Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Calling Cards

I have enjoyed the variety of newer commenters who have found their way over to Shelley's House (not that I didn't appreciate the commenters I already had).  I have the impression that, with some bloggers, if I leave a comment on their blog they will respond by coming over and leaving a comment on mine.   It doesn't work that way with all bloggers, but I seem to have stumbled onto a group for which it does, which is a lot of fun!

Buy It Now for Only $399

Aside from all this gadding about, I've spent large parts of the last week visiting Susan Tiner's blogs, Style Made by Hand  and her old one Financial Organising Dreams.  I feel as though I've returned to university, being introduced to so many ideas I've never before considered.  Some of the concepts strike my simple mind as fairly subtle, so I feel a bit out of my depth, but I still enjoy trying to understand even if I don't quite.  She writes about many things that interest me:  sewing, finding one's own style, her experience of growing up in the 60s and 70s (she's two years younger than I), genealogy and the mysteries of family stories.  She also writes about and links to articles about social class in America and about American values about money.  One of Susan's posts about Money Taboo - Filthy Lucre was particularly interesting as it referred to Emily Post's book on Etiquette from the 1920's, a glimpse into another time and way of life that I always find fun, and because I'd just read about Carolyn's having second thoughts about writing about the cost of the outfits she was sewing.

A steal at $550

Reading in Post's book about the rules of etiquette around the custom of leaving calling cards made me think of this recent exchange of comments on blogs.  Oddly, however, I must admit that when I opened Blogger one morning to find 8!!! comments to be 'moderated' my first thought was to wonder if I was in trouble!  Had I offended someone who was now haranguing me or had I attracted the unwanted attentions of a persistent spammer?  Very happily they were all nice comments from real bloggers, returning my visits, just as returning visits, with the appropriate coding of cards, was done by some in the past.

The idea of social class and the British idea of 'knowing one's place' came to my mind some time back when I found myself reacting negatively to a comment left on a blog I read fairly regularly.  It seemed to me at the time that the commenter was being sniffy and dismissive about the blogger's frugal ways.  The blogger didn't seem to take offence, so I thought I shouldn't either, but I struggled with it all.  The commenter writes a blog of a completely different genre, about luxury items and such.   The comment seemed inapproriate in the same way that any lecture I might leave about being frugal on a blog devoted to celebrating the more exuberent end of consumerism would be.  It struck me that if one is going to cross class or culture online, one should be extra considerate of the different viewpoints.  I found myself mentally muttering about 'folks knowing their place'!    Isn't blogland crackers sometimes!?  Or maybe it's just me being a bit mental.

Of course the widespread opportunity to improve 'one's place' is why many Brits say that the class system has gone and why some American's don't believe there is a class system in the US; I'm not so sure about that now.   The New York Times articles on Class Matters are quite revealing.  (One can read up to 20 articles for free per month.  I'm looking forward to picking up my reading again in February!) 

Anyhow, reverting to an age old love, the origin of words, I found this explanation in Post's book about the source of the term etiquette, yet another reason why the French seem to exert so much influence on our ideas of elegant living.

To the French we owe the word etiquette, and it is amusing to discover its origin in the commonplace familiar warning—"Keep off the grass." It happened in the reign of Louis XIV, when the gardens of Versailles were being laid out, that the master gardener, an old Scotsman, was sorely tried because his newly seeded lawns were being continually trampled upon. To keep trespassers off, he put up warning signs or tickets—etiquettes—on which was indicated the path along which to pass. But the courtiers paid no attention to these directions and so the determined Scot complained to the King in such convincing manner that His Majesty issued an edict commanding everyone at Court to "keep within the etiquettes." Gradually the term came to cover all the rules for correct demeanor and deportment in court circles; and thus through the centuries it has grown into use to describe the conventions sanctioned for the purpose of smoothing personal contacts and developing tact and good manners in social intercourse. With the decline of feudal courts and the rise of empires of industry, much of the ceremony of life was discarded for plain and less formal dealing. Trousers and coats supplanted doublets and hose, and the change in costume was not more extreme than the change in social ideas. The court ceased to be the arbiter of manners, though the aristocracy of the land remained the high exemplar of good breeding.

A bargain, at only $295

And just so I can have pretty illustrations to attach, I've visited eBay to share photos of calling card cases which, surprisingly, are more common on than on


Beryl said...

Interesting and fun post. I especially loved the pictures of the Calling Card Cases. I find that very few of the blogs I comment on even read, much less comment on, my blog. I love getting comments, but understand the difference between a clever, researched, and well photographed post (such as this one of yours) and my usual musings. In case none of your readers know, I must say you write comments that are just as good as your posts - witty and interesting, with cute stories and several points being made.

Shelley said...

