The last refuge of a bogus trend story is the claim that it “got people talking.”

If the author and editors of “A Last Bastion of Civility, the South, Sees Manners Decline” from today’s New York Times have adjourned to a coffee shop to eavesdrop on the conversation, I suspect they’re hearing what I’m thinking: Does that bold assertion come with evidence?

Here are a few examples from the  “growing portfolio” of behaviors the Times draws on to plot the decline of Southern manners.

·         Two black men drinking at a bar were asked by a bartender to surrender their seats to two white women. They declined and a lawsuit ensued.

·         A professor of history and Southern culture at the University of Mississippi tells the Times, “Manners are one of many things that are central to a Southerner’s identity, but they are not primary anymore. Things have eroded.”