video, and we're not a "happy family." Our
> topic is courtesy and the boundaries we're
> each expected to observe.
I don't know what PBS is, Crid. I don't live in America. Yes, I agree with our topic. Was Amy courteous in her response to Eva? Was Amy courteous in not reading all of my posts, but just commenting on random sentences of mine? Amy was subject to rude behaviour. Why shouldn't she be courteous in her response?

>> everyone has their own
>> defitions of courtesy,
> Nope. Words have meaning, that's why they're useful.
Yes, indeed words do have meaning! Please tell me the page in the dictionary that lays out the rules for courteous behaviour on cellphones in restaurants. And the appropriate response to transgressions of same. Let me restate my position, because I can see that you're serious about your definitions. Everyone has learned their own responses about courteous and rude behaviour. In some places, burping after a meal might mean that you enjoyed yourself very much. I, on the other hand, might find that quite offensive. Which would be right, Crid? Multiply that by infinity, and you've got all the possibilities for social rude behaviour. Are you the correct person to consult about all those possibilities? And, in fact, everyone does have their own definitions of courteous behaviour. Again, the two are not mutually exclusive. There is a dictionary definition AND there is an interpretation and reaction that is different for everyone. Otherwise Eva's number would be up on a roomful of blogs, wouldn't it?

> "Everyone" doesn't have to share identical judgment
> for the behavior to be wrong. You did that same
> thing earlier with the "guarantee(!) me that
> someone will not harrass her" thing. (And that "me"
> is telling.) The telephone woman voided her own
> warranty.
Yes Crid. In my country, if a woman is adulterous, the mandatory sentence is that she is to be stoned. There doesn't seem to be any repercussions for the man, because of course he cannot be held responsible for his actions when he is subject to the advances of a beautiful woman. Not everyone thinks so, but it is wrong, hence the stoning penalty. Some might consider it a little extreme, but she voided her own warranty when she tempted the man; I mean, she had complete self control and he had none.

The above statement is, of course, false - I don't live in such a country. I live in Australia. However for the people that live in that country, that statement is 100% correct. I do actually find it amazing that you're referring to me as if I think that Eva's behaviour was not rude...by all accounts, it was. I'm simply trying to say that it looks like you and Amy are using Amy's interpretation as a baseline for absolute right, and that might not be the case - others might look at the behaviour, or these forum posts, and see them differently to you or I. You have stated that everyone doesn't have to share identical judgement for the behaviour to be wrong, but how wrong the behaviour is, is purely subjective! Some of the people in that room that day might not agree that the behaviour was wrong, and might not consider it so. Are you speaking for all of them? What if Eva wasn't actually speaking that loud, and Amy was just having a bad day? What if it was your number that was posted on the internet, Crid, because someone thought you were speaking too loudly? Would that be an appropriate response, because the one you wronged didn't want to approach you for fear of your reaction?

Why is that "me" telling? Please explain. I wouldn't want you to be reading something into my words that I didn't intend.

> Don't be wrong, it makes it easier!
And you are right, Crid? Isn't that a little narcissistic?

I look forward to my next severe beating at your hands, Crid. Amy seems to think that you're way in front, so you must be! :)

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2007 3:42 AM

As for the part of your logorrhea that I read:

Can you guarantee that no-one will harrass the family after your posting of Eva's cellphone number?

Can Eva? What if it wasn't me sitting next to her but a pedophile?

I don't have a child because I'm impatient, impulsive, and self-absorbed. Perhaps those who are thoughtless enough to dispense their telephone numbers and personal information loudly in public should, like me, think twice before having children as to whether they're qualified.

As for whether children are in the danger everyone seems to think they are, again, Barry Glassner wrote an excellent book. I suggest you read it instead of wrongly assuming there's a pedophile lurking around every corner.

Furthermore, there's too much of "do it for the children" in this society. If you have children, you parent them. And while you're at it, shut the hell up!

Mommy might do the best for her child by setting an example that other people's feelings matter. And maybe now, thanks to me, she will - at least in the cellular rudeness department.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 14, 2007 8:21 AM

As the comment above was posting I spotted another:

What if it was your number that was posted on the internet, Crid, because someone thought you were speaking too loudly? Would that be an appropriate response, because the one you wronged didn't want to approach you for fear of your reaction?

I'm laughing now...at the notion that Crid would be self-importantly shouting his personal information into the air in a café.

I wouldn't do it, either. What will people post about my public behavior? Chances are, some shocker like this: "This woman sitting next to me sat quietly reading the paper and eating her breakfast, pausing to ask the busboy what he did for new year's." It's called civilized social interaction -- talking to others present in lieu of ignoring others present and barking into your phone.

P.S. I spoke up and posted about this guy, too:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2006/04/its_like_jazz_o_2.html

Last week, thanks to a link to this entry, he made $500 for two of his drawings from a guy in France. We went to get him a bank account on Wednesday (so he can take PayPal), but the bank was too busy. (They're also giving him a hassle about not having more ID than a certified birth certificate and a California non-driver ID -- a Patriot Act thing.) I may have been such a pain-in-the-ass that they'll take what he has just so they won't have me on their case again. Let's hope.

In short, I live in an engaged way. Not everyone does. But, whether you're used to people engaging like I do or not, maybe it isn't such a bad thing. Again, I think Eva will finally learn the adult version of "Use your inside voice" thanks to me. If I'd merely asked her to pipe down, as I sometimes do, surely she'd be on her phone in the exact same loud way in some other cafe the same day or days later.

Oh, and others' phone conversations have made it to my blog as well. I'm just especially grateful when people shout a lot of personal information that they obviously want dispensed to the world.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 14, 2007 8:32 AM

> What was wrong with inadvertent

Cheats the what-did-you-expect factor. It's a shades-of-meaning thang. Goes to motive, your honor.

> So she did not intend
> for her number to

Again you return to her interior life. Let's turn up the voltage a few gazillion percent: That drunk driver didn't *mean* to take out that van full of 8th graders returning from their Christian retreat at Camp Feelmeup... He was just going about his weekend business and feeling distracted by the Dodger's game on the radio.

