The Nobel Prize doesn’t always elicit the most noble appreciation from recipients, notes Meghan Daum, who gently chides Japanese physicist Toshihide Maskawa for calling the prize "mundane" this week. “It seems that old-fashioned graciousness is now considered yawningly mundane,” Daum writes in the Los Angeles Times. She extends her lament over lost gratitude to Oscar winners who go on political diatribes and a VP nominee who prefers to thank God rather than the voters who put her in office.
Phony graciousness, sarcasm, or a lot of hot air seem to be all we get from public honorees. Blaming a competitive culture and fear of failure for creating a world of ingrates—"or maybe we just have bad manners"—Daum champions a renewal of “the two most important, and underused, words in the English language: thank you. Dull, yes. But somehow they always get the job done.”