“Savoir-faire” at the American Congress


“Savoir-faire” at the American Orthodontic Congress

“Savoir-faire” is a French term to express the ability to have the best behavior at each occasion. It is also often used in other languages to define a sensitive and kind person. How can we define the opposite of savoir-fare?

Probably there isn’t a precise word, but I think that many participants at the AAO Congress in San Diego fully understood this concept when a large orthodontic company organized a party in a military base. We are not talking about politics or about whether NATO made the right choices (I don’t have enough information for a proper analysis and this is not an appropriate forum for this discussion): we are talking about “savoir faire”.

The American Congress is a historical tradition of affluence in the world. In San Diego there were over 20,000 persons from all over the country. Many of them from Europe were hoping that the Balkan War would end as soon as possible. A few of the guests were toasting cheerfully between helicopters, thanks and bombs……. all strictly “smart”. Perhaps it was considered “cool” to see and touch high- tech weapons?

Weapons are deadly instruments and their glorification is dangerous and embarrassing. An example of bad taste, the opposite of savoir-faire. It is hardly appropriate to show the guests weapons of a running war instead of remembering the tragic and painful situations, especially in a cheerful and commercial manner.

Showing positive examples of human ability in artistic or scientific fields and teaching how to appreciate them is surely more important than showing military power or machines of mass destruction.

By soliciting our culture with voiolence such as certain video games, films etc..and exalting the power that weapons hold, we only gain wrong values that in some cases can cause real massacres. It happened in some schools recently……….

Madeline Bridges (1844-1920) wrote:

For life is the mirror of king and slave,

‘Tis just what we are and do;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

This is not moralism but “respect for thy neighbor”. The world is not a kind of “Disneyland”. Not everything should be on display, especially when the only goal is financial.

Gabriele Floria DDS
VJO Editor