> this is not and has never
> been a question of law

It's a question of standards, so the mind always drifts towards law. Sorry.

> Multiply that by infinity...

...And you get paralysis. Here's another example:

> you like to take your perception
> and opinion and use it as a basis
> for how the rest of the world
> should work and act

They call that morality. But if we're not supposed to trust perceptions or opinion, and there are infinite combinations, then where are we expected to turn for guidance?

Aha!: "Can you guarantee *me* that...."

> Why shouldn't she be courteous
> in her response?

She didn't poke you in the eye with a stick. You came onto the blog she pays for and puts her name on, she can respond as she sees fit. If she didn't take this-or-that point from you, maybe they were weak points.

> tell me the page in the dictionary
> that lays out the rules

So *you* want to be legalistic as well?

> Everyone has learned their own responses... In some places.... I, on the other hand... everyone does have their own definitions... reaction that is different for everyone.... In my country... for the people that live in that country... is purely subjective!

You're confused about the nature of sophistication and cosmopolitanism. Some people have weird ideas about courtesy, thinking that you're not being courteous unless you surrender your position completely. (Friends who've done business in the Middle East and Asia say it's the root of their corruption: It's all about the abstract relationship and not the principles of exchange.) See this post from another favorite blogger: http://tinyurl.com/ox27r

One of my favorite aphorisms about lefty thinking came from that seminal political thinker of Reagan-era publishing, Lee Iacocca. Observing how rarely liberals seemed to want to ask anyone to face hardships or unpleasant responsibility on an individual basis, he said "Liberals want things to go great by accident."

Our hostess will sometimes take steps to guide events. You know, it's not like she overheard a credit card number in an emergency room and published that.

Posted by: Crid at January 14, 2007 8:37 AM

Thanks, Crid.

I, too, am a Colby Cosh fan. The essential quote from the piece:

the truth is, there's no greater popular misunderstanding about international relations than the one contained in the colloquial English-language connotations of "diplomatic". A diplomat isn't someone who is unfailingly polite; he's merely someone who is never unintentionally rude.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 14, 2007 8:52 AM

> As for the part of your logorrhea that I read:
>> Can you guarantee that no-one will harrass the family after your posting of Eva's cellphone number?
> Can Eva? What if it wasn't me sitting next to her but a pedophile?
Of course that would be Eva's responsibility, as I've said many times but you either refuse to read or don't understand. But yet again you've chosen not to answer my question. What, then, if the pedophile was not sitting next to her at the restaurant, but reading your blog? Again, do you deny all responsibility if harrassment of any sort arises from someone reading the number on your blog, as opposed to hearing it in the restaurant? It's a yes or no question, Amy.

I'm not interested in your views on children. Your behaviour has already been posted - in at least one newspaper article. Not your behaviour in the restaurant - that was above reproach. Your behaviour in posting her number. Will Eva think more about her behaviour in future? You don't know the answer to that, Amy, just like you don't know the answer to how many people will call her and what they might say. But you believe she will think twice, that she's learned her lesson. It's a reasonable assumption to make. I'm wondering, if she's learnt her lesson, why her number is still up on your blog.

I'm also laughing - that you chose to comment about the possibility of Crid behaving like Eva, but didn't actually answer the question containing that statement. It's a hypothetical; of course, Crid wouldn't act like that, and neither would you or I. But if we offended someone whose standards and sensibilities are different to ours, wouldn't you like to find out immediately rather than, say, from a stranger calling you up?

Amy, your work regarding Gary Musselman is outstanding. But it doesn't have anything to do with this. Now it's two books and two blog posts I've been directed to read, one of the blog posts from another blog written two years ago regarding John Bolton's diplomatic skills and the United States' position on the Security Council. Guys, we've got all that we need right here. As Crid has already said, it's about courtesy. It's about posting Eva's number on this blog.

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2007 6:32 PM

>> What was wrong with inadvertent
> Cheats the what-did-you-expect factor. It's a shades-of-meaning thang. Goes to motive, your honor.
But it doesn't stop you from asking, "what did you expect?" I understand your shades of meaning, but you're again trying to fit her actual intent into a legal framework. I don't know her actual intent either, but the simple asking of the question "what did you expect would happen if you talked so loudly?" does not invalidate her original intent, if indeed it was not to share the number. She was also irresponsible, and unthinking, and rude. Hence, she spoke her number loudly, and someone else picked it up.

> So she did not intend for her number to
>> Again you return to her interior life...
>> That drunk driver didn't *mean* to take
>> out that van full of 8th graders returning
>> from their Christian retreat at Camp Feelmeup...
If he didn't mean it, then he would be charged with vehicular manslaughter and not murder (I'm not sure what the equivalent American shades of murder / intent are - murder 2? 3?). What exactly do you mean by this? Is Eva now not allowed to have not intended to share her number?

> They call that morality. But if we're not
> supposed to trust perceptions or opinion,
> and there are infinite combinations, then
> where are we expected to turn for guidance?
Crid, you seem to be jumping from one side of the fence to the other. Yes of course we're supposed to turn inward for guidance. I stated that everyone has their own definitions, perceptions, reactions. You stated that no, words have meaning, that courtesy is a standard that we adhere to. I stated that there could be infinite definitions of courteous behaviour, depending on the situation - and the people in it. You tell me that we're supposed to turn inward. What is the actual point that I am not getting? We ARE supposed to trust our perceptions and opinions. What we shouldn't do is assume ours are the same as everybody else's, especially when we decide that we are going to act against someone else on the behalf of others.

> Aha!: "Can you guarantee *me* that...."
What is it with referring to myself in an argument, an exchange of ideas, between you and me? Am I not allowed to do that? Would you prefer if I referred to myself in the third person, or perhaps as 'one'?

> If she didn't take this-or-that point from you, maybe they were weak points.
Maybe she doesn't know the answer, or simply doesn't want to admit she's wrong about anything. Eva was an easy target. I would have thought my weak points were too.

>> tell me the page in the dictionary
>> that lays out the rules
> So *you* want to be legalistic as well?
No, I was actually espousing the view of individual interpretations of courtesy a couple of posts ago. You said "No, words have meaning. That's why they're useful." How am I being legalistic?

