November 9, 2005

Britain’s punctuation cop turns ire on bad manners

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When it comes to bad manners, today's
society is pretty much a hopeless case, author Lynn Truss says.

That didn't stop her front ranting about it in her latest
book, "Talk to the Hand," a self-described "moral homily" that
attacks rudeness the same way she critiqued bad punctuation in
her 2003 best-seller "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."

"Please" and "thank you" are endangered in the public
discourse, she writes in her new work, increasingly drowned out
by inane mobile phone chatter, dismal customer service and the
vulgar epithet she writes as "Eff Off."

"I say in the book that I have a flame of hope (that
manners will improve) but it's very, very, very small," she
told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, the day after her
book came out.

"Eats, Shoots & Leaves" sold 3 million copies worldwide,
its publisher said. Seizing on that success, Gotham Books has
rushed out "Talk to the Hand," which Truss calls "a big,
systematic moan about modern life."

The New York Times called it "a thin and crabby diatribe"
in a book review, adding, "The author may have been good for
only one book-length conniption."

In any case Truss said writing her 206-page rant was

"It really, really made me feel better," she said. "I don't
know whether I've just dumped it all onto my readers, which
could be the case. I may have made everybody else feel bad in
the process but I've made myself feel much better."