MODERN MANNERS: AN ETIQUETTE BOOK FOR RUDE PEOPLE
by P.J. O'Rourke; Atlantic Monthly Press; 281 pages; $16.95
According to Balzac, "Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation." According to P.J. O'Rourke, "Manners are a way to screw people over without their knowing it." Although 150 years separate the master novelist from the Rolling Stone nihilist, their contempt for social artifice is identical. The difference, of course, is that one of them has a savage comic flair. The other one wrote in French.
Surrounded by sacred cows, O'Rourke lives on a diet of hamburger. He considers it bad form to criticize one...