You Delude Yourself If You Believe in Chivalry
Walsh, John, The Independent (London, England)
Has chivalry died out, or is it alive and kicking online? Michelle Dockery - Lady Mary in Downton Abbey - told Radio Times how she regrets that the courtesy towards women displayed by chaps in the fictional 1910s has died out: "Men standing when women arrive at the dinner table... opening doors for you. It's lovely when you see a man doing that. But young men wouldn't think about that because it's not the culture any more." Hmmm.
I think Michelle is in denial about the Downton days. As millions of viewers know, Lord Downton (Hugh Bonneville) may be a whizz at the standing up and the door-opening, but his instinct last Sunday, when alone with a widowed maid, was to snog her unceremoniously beside the decanted burgundy. And I don't remember much in the way of parfit gentil knightly conduct when the Turkish diplomat in Series One arrived in Lady Mary's bedroom to offer her a midnight shish kebab. Or do we think chivalry was exclusively an English thing? (It was French actually - the word comes from "chevalier" or horseman.)
Anyway, chivalry is no longer with us, Dockery said. Yes it is, retorted Emily Maitlis, the newsreader (pictured below) with the golden tan and startlingly mad eyes. People are always ready to help her "to sort out a computer glitch or a misdirected printer". She sees "updated chivalry" in the speed with which people reply to emails and in the flood of replies she gets to requests on Twitter.
I'm delighted, of course, that Emily has helpers (I'm imagining lots of geeky men in BBC2 T-shirts) but she's confusing chivalry with simple generosity here.
Technically adept people, men or women, are usually kind-hearted enough to help the cack-handed find their way around an …
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Publication information: Article title: You Delude Yourself If You Believe in Chivalry. Contributors: Walsh, John - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 3, 2011. Page number: 20. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.