Crid, are you suggesting that I am practising sophistry with that statement about the customs of another country? No, that's just an extreme case - like your drunk driver before. I'm merely suggesting that you and Amy are painting yourselves as the compasses of courteous behaviour, and I am suggesting that somewhere, sometime, you will offend someone without knowing it - and I hope that they don't act like Amy has acted in response. Let's keep Messrs. Bolton, Rice, Iacocca out of this. Let's keep talking about courtesy, perception, standards, Amy and Eva.

> You know, it's not like she overheard
> a credit card number in an emergency
> room and published that.
Now you're trying to make me feel better about her behaviour by telling me what she didn't do. I mean, it's not like Eva turned around and spat in her coffee, is it? All she did was spoke loudly on the phone. I love it when people start applying standards to one side of the argument and not the other. It makes you look more credible than ever! Eva was very rude. So was Amy, in the posting of Eva's number.

Posted by: Peter at January 14, 2007 6:42 PM

Are you for real? You post these long winded idiotic comments, filled with sound and fury and very little logic.

What, then, if the pedophile was not sitting next to her at the restaurant, but reading your blog

You really are ridiculous. Saying somebody has a quiet child and publishing their phone number endangers their child how?

But if we offended someone whose standards and sensibilities are different to ours, wouldn't you like to find out immediately rather than, say, from a stranger calling you up?

Whose "sensibilities" say it's correct behavior to shout your private conversation in a restaurant where other people are quietly reading the paper and listening to classical music? This is not up for debate, as Crid pointed out. Come on, are there really people who go places where they can hear a lot of yelling in the early morning to help them digest their food?

My personal standard for behavior is as follows: I understand that I don't live alone in the world and I'd like to not disturb you with my behavior. It's libertarianism, essentially: My right to punch you in the nose ends where your nose begins. I do my best to drive very safely, and to pay close attention to the road, because I don't want to be responsible for injuring or killing somebody or destroying their property.

When I'm in a cafe, my phone never rings. It's always on vibrate. I understand that you probably want to read the paper and think your own thoughts, not be interrupted by some ridiculous ringtone. If there's a conversation I must have on my phone, I take it outside.

If my dog is outside and starts barking, I call her in immediately. My neighbors have a right to peace and quiet.

When I park, I do my best not to hog spaces so others have no room to park. Of course, my car is 1900 lbs and tiny, so it leaves plenty of room for others compared to gigundo SUVs.

I bought a Honda Insight (a Super Ultra Low Emission hybrid -- about 60mpg if there isn't a lot of traffic on the freeway and I don't drive too fast) so I would pollute as little as possible, and use as little gas as possible (especially in light of the young soldiers I see in the paper dying in Iraq). I use reusablebags.com at the grocery store for the same reason, as well as taking other measures to have as small a "footprint" possible on the planet.

FYI, your posts are too long, dull, irrational, and intellectually incoherent for me to read in their entirety. I'm always up for an intelligent debate, but I have a short attention span for stuff you're posting. You just don't seem to get it -- like about civilized behavior not being something that's up for a lot of debate. I'm sorry you don't, but interacting with you is like having a conversation with my dog.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 14, 2007 7:17 PM

> Am I not allowed to do that?

It would be neat to see evidence that your standards about these matters are based on something besides your own precious impulse. You've burned a short chapter of words explaining why Alkon's approach was wrong, but I still don't see it. It's got something to with how there are lot of people from many lands and different cultures with varying customs, and all of them have different ideas. Or something.

Posted by: Crid at January 14, 2007 7:28 PM

> Are you for real? You post these long winded idiotic comments, filled with sound and fury and very little logic.
Please include a warning on your blog quoting the number of words you are able to put up with. I assume you're thinking that it's common knowledge, like courteous behaviour in a restaurant. I share your views on that courteous behaviour but I'm not sure how long to make my posts. Is this it? Are we reaching the limit now? You don't read them all, Amy. How do you even know what they're filled with?

> You really are ridiculous. Saying somebody has a quiet child and publishing their phone number endangers their child how?
I don't know, Amy. The question was about harrassment of any sort. YOU just brought up the pedophile in a hypothetical. I extended that hypothetical to another relevant situation. You still didn't answer the question, that's probably about ten posts now without answers.

> Whose "sensibilities" say it's correct behavior to shout your private conversation in a restaurant where...
Again, I don't know. Not mine. I wasn't really referring to that situation, but you either can't seem to understand english or I'd gone over your personal word limit. For the umpteenth time, I AGREE that she behaved rudely - from your description and your description alone. It also sounds like other people in the room thought so. However I can't say that there wouldn't be someone, somewhere, who wouldn't be offended. Maybe even someone in that room. Did you check with them all, or just assume that you could speak for all of them and act on their behalf?

I'm not interested in your personal standard for behaviour. I didn't ask you about that. You just wrote 347 words about your own standards in response to....what? Two posts ago, you directed me to your excellent work with Gary Musselman... that post was nearly 2400 words. I read it all and understood it perfectly. My last reply to you, by comparison, was 344 words. And you're calling MY posts long, dull, and irrational? Yes, you have your right to that opinion. My posts may be dull but you've now replied to them eleven times, answered questions I haven't asked, repeatedly informed me that they go beyond your attention span whilst then asking me to read even longer posts of yours and informed me that I have lost the argument. Is that how you win arguments in general, Amy? "Sorry! Your point is too long. I win. Go read this book."

I'll finish off with the questions you seem to be scared of answering. Just three questions! I've asked them a number of times already. Just answer them!
1. Do you deny ALL responsibility if harrassment of any sort arises from someone reading the number on your blog, as opposed to hearing it in the restaurant?
2. If Eva has learnt her lesson, why is her number still up on your blog?
3. A number of people consider your posting of her number just as rude as her behaviour in the restaurant. Is more rudeness an appropriate response to rudeness?

