“Behaving like asses”

We can at once test the ethics of publicity by removing it from public life; by merely applying it to private life. What should we think, at a private party, if an old gentleman had written on his shirtfront in a fine large flowing hand: ‘I am the only well-bred person in this company’? What should we think of any person of taste and humour who went about wearing a placard inscribed ‘Please note quiet charm of my personality’? What should we say if people gravely engraved on their visiting card the claim to be the handsomest or the wildest or the most subtly, strangely attractive people about town? We should not only think, with great accuracy, that they were behaving like asses… we should also think they were wantonly reversing and destroying a principle of social amenity and moral delicacy. Yet modern business, especially in America, does really enforce this sort of publicity in public life.

– “The American Ideal”, in On Lying in Bed.

[original source unknown (to The Hebdomadarian)]

Published in: on May 9, 2007 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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