1) When one is young and dumb, one thinks that decorum, etiquette and (to summarize it) the Form (of social association, conversation etc.) is for others, and just there to be ignored, ridiculed and maybe “transgressed” (yep, if you are an intellectual snob. I confess to have been a terrible snob. The step to slob is small I guess.).
Later one will start to make concessions, possibly because one understands that the constant kicks in the derrière are directly related to terrible behaviour; depending on individual factors, this may take some time.
In a later stage of life one may come to the realisation that Form (besides money and emotion) is the glue that keeps our civilisation together; that what we call culture, “Kultur”, is in fact (among other things, depends of your point of view) a well-balanced construction regulating inclusion and exclusion for example by the Form, it’s performance and participation. (Emotion may fissure Form. Or strengthen it.) This is only a very bad translation of something I formulated in German when I tried myself on a definition on culture – it was not successful of course; and a long time ago.
Nevertheless, over the course of your life (at least over the course of MY life) one (= Me) understands that the Form is not only necessary, but essential. I am often criticised for not following the Form, not looking professional enough for example, and I confess that I (still) take liberties. But only and strictly in relation to myself, not in relation to others who are in some way linked with me. At least that is my line of argumentation.
2) Let’s assume you take part in a yearly gathering. It’s a bit specialised, for people who run a certain kind of institution (like f.e. an archive or a museum or a library or something like that) in a defined geographical area; you are associated with this group because you know some of them from the days of study and because you are working in this field; whatever you are doing, you are one of them. I think you got what I mean.
You went to these congregations for some time, annually, and saw different places and different ways how the yearly host presented himself. Sometimes it may have been a bit “over the top”, too much culinary effort and less intellectual input; or maybe the host was in charge of a really beautiful building or surrounding area – and relied a bit too much on the outer splendor, and less on the inner enlightenment – anyway: What you always found was a minimum of civilised form, even in the smallest and poorest venue.
3) Its held in the central museum of the region, the directrice is mentioning the importance of her house in the first sentence. It’s in one of the main halls of the house, with its widely known difficulties regarding sound and speaking (it’s all stone!); nevertheless, one of the most representative places; sometimes the university uses it for her gatherings. It’s a common thing that in the middle of the morning there’s a coffee break.
It’s not a common thing that two plastic jugs of coffee are stored on a ramshackle camping table (!), that you have to grab a cardboard cup – courtesy of Coca Cola – and a pasteboard for a piece of junk cake that you finally have to eat with your fingers because the plastic forks are all out.
Then you listen to a “presentation” of a “Referent” who is too dumb to start video sequences and soundbites while he is referring about “new media in museums” – but it’s eh’ für’n Arsch, because the man talks that fast, without noticeable accentuation right into the absolutely nonsensical microphone (It’s all stone here, remember? So you absolutely NEED a BIG speaker, yeah!) so that nobody has a real chance to understand what he “says”. No riot, simply because he’s “the important man from Munich”, and everybody has plans to enter the bloke afterwards over lunch. And everybody wants it to end asap.
Two ladies speak (keeping good distance from the microphone); it makes sense; and after ten minutes it’s over.
Finally the lady of the house clomps up. She speaks. It’s better than what I heard some years ago; technically better, because she learned a) to open her dumb mouth and form a sound, and b) to accept and embark herself on the circumstances. But what she said … a colleague and me were looking at each other in sheer horror (on my side) and quiet resignation (on his side). Truths were revealed. New media may consume time. It may cost *argl* money! And when you decide to use applepear, you are bound to use applepear for the rest of your life.
I really ask myself on what planet this person lives. I guess she never returned from a camping trip. Dame Maggie Smith says in a small film (80s?) about someone: “Yes, you are right. You are not someone. You re some thing.” I’m sorry, I could not find it.