In the most recent one of those gooey, so-boring-you-fucking-love-it Times trend pieces, this one on the increase in population among the manners police, The Magnetic Fields’ Stephen Meritt and his infamous uh, particularities, are shown in full color:

Another kind of manners cop is motivated not by defensiveness nor a sense of injustice but by an effort to make the world a lovelier place. His ministrations are more elflike. The songwriter Stephin Merritt, the frontman of the band the Magnetic Fields, has trained his gaze on a quarry as seemingly picayune as toilet paper. “In other people’s bathrooms, I routinely reverse the direction of the TP roll,” he said. “Contrary to the advice columns, the paper should hang toward the user, so it doesn’t require fumbling and scratching with the fingernails. A mnemonic: hang out in the bathroom.”


What is it like to be on the receiving end of a manners cop? It is often either shaming or infuriating, depending on how guilty we think we are and how vehement the cop is. Feelings can be especially tender when the cop is a loved one. Ef Rodriguez, a social media strategist who moved to Amsterdam from Boulder, Colo., earlier this year, said his fiancée’s European parents taught their daughter “impeccable silverware prowess.”

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