Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2019, Butlers In the Media

Steven FerryButlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry


Modern versus Traditional

One of our own made a comment on social media this month, positing an old-fashioned idea that ran straight into a brick wall of political correctness, as well as modern expectations. I quote one response that relished casting him in a poor light.

“For some reason, [name deleted] decided to remind his followers that ‘a Lady never looks at the bill.’ Primarily this is because, when you’re a former butler for the royal family, the done thing is to spend the rest of your life making inappropriate comments to the media. Case in point: Paul Burrell. But back to [name deleted]. Look, he’s pretty proud of his pedigree. So proud, in fact, that his Twitter handle is literally @TheRoyalButler. Firstly, a little bit of background: he worked for Prince Charles from 2004 to 2011 and now considers himself an “etiquette expert.”

To equate our colleague’s innocent statement of etiquette with Paul Burrell’s continued betrayal of confidences is, well, typical of critics who want to make nothing of others, as opposed to simply presenting facts in order to improve conditions and concourse.

At the moment, about 50% of people agree with our colleague’s policy statement, the rest disagree simply because times have changed and women are as much a part of the work force and paying their way as men. But is this necessarily a good thing, that women become like men and men become increasingly feminine? Is it a good thing that ideas of chivalry be cast aside, that men do not defer to women as the fairer and gentler sex?  Certainly some among the younger generations become quite rabid at the expression of such an old-fashioned idea. Yet Western culture has long recognized that men should not use force to have their way over women, something they can easily do, given their (generally) greater strength/body mass.

The general drive to wipe out the Western culture and its norms is being replaced by what? Certainly not civility and a search for greater truths.

Our colleague bucked this trend and hopefully has not walked away too bruised or disabused of his finer thoughts and instincts.

If there is one suggestion I might make, it is to skip posting on, and following, virtual social media, which is at the vanguard of the loss of the finer, real-world social skills; where people can talk anonymously and ill-advisedly, without looking the person they are talking to in the eye, and losing sight of the fact that they are a human being of some worth.

On a different note, interesting news of a butler school opening on the QE2, which is docked in Dubai. And on a more mundane note, there now is such a position as a “Photography Butler” and a thing as a “Battery Butler.”

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.