Posted by: Peter at January 15, 2007 3:56 AM

>It would be neat to see evidence that your standards about these matters are based on something besides your own precious impulse. You've burned a short chapter of words explaining why Alkon's approach was wrong, but I still don't see it. It's got something to with how there are lot of people from many lands and different cultures with varying customs, and all of them have different ideas. Or something.

What should they be based on, Crid? What evidence would you like to see?

It's actually your problem that you can't see my meaning, not mine. Others seem to be able to. Amy accuses me of wordy crap, and irrational posts. You, by comparison, have managed to take our argument to Camp Feelmeup, a conversation between Tim Russert and Condoleezza Rice about John Bolton, Lee Iacocca, purple Barney videos, and accused me of narcissism, sophistication, lefty thinking, cosmopolitanism, and you seem to have an unnatural fascination with the legal framework into which we can jam this situation. It would be neat if you explained yourself in plainer english, I'm sure Amy would appreciate that as well. Regardless, I've attempted to answer all your points and questions. You and Amy seem to have attempted to make yourselves look like idiots with challenge-induced A.D.D, and if so, you've succeeded admirably.

Posted by: Peter at January 15, 2007 4:07 AM

> the number of words you are
> able to put up with.

Fer Chrissake, be wrong if you must, but be INTERESTING.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 5:42 AM

> I'm not interested in your personal
> standard for behaviour

She's a fucking advice columnist! Jesus Christ!

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 5:47 AM

Fer Chrissake, be wrong if you must, but be INTERESTING.

Exactly.

And I've answered your three questions numerous times above. I'm sorry if your ability doesn't go beyond shitting out blocks of text to reading comprehension.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 6:12 AM

Peter's many-thousands of words finally get summarized
as A number of people consider your posting of her number
just as rude as her behaviour in the restaurant. Is more
rudeness an appropriate response to rudeness?

He actually makes a good point. It's not polite.
Miss Manners is clear about when it's okay to respond to
rudeness with rudeness - never.

Nonetheless, I'll admit to a sneaky satisfaction at
this loudmouth getting her just deserts.

Posted by: Ron at January 15, 2007 6:23 AM

As I said, his questions have been answered myriad times above. For example:

As for my posting about this, do you think asking rude people to pipe down really has a great impact on their behavior? If they cared about other people's feelings, they wouldn't be shouting in a public place. With more and more people behaving as if this is perfectly acceptable behavior, it's clear that drastic action like mine is not only necessary but correct.

Miss Manners is clear about when it's okay to respond to
rudeness with rudeness - never.

I'm not Miss Manners. I really like her work, but she doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the cellphoning assclowns.

Why is it "rude" to print information a woman shouted into a public place?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 6:33 AM

> rudeness with rudeness - never.

This is the core value of the sort of liberalism that makes me ashamed to be a Democrat... This need to express how elevated they are relative to the uncouth masses (about whom they care oh-so-much).

Our instructor wants to be just bold enough to instruct the rest of us to be humble and mild. Perhaps there's a Pygmalion fantasy in it: "First I'll show them how to handle rude people at Starbucks, then we'll move to salad forks, and then I'll teach them to feel a sustaining love for *all* our planet's carbon cousins! We are the world! We are the children!"

Hence, "Can you guarantee me...." It's not about the phone caller at all.

If you don't care about sports don't go to ESPN.com. If you don't care about politics stay away from Atrios. Why bother an advice columnist if you can't be bothered to actually care about these things?

If anyone wants to go another round, I can do another hunnerd words on that "guarantee" thing. Takers?

Anybody? Raddy? Anyone?

No? Alrighty, then.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 7:24 AM

If anyone wants to go another round, I can do another hunnerd words on that "guarantee" thing. Takers?

I'm in.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 7:31 AM

This morning a friend talked about the Pillow Angel case, and we agreed that the critics of the parents are wrong. Specifically, some of them had argued that hysterectomy would only protect the afflicted girl from pregnancy, not from sexual abuse. But of course, the parents will do what they can to protect her from that, too.

This comes up all the time, I think disproportionately in liberal argument. 'Yeah, well the war in Iraq doesn't strengthen inner-city schools! No Child Left Behind doesn't protect our alpine forests!' And on and on. As if every policy has to make everything in the world work with perfect, riskless certainty. So when Amy's latte is interrupted by cellphone-barking woman at Starbucks in Los Angeles, she's expected to "guarantee" a stranger in a completely different hemisphere that her response will not be an inconvenience.

This technique turns up in dozens of forms in millions of arguments. I wish those who offered it would realize that there's never any good time to stop using it. It's not clever counter-intuition, it's infantile paralysis.

Shit, 180 words, point murky and late for work

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 8:08 AM

As if every policy has to make everything in the world work with perfect, riskless certainty.

It's not clever counter-intuition, it's infantile paralysis.

Unfortunately, one has to think to challenge these assumptions, and that's asking a lot of many people.

But, here, I'll try: All you detractors above, give a moment's thought to whether it's appropriate to shout on a cell phone in a public place. Forget whether you neeeeed to do so, but is it right to turn a public place into your private phone booth, dragging others into your business?

Because so few think (thought being the basis of coming up with a system of ethics), so many "think" it is appropriate to do whatever they please, everyone else be damned.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 8:32 AM

Why is it "rude" to print information a woman shouted into a public place?

Because she wasn't talking to you; she was talking to someone else. Your overhearing it amounts to eavesdropping. It's not that different from you posting what you happened to hear from the normal-toned conversation from the table next to you.

The shouting doesn't make it not essentially eavesdropping. It's even possible that she's somewhat hard of hearing and didn't realize her voice level (though it is much more likely her problem is being hard of thinking).

Posted by: Ron at January 15, 2007 11:32 AM

Normal-toned conversations aren't a new boundary violation in our society where people are being intrusive and oblivious in an innovative way. But cell phone distration is.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 11:44 AM

Again, people don't quite think things through before posting them.

To eavesdrop, a conversation has to be private. Once you begin shouting your conversation, you no longer have the presumption of privacy. In fact, you're de facto inviting people to use the information you're dispensing in whatever way they see fit.

