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Thou shalt not smirk

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Neither shalt thou use body language in general:

A raised eyebrow, loud guffaw, smirk or other facial expressions could all be banned in future political debate under rules proposed for the city council of the Californian city of Palo Alto. In a bid to improve civility in the town’s public discourse, a committee on the city council has spent hours debating guidelines for its own behavior.
“Do not use body language or other nonverbal methods of expression disagreement or disgust,” a new list of proposed conduct rules reads.
Another rule calls for council members to address each other with formal titles followed by last names, formality not always practiced in laid-back California.
“I don’t want to muzzle my colleagues,” councilwoman Judy Kleinberg, who headed the committee that drafted the rules, told the San Jose Mercury News. But “I don’t think the people sitting around the cabinet with the president roll their eyes.”

Quite how Ms Kleinberg and her committee intend to prevent people from using body language, short of taking people’s bodies away from them, is not explained.

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About James Russell

  • http://saratogalife.blogspot.com Kate Sherrod

    Oh good god, I hope none of my colleagues on our town council (I’m one of four councilmen, plus there’s a mayor) hear about this. There is one guy on our council who is collossally clueless and is always bringing up matters five minutes after we’ve voted on them.

    Eyeball rolling doesn’t begin to cover it.

    We’d all be in trouble.

    But indeed, how enforceable is such a policy? Who decides what is a smirk and what is a smile?

    Don’t these people have anything better to do than snipe at each other over facial expressions?

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Why is it I see a whole bunch of people wearing hockey masks like Mike Meyers? You should check out the council meetings in St. Johns, they are a regular on CBC radio.