Posts Tagged ‘rude’

I mourn the passage of manners.

This age of selfishness has precluded the necessity.  We are diminished by the loss.  I’m hardly the most formal of people.  My vocabulary would offend a sailor.  (Is that really true I wonder? Are sailors really that foul mouthed?)

But I miss the simple niceties of making the effort, however sincerely felt.  I miss the act.

I have a friend who has cancelled on me three time in the last few months each time because “He has a friend he needs to catch up with.” I assume that he is unaware that he is in essence telling me that I’m not a very important friend, but still.  Why not actually honor the invitations you accept?

Another friend, on cancelling an invitation he had previously accepted said “I never said I would come.” He had, in writing.  It was a minor social event and only an irritation that he’d cancelled.  Why call me a liar? Needless to say, further invitations have been curtailed.

California, my wonderful home that I love, is a bit challenging in this area.  No invitation or acceptance of same here are deemed final until one actually arrives at the event.  It is the land of the better offer.  That is, all invitations are accepted conditionally and honored only if there is not something better on offer.  Not my style.  But it is the unwritten rule here.

It was hard to take at first.  I actually changed my outgoing voicemail message to “At the tone, please leave the time and date of the engagement you’ve called to cancel.”  I’ve gotten used to it, not okay with it.  I’ve simply stopped making plans with people who can’t show up.  Instead, I enjoy spending time with the flakier members of my set when chance dictates.

But my social life is only a speck in the eye of dignity.

We are drowning in bad manners.  At a movie the other night the ushers had to announce more than once to get people to stop texting and blinding others, and then there was an attitude.  Traffic has become a competitive arena where people cut each other off and generally behave as if there is no one behind them or anyone else on the road.  This of course leads to gratuitous horn honking, bird flipping and obscenity shouting (I’m doing better, okay.)

“You lie.” An elected member of the US Congress shouted that at the President of the United States, while he was speaking to a joint session.  Even if he had been lying, which in fact he was not, how have we arrived at a place where that is okay?

I’m not even okay with referring to the President of the United States by his last name.  I think it is derisive.  It is President Bush or President Obama, not Bush this or Obama that.  Whether I agree with their politics or not, they are President, and for as long as they live.  We would hardly refer to the Queen as Windsor or worse, her original last name, Saxe-Coburg-Gothe.  There is reverence for the office that has nothing to do with the man or the woman.

Vulgarians, liars and brutes have taken over the airwaves.  Leaders in the field of crudity like Howard Stern have made it okay to simply say anything you want true or not, rude or not, to or about whoever you feel like saying it.  His popularity has directly given rise and permission to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Reverend Fred Phelps and Timothy McVeigh.

The price paid is not that my delicate sensibilities are offended.  I have come to wonder what someone would actually have to do to shock me.  I am not devalued by your crude remarks and boorish behavior.  You are.

The Presidency is a the perfect example.  We all choose the President, even the ones who vote against him or her.  Even those who don’t vote, vote by their abstention.  So the Presidency is us.  If we have or show no respect for the President or at least the office, then we have no respect for ourselves.

I am but one driver on the road I share with others.  If I don’t respect the other drivers, then I don’t respect myself.  Or the other movie patrons.  Or my fellow gym members.  Or the shoppers at my local grocery, my neighbors or simply the friends I stand up.

Manners are how we show respect for others, but mostly they’re how we show respect for ourselves.  If I treat you as though you are worthless, then what value, as your equal, do I have?

If I have no manners, I have no self-respect.

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