I wouldn't post the conversation of people talking in normal tones of voice sitting next to me. This type of behavior is socially appropriate and to be encouraged. Anyone who is offended by people talking civilly to one another in a cafe is very likely mentally ill.

Do you understand the difference between interacting with another human being in a normal, everyday tone of voice and aggressing your personal business upon the person next to you who'd like to avoid hearing it but cannot?

Why is this suddenly something I have to explain to so many other adults? "Use your inside voice, not your outside voice!" Have we all turned into overgrown, underparented, bratty children? It seems so.

It's possible she's hard of hearing. (I love when people bring in the handicapped defense.) It's more likely she's hard of manners. Whatever she is, it's rude to make loud calls in a public place.

P.S. I've known a few deaf people in my time, and they've all been quite polite and socially appropriate.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 11:52 AM

The legal question of whether Ms. Burgess waived her expectation of privacy by her behavior is more complicated than commenters here have suggested thus far, primarily because California is a jurisdiction which recognizes a doctrine of limited privacy. For further blog discussion of that doctrine, and citation to other sources and authorities, see http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2007/01/wsj_cybershamin.html .

Posted by: Kaimi at January 15, 2007 4:37 PM

Holy shit!

Amy, *what were you thinking*??????

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 6:14 PM

>> Fer Chrissake, be wrong if you must, but be INTERESTING.
> Exactly.

My comments have been interesting enough for you to reply to.

> And I've answered your three questions numerous times above. I'm sorry if your ability doesn't go beyond shitting out blocks of text to reading comprehension.

No, you haven't. You've asked questions of your own. Your answer that you quoted above is actually a question about a possible other course of action that you didn't take. My answer to that question is that I don't know if it would have an impact, because you didn't do it. However similar action by me in the past has had an impact - it solved the immediate problem for me and the participants went on with their day.

While you're still posting, why don't you humour me? Quote those three questions and answer them. Two of them are even yes / no!

Posted by: Peter at January 15, 2007 6:44 PM

Another bad joke. Sorry...

Listen, nobody wants Amy to get sued. But we also don't want people being rude with cell phones.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 6:46 PM

> Why is it "rude" to print information a woman shouted into a public place?

Because she wasn't talking to you, as Ron said. I would suggest you and Crid read Kaimi's post above and the related link. I had previously assumed you knew your law, after you both spoke about it with such surety. It's clear you don't, and I thank Kaimi for an interesting discussion of the relevant legal issues.

We are entering a new era of social responsibility, with the advent of cellphones. We are also entering a new era of social responsibility, with the advent of the internet. Previously, you would have had to publish her information in one of your newspaper columns, or go and shout it on the street. I wonder if the editor of any paper you publish in would allow you to do that? If you wouldn't be ashamed to put that information in the paper, why don't you go ahead and do it now?

Regardless of the legal issues which, it seems, are quite real, myself and Crid seem to have agreed that Eva was unthinking and rude in the first instance. If someone IN THAT ROOM misused the number, that would be Eva's fault. But you then consciously took down the number, posted it on your blog which potentially made it available to millions of other people, and invited anyone and everyone to call her and school her in cell phone etiquette. It isn't your responsibility to school her in said etiquette but you took responsibility anyway when you recorded and posted her number. You don't know if your particular message will get through to her and you can't say how many people will call her or what they will say - and yet you were not unthinking at all. You thought about this quite a bit. You accept no responsibility for your conscious, intentional action in this and still place all responsibility on Eva, for WHATEVER happens. And as Kaimi reveals, her right to privacy might still exist in relation to the public disclosure of private facts. Quite a growing number of people are disagreeing with what you have done, but you don't seem to be dealing with the issue very well. Just about every poster, with or against you, myself included, agrees that Eva was rude and that this behaviour is not pleasant. What your opponents don't agree with is how you dealt with it. You made two important conscious decisions: 1. You knew it was intended to be a private conversation, but you collected the information anyway by applying a poorly informed legal argument to the question of Eva's implied intent. 2. You published the information in a forum available to an unknown number of people.

That's very irresponsible.

Posted by: Peter at January 15, 2007 6:48 PM

And check this out, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/faq-privacy.php

This is, indeed, a legitimate matter of public concern -- as is evidenced by the great number of people posting heated comments on this blog item.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 15, 2007 6:49 PM

> You don't know if your particular message
> will get through to her.

First, can you say anything quickly, or with sparkle?

Second, if there's no reason to assume the message will get back to the phone caller, there's similarly no reason to think damage was done or even risked.

Thirdly, knowing that you could find lawyers to argue each side of a case doesn't mean it's a slam for either of them.

Fourth, the license plate people are a better target, they look like a bigger enterprise.

Fifth, the chief concern for everyone is the discourtesy, not the law. The law was mentioned (presumptively, I concede) because we'd like to think someone somewhere is sorting this stuff out logically. We should have known this was not the case when Leykis took no hit for naming Kobe's accuser.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 7:19 PM

THE VIGILANTE TIMES


Reports out of cyberspace today reveal a significant enhancement to the lives of all rational thinking vigilantes with the appointment of Amy Alkon to the position of Chief Commissioner, Thought Police! The posting provides opportunity for Amy to use her latest invention, the Thinkatron. This device will allow the Thought Police to continue to condemn those insensitive creatures who negatively impact on the existence of privacy vigilantes by conducting their lives openly & brazenly. It will also allow the Thought Police to raid the minds of people everywhere in an attempt to rid them of any heinous decisions likely to injure the public atmosphere. Things like disciplining a child in a Supermarket, coughing at the movies & using the toilet on an airplane will be things of the past as the Thought Police protect us all from such diabolical torments.

When asked her thoughts on whether or not the Thought Police might be taking things too far, Ms Alkon said, “Hell no! In fact, I don’t think these new powers go far enough! I would like the opportunity to live exactly the way that I want to, without any interference from other inconsiderate creatures. Soon, I will be able to incarcerate barking dogs and exterminate whole religions who don’t think like me. Countries that bug me will cease to exist!

Thought Police Deputy Inspector Crid was today presented with his own personally inscribed, gold Thinkatron. “I’m honored,” said Crid. “Let me at ‘em, the damn narcissists!”

