"When You Have Been President of the United States, Everyone Knows It. You Can Afford To Be Modest."


In this week of presidential pomp and circumstance, with former presidents thick on the ground, some words of wisdom from Miss Manners. After noting that George Washington had a slight preference for "His High and Mightiness" over the more egalitarian "Mr. President," she writes:

One might have thought that the world had grown somewhat more casual since the 18th century. And a lot less interested in honorifics. But apparently we have also been growing more pompous. We now have four living former presidents addressing one another as Mr. President, and a citizenry worried that it would be disrespectful to follow George Washington's rule.

Read the whole protocol primer here.