Dear Beryl - Can we please be best friends!? Thank you so much for the kind words. I, too, leave loads of comments on other blogs which are rarely acknowledged. Mind, I find it quite difficult to go back and find my comments (particularly when I discover a new blog and read through many of the older posts) to see if they've had replies. Someone needs to write an Etiquette Book about where and when to have these comment-conversations! (ha) I like your blog just fine, in fact I think it is very like mine - I'm just more long-winded!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Shelley:
What appeals to us most about blogging is the development of a dialogue with our readers. Hence, the leaving and answering of comments is an integral part of the process. We are certain that if Emily Post were still alive, she would definitely have something to say about blogging etiquette!!

The card cases you show here are very pretty. How lovely it would be to have a collection of them.

We have so much appreciated the comments which you have left on our blog and to which we have replied on each. It would be lovely to have you as a Follower too.

Susan Tiner said...

Hi Shelley, I'm so glad to have to found a fellow blogger interest in social class and its implications.

Thank you very much for the mention of my new and old blog and the link to that old post on Money Taboo.

I love the idea of blog commenting being similar to the custom of leaving calling cards! I too get frustrated when I make the effort to read a blogger's new and older posts, get to know them and their writing, but visit again only to discover the blogger hasn't replied to my comments let alone returned the favor of a visit. It occurred to me to write about it but other bloggers have already written quite a bit about it, the upshot of the discussions is that some bloggers treat their blog as a creative outlet, not necessarily a social one, whereas other are primarily interested in interacting. I'm interested in interacting, getting to know people around the globe. To keep sane, I try to interact over a period of several weeks and if I never get a response and/or visit back I stop commenting. Time is too precious to prioritize commenting on non-responsive blogs. I might still read posts occasionally, depending on my level of interest, but I don't comment. There are a couple of rare exceptions, non-responsive blogs I read and comment on anyway, but that's it.

I LOVE the post back story on etiquette! What fun. I'll have to share this post with Martin.

The calling card cases are beautiful, thank you for sharing the photos.

Rick Stone said...

I think Calling Cards are pretty much a relic of history, at least as far as in a social setting. On the other hand, anyone and everyone in business has a stack of "Calling Cards" (read: Business Cards) in his/her pocket. Also, it seems when dealing with someone they never just give me one of their cards but several. I guess they think I'm going to distribute the things for them.

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I believe Calling Cards were mentioned in the "Let's Bring Back" book I read earlier this month. How fun!!

I always appreciate when you stop by my blog and leave comments, and I find your blog very informative and witty. I like to support other's blogs but if people don't respond to commenters, it's a bit of a turn-off for me.

Shelley said...

Dear Jane and Lance, I have noted that you have a spectacular number of comments on your blog, both because of and as a result of your responding to each and every one. This, along with your seriously elegant style of writing, gives your blog a very 'Olde Worlde' feeling, like stepping back to a time where manners were more in evidence. I have resisted being a Follower of any blog using that particular tool and I haven't put a blog list on my blog because it is so embarrassingly long. I am a clutterbug by nature and have done my best to keep this blog as uncluttered as I can bear to. I have devised another blog that is only blog lists, which is a bit awkward owing to my limited understanding of Google/Blogger at the time. Your blog is on a list waiting to be added to it, but I have visited yours many times and am certain I shall continue to do so. I'm so very envious of your second home in Hungary!

Shelley said...

Dear Susan, I have to say that your blog has re-introduced me to the limits of my intelligence and reminded me of how little experience I really have in certain areas. It is an enriching process but also rather humbling. Still, I suppose there are useful applications for the phrase 'no pain, no gain'! Thanks so much for stopping by. I shall certainly be returning to your blog.

Shelley said...

Dear LR, I've probably been called 'informative' before, but I'm certain no one has ever blessed me with 'witty'. Thank you very much. Some blogs are so fascinating, I shall visit just for my own pleasure. Others are quite interesting as well, but the main gift is a feeling of 'connection' with the blogger. This whole 'social networking' thing is great fun. I've not become terribly involved with Facebook nor do I ever imagine me 'tweeting' (if 'blog' is an ugly word, surely 'tweeting' can be called silly? I feel as though this blog is becoming something different to what it was, but what that is, I can't yet tell...

Anonymous said...

I had not known the origins of etiquette. Susan's post on class sent me off to read Paul Fussell's entire book. Americans do have a class/caste system, but we are too "polite" to discuss it most of the time. I always like Susan's posts, but I also silently cheered when I saw the comment you left at Carolyn's post.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the post. And what lovely card-cases!

I do hope that courtesy doesn't become extinct.

Suburban Princess said...

I do my very best to reciprocate when someone comments...sometimes they just don't have anything for me to comment on. Fortunately you write such an awesome blog it's easy to have replies!

I loved you explanation of the 25.00 discount ;o)