In other news, Amy Alkon was reprimanded in court today for failing to pay a parking ticket. “I didn’t agree with being given the ticket in the first place”, said Amy. The parking inspector issued the ticket due to Ms Alkon overstaying the allotted parking time as per the parking sign. “Well, I didn’t read the whole sign; I skimmed it!” said an annoyed Ms Akon “Wait until I get these independent thinkers with my Thinkatron! Crid! Heel boy!”

Posted by: JB at January 16, 2007 3:42 AM

>This is, indeed, a legitimate matter of public concern -- as is evidenced by the great number of people posting heated comments on this blog item.

I see where you're coming from Amy. I'd caution against placing your blog post squarely against that definition and leaving it at that, though. Like Rain stated in the comments section of the original blog entry, 'it is the debate over the privacy of one's number that is "of public concern" here, not the predicate facts themselves -- that is, ms. burgess's actual cell phone number digits. . .'.
That was MY concern when I came across this site from the newspaper reports - that you had published the number, not the number itself.

On the EFF page, here is the important quote:
"However, a court may look at whether the private fact is pertinent to an otherwise newsworthy story."
The private fact in question has not been pertinent to any news reporting of this story that I have seen, because it has not been featured in any. It is a central issue, but it is not my primary concern and it is not the primary concern of a growing number of contributors to this heated debate.

Rain's comments are concise, to the point, and they have sparkle! They're not light on logic, they're light on support for your arguments. I think that's a major issue for you, Amy, and it's probably why your feelings for me are clouding your replies. :)

Your quote from the other page on this issue: "nor do I need to ask her for permission to publish it."
That's now VERY debatable, Amy.

Posted by: Peter at January 16, 2007 4:46 AM

> First, can you say anything quickly, or with sparkle?
That's really up to your reading speed and definition of sparkle. How many of your problems are you expecting me to solve, Crid?

> Second, if there's no reason to assume the message
> will get back to the phone caller, there's similarly
> no reason to think damage was done or even risked.
I didn't say that. Please stop wording my arguments for me, try sticking to your own arguments. I'm saying that the treatment of Eva's number is out of Amy's hands now. There IS reason to assume the message MIGHT get back to Eva, because Amy invited her readers to call Eva and school her in the finer points of cellphone etiquette. There is also the possibility that someone might call up and threaten to
slice her throat, for example, which might be traumatic for someone to hear, would you agree? Now, if someone from the restaurant did that, like I have said about a dozen times now, that would really be Eva's responsibility. If someone who read her number on this blog did that, are you saying that Amy has no responsibility at all? Answer the fucking question for once!

> Thirdly, knowing that you could find lawyers to argue each side of a case doesn't mean it's a slam for either of them.
No, it doesn't. However you and Amy have previously stated with certainty that Eva has no legal recourse whatsoever - it was a slam for you guys a few posts ago. Even without any lawyers present, we can apply the facts of the case to the general formula provided to us in the EFF page and find that Eva's claim would most definitely be arguable. There is a reasonable possibility that, in a court of law, Amy would lose if Eva brought a privacy claim against her. Amy might not be able to see that - I think she only read the bits that had sparkle and stopped at the second paragraph.

> Fifth, the chief concern for everyone is the discourtesy, not the law.
Actually, my chief concern is Amy's irresponsible reaction. The law is shooting up the charts with a bullet, now that we realise how arguable Eva's case may be.

Just for a moment, let's push the legal arguments aside - Amy is referring to them every time she states that Eva gave up her right to privacy by shouting her number in public. Eva did not give ACTUAL consent to Amy to publish her number. I'm not talking about LEGAL consent here, I'm talking about ACTUAL consent. Amy consciously and carefully went about a course of action that put personal information about another human being onto the internet, where it otherwise would not have ended up. All legal arguments aside, behaviour like that offends MY sensibilities, more so than the original discourtesy, because it was intentional.

At least ONE of the responses on Amy's side of the fence demonstrates a similar cowardice : "As soon as I figure out how to block my outgoing number, I'm going to call her." Behaviour like that also offends my sensibilities. If this blog is widely read, then I'm interested to see just how many others think so too. I've mentioned this debate to only about five people. All of them think Eva was rude. NONE of them agree with Amy's response.

Posted by: Peter at January 16, 2007 4:54 AM

Don't be dull.

Posted by: Crid at January 16, 2007 6:11 AM

> First, can you say anything quickly, or with sparkle?
That's really up to your reading speed and definition of sparkle.

If people find you boring, entertain the possibility that it isn't because they're bad readers.

As far as whether people agree with what I did or not, I don't take a poll to figure out my course of action in a given situation. If you do, you have bigger problems than being exceptionally tedious.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 6:29 AM

because i think these
precedents are of some
relevance here, and because
california has a more developed
common law of privacy than the
jurisdictions generally referenced
in the electronic frontier foundation's
otherwise fine summaries. . .

okay -- and to stir the pot
a little more, here -- i offer these:

See Vassiliades v. Garfinckel's, Brooks Bros.,
492 A.2d 580 (D.C. 1985), where the
court held a plaintiff had a privacy
claim against those who disclosed that
she had undergone plastic surgery,
even though the plaintiff had told
her family and friends about the procedure
;
and see Huskey v. NBC, 632 F.Supp. 1282
(N.D. Ill. 1986), where the court held
that a prisoner who worked out in a
prison exercise cage had a reasonable
expectation of privacy against being
filmed for a television broadcast,
even though other inmates and prison
guards could see him exercising
. . .

any thoughts on the balance of
ms. alkon's response to the perceived
infraction of ms. burgess?

i'm all ears. . .

p e a c e

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 10:21 AM

Thanks, but I have Eugene Volokh's excellent book, "The First Amendment."

And as I wrote you when you sent me the exact same message by e-mail:

Thanks, but shouting information in public doesn't seem to be quite the same thing. I am impressed at how fiercely you stand up for the rights of those who hammer the rest of us. Perhaps my car thief has a case against me, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 10:31 AM

"hammer"?

did she threaten you?
did she assault you?

or did you (figuratively)
film her working out in
the prison cage, and broad-
cast it over the web. . .

f i g u r a t i v e l y

of course?

