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April 2000

On the Nature of Civility

Arch Surg. 2000;135(4):395. doi:10.1001/archsurg.135.4.395

RECENTLY, I noted at the bookstore a publication entitled A Gentleman's Guide to Toasting.1 In browsing through this brief communication, it brought back memories of several recent frustrating and embarrassing moments during banquets of prestigious surgical society meetings. I have always admired the civility of our Canadian colleagues who rise and proudly toast their queen with great sobriety and dignity, notwithstanding royal family activities. It is of increasing concern that our associates on similar occasions have chosen to exhibit something less than civility to the president of our United States. Although not a frequent occurrence, a single instance is inappropriate for our surgery culture. For many, it does not sustain the conviviality for such joyous social occasions. Expressions of humor, sarcasm, and ridicule in toasting the president have been recently expressed by several of our admired colleagues, even a Nobel laureate.

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