Behaving Ourselves: Mitchell on Manners
If you have spent any time among the English, you will have observed their deeply-felt preoccupation with manners, and probably, at some point, been aware that you have failed to behave correctly in your dealings with them (we recall, with fresh horror, dithering between a one- or two-cheek kiss, and the awful hesitations and lunges that resulted). In this mini-series, Englishman David Mitchell - fans of Mitchell & Webb and/or the weird and excellent Peep Show will know him well - explores the ways in which manners develop over time (spoiler: the upper classes invent ever-more-nuanced rules by which to thwart us), the biased lens through which we view the manners of other cultures, and the new rules we are establishing for the technology that absorbs us. Quintessentially awkward and darkly funny, Mitchell has a knack for politely skewering just about anything - including, in this case, politeness itself.
Those of you in the UK can hear these five 30-minute episodes via the BBC Radio app, the rest of us via the Radio 4 website. For best effect, enjoy indoors, with a strong cup of tea.
Gateway episodes: Episode 1: A Bit of History (4 Jan 2016) / Episode 4: The Golf Club (4 Jan 2016)