-- pax tecum

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 11:05 AM

They say George W. Bush usta type all his email without caps.

Posted by: Crid at January 16, 2007 11:07 AM

did she assault you?

Yes, noise pollution is a form of assault. Clearly, your notion of civilization is a lot less civilized than my notion. Let's leave it at that.

And thanks, Crid, for mentioning the no-caps. The little Latin bits at the end are equally annoying. The people who end snide little attacks with "peace" are probably the most hostile people of all.

P.S. I'm typically quite friendly, helpful, and pleasant -- until you roll up the social contract and start using it to try to puncture my eardrums.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 3:38 PM

now, now, let's try to hold
some perspective, here -- we're
asked (by you) to trust your advice,
ms. alkon, and that would
include trusting that you under-
stand the concept of balance. . .

you and i disagree about
where that balance might
be struck in this case. . .

so be it.

no need for personal invective.

p e a c e

to you too, Crid.

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 3:49 PM

Love YOU, Niblets...

Posted by: Crid at January 16, 2007 4:03 PM

As I wrote to you when you e-mailed me about Eugene Volokh:

eugene is a very reputable authority, nonetheless. . . did you ask him, personally?

i will, if you'd like.

I wrote back, unimpressed with your attempt to connect yourself to important people, but nevertheless irritated:

Now you're my mystery date? Please. How silly.

You're popular with LaShawn Barber, too. See below:

http://lashawnbarber.com/archives/2004/11/14/collide/

One of my resident trolls (who exhibits evidence of mental abnormalities) managed to slip this one through, but since the comment itself is not objectionable, I’ll allow it to remain. - Admin

Shouldn't you be off suing for defamation?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 4:08 PM

erh, gee -- that was entertaining.

but was it in any way relevant?

never mind.

see my latest email. and good luck
with ms. barber -- you two may
be a pair of peas in a pod. . .

p e a c e

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 6:59 PM

once more, with feeling this time:

. . .we're asked (by you) to
trust your advice,
ms. alkon, and that would
include trusting that you under-
stand the concept of balance. . .

you and i disagree about
where that balance might
be struck in this case. . .

so be it.

have you any relevant reply?

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 7:07 PM

Go find the shift key on your keyboard.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 7:08 PM

clever.

but non-responsive.

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 7:11 PM

This isn't school. I don't have to respond just because you ask a question.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 7:28 PM

true enough.

carry on -- or under,
or whatever, i don't care -- i am
no longer curious/amused/interested. . .

i thought there might
be a thoughtful dialogue
here -- on the close-call
questions presented by this fact-
pattern, as engineered
by your "self-help efforts"
in dealing with rude cell-
phone users.

i was mistaken.

but that's all jake.

as i said -- carry on.

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 7:47 PM

i thought there might
be a thoughtful dialogue
here -

There will be now.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 7:54 PM

thoughtful, indeed. . .

oh, you must mean
the kind of thoughtfulness
that comes from berating
everyone who doesn't
immediately agree with you
(a la the abuse heaped
on peter, above)?

Posted by: rain at January 16, 2007 8:08 PM

Abuse is fine here. I've gotten plenty of it myself over the years. When I make a mistake, I get bitchslapped hard by Crid, Rad, an others.

This is a free-speech site in terms of expression of one's views. What it isn't is a free-dull site.

Kindly shoo. You're not going to bore me into answering your questions, and while I'll tolerate the worst insults from people, and have, published here in my comments section, you're turning my site tedious, and that's not going to keep happening.

I understand completely why LaShawn has banned you. I'm minutes away from it myself.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 16, 2007 8:30 PM

It was rude to talk loudly on a cell phone in a public place.

It was rude to post her cellphone number.

You've repeated your statement about Eva's lost her right to privacy over her phone number and how your actions are defensible because she's lost them. But that's a fake use of law, because courtesy is not a legal issue, it's a social norm. so if you are accused of rudeness, law doesn't defend you.

You're really making a moral argument: that you owe her no politeness because she behaved rudely. From the way you treat people in the comments here, It seems that's your philosophy. Fair enough, but I think it's a bit small of you. I hope people have good manners regardless, and not waive them based on the situation.

Lastly, setting aside the fake legalisms, there is a material difference between speaking loudly in a public place and posting information on a website. In the first instance, the information is ephemeral, for the most part. In the second case, it definitely is not. The possibility for harm is higher in the second case, especially when it's posted with lots of negative commentary around it. Wackos abound, and re-broadcasting (in longer-lasting form than a phone conversation) someone's number on the internet is encouraging further bad behavior. It's something the EFF would not find desirable either, by the way.

Posted by: trouble at January 16, 2007 9:05 PM

Here's a thought Amy:

Get laid for chrissake....you might relax & enjoy life. Guess what, it's ok to conduct your life in public; sometimes, people get a bit loud. Gee, a pox on them! How dare they intrude on the existence of the inimitable Ms Alkon! You should come with a warning..."Beware! Frustrated uptight bitch here. DO NOT INTRUDE IN MY LIFE!" If your at a loss for getting laid, try Crid; he's definitely too anal for his own good.

Posted by: JB at January 17, 2007 5:26 AM

Get laid for chrissake

I'm sorry you aren't incisive or witty, but if that's the best you can do, perhaps you should avoid commenting.

Why does my insisting our society continue as a civilized one indicate a lack of sex in my life?

A hint: My business card reads "Godless Harlot," and you know how some people say "Never have sex on the first date"? My motto was always "Never have sex before the first date." Of course, when my boyfriend came to pick me up for our first date, we never managed to get out of my house.

So, let me just reassure you, the reason I'm doing this is that I'm tired of all of us being fucked, not because I'm not being fucked. Thanks so much though, for caring.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 17, 2007 8:19 AM

You are tired of being fucked??!! By what, or whom? A lady talking on a cell phone?? You really should have a glass of Chardonnay & lie down for awhile, with or without Crid. I find it difficult to perceive your reaction to an ACTUAL crisis in your life. Can you imagine actual trauma Amy? Someone close to you getting injured, or dying? Lose your job or all of your money or your house gets destroyed in a flood or fire? These are some things that you could lash out at & people would have some empathy. Listen again...she was talking loudly on a cell phone somewhere near you!!
Your reaction was to unleash fury & scorn upon her remotely. You didn't ask her to tone it down a bit. A mildly extreme reaction?

Posted by: JB at January 17, 2007 6:37 PM

"fury & scorn?" What hav eyou heard from her?

Posted by: Crid at January 17, 2007 7:17 PM

Why should life be constantly unpleasant because some people lack manners? No, it isn't Darfur, but like when my parents used to say, "Be glad you have two arms and two legs," well, yes, but can't we go beyond that point?

And again, why must I police (ie, personally interact with) the dozens of other adults that I encounter in my daily life who behave as if they're the only ones on the planet, foisting their irritating conversations on the rest of us. Constant noise pollution doesn't make for a planet of pleasant citizens.

Perhaps you don't think it's a problem when somebody goes up to a cashier barking into their phone, treating the person like a machine, not even a hello...but I do. It's an ugly way to live and I want no part of it. My way of wanting no part of it is a little more engaged than some people's. If it doesn't work for you, don't adopt it.

But why the rage? Are you, perhaps, one of these loud narcissistic assholes? If it's so unimportant, why explode.

As for what is going or has gone on in my life or those of people I know, it's irrelevant to this issue, and none of your business.

Furthermore, I don't want people to have empathy for me. I want people to shut the hell up in public.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 17, 2007 7:48 PM

Furthermore, regarding the crack above about Crid, this blog isn't some forum for a bunch of worshipful dittoheads. Sometimes Crid agrees with something I say or do, sometimes he thinks I'm wrong. He speaks his mind either way. Is this really so hard for you to fathom? It's called intelligent debate. Stick around and you might see some, and in time, perhaps even learn to foster some.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 17, 2007 8:56 PM

ACTION: Loud telephone call in a restaurant that annoyed you
REACTION: Humiliation & publishing of the person's private telephone number on the Internet for any number of inappropriate consequences
I wonder what the reasonable man would say to that?
As for you & Crid, I don't have any beef with your Dominatrix V Lapdog relationship. You Go Girl!

Posted by: JB at January 18, 2007 12:14 AM

Which is which?

Posted by: Crid at January 18, 2007 12:46 AM

well --

ms. alkon, you certainly were
right about one thing -- the
quality and scholarship of
the discourse here has vastly
improved during my absence. . .

[vanishing now. . .

just could NOT resist. . .]

Posted by: e.e. cummings at January 18, 2007 7:34 AM

some sound advice, from
a very sound source, on taking
life's little insults in stride:

". . .Alkon: (Greek philosopher) Epictetus said, essentially, change the way you think and you'll change the way you feel. If you can't control somebody else's behavior, you need to just say, "gee, that's disappointing," accept it, and move on. It doesn't make sense otherwise, and it is anti-life, in essence, because you�re not moving your life forward.

MT: Right. And we don't have control over other people, anyway, only our reactions to them.

Alkon: But people think they do -- or think they should. They think someone should behave a certain way. Don't say "should." They're not treating you this way, so deal with it!. . ."

full text:

http://www.metrotimes.com/20/11/Features/culGoddess.htm

Posted by: e.e. cummings at January 18, 2007 7:52 AM

I'll be right behind Crid to get you to autograph this book. You do what I think, Amy!

Several hours reading the whole saga after LAObserved linked you...

Loved the guy who typesets as if he is a poet, even if he doesn't write like one.

And Peter, Peter, Peter. I read everything you wrote. The first time. Second. Third. Started to skim. Skipped. Laughed. Peter, you HAVE read a certain book, haven't you? There's a technique in a well-known behavior book that I forget the name of, but the technique is called broken record, where you just repeat your request over and over, in a polite way. My friend used to practice it with me when she asked a neighbor over and over to turn his music down. Eventually it worked! But will it work on Amy....?

Posted by: Donna B. at January 19, 2007 2:55 PM

Hi Amy. I visted your site about a year ago after seeing a mention in some entertainment publication, and LOVED your bit about SUVs. I'm back now because I saw you mentioned (and in person) on Friday's Nightline in their segment on "blogslapping" (great term.)


I share your disdain and contempt for people yakking loudly on their cell phones in public. I think it's rude and is, unfortunately, typical of the inconsideration and self-indulgence that seem much more prevalent in society today.


Furthermore, I happen to like the idea of public shaming. I see that a number of people have pointed out, correctly, that you could have said something to Ms. Burgess. However, while that may have caused her to think twice about yakking loudly on her cell phone in a cafe the next time, it's only going to act as a (possible) deterrent to her, not to other boorish cell phone users. Your approach may cause others to think twice.


That being said, I think you could have accomplished your goal of public shaming without listing her cell phone number. Just mentioning her by name, I feel, would have been sufficient to get your point across (although I realize you probably think differently.)


On a related note, I loathe seeing people yakking on their cell phones while driving. You can't hear them, as in the case of Ms. Burgess, but their actions are more dangerous since I believe they pose a very real danger to others with their lack of total attention on driving. We had a incident in the Seattle area about two years ago where a woman yakking on her cellpone and speeding (and driving an SUV) rear-ended a car that was stalled on a freeway (cars ahead of her managed to swerve out of the way.) The car burst into flames and the family of four inside was killed. She denied being on her cell phone at the time but records obtained by the State Patrol showed she was lying. Regardless, the prosecutor didn't think there was enough evidence to charge her with manslaughter or willful negligence so she ended up with some slap on the wrist like a $75 fine.


So, I understand your annoyance at Ms. Burgess' rudeness but at least her self-indulgence didn't kill you.

Posted by: Jim at January 22, 2007 4:26 PM


So, I understand your annoyance at Ms. Burgess' rudeness but at least her self-indulgence didn't kill you.

This woman nearly did:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2006/08/closecall_calle.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 22, 2007 11:59 PM

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