Saturday, March 15, 2008

Whatever Happened to Class?

" Velma: Whatever happened to fair dealing?
And pure ethics?
And nice manners?
Why is it everyone now is a pain in the a**?
Whatever happened to class?"

You must listen to the lyrics to get the irony of the song. Here are two women of dubious integrity, bemoaning the fate of manners and breeding. I see this type of whining every day. We hear about stars that are upset that their lack of circumspection in regard to their personal behavior is displayed by the paparazzi for all the world to see. And these two situations are very similar. It used to be thought that using foul language, innuendo or "cuss words" were an example of low class behavior. Yet words that would have gotten a movie banned even fifteen years ago are common every day fare for some parts of our culture. When I was a child, my parents told me that cussing was an example of someone who was too ignorant to express themselves in any other way. It was declasse. I am aware that kids cuss, and there was a period in my life when I thought I was cool by doing so because I found out that such words had the power to excite someone to action. But I outgrew that, as I like to think that most people do.

Well, sadly, most people these days don't. My kids all work in the retail and service sector. They are well mannered, they are intelligent and they understand the scope of their jobs. So why then do grown up people, thirty,forty and fifty year olds, think that it's appropriate to cuss out a kid or anyone else for a relatively minor complaint? In one case, an order was wrong, but before my son could change it, the person threw all the food at him and started cussing him out. This order included drinks that were thrown. Likewise, when a sale coupon could not be honored for a purchase in a department store, the lady in question not only cussed the staff out, but cut up her card and threw the scissors at one of the girls working. To my mind, that's assault and the police should be called. Is this rational behavior? Is this acceptable? Is this what passes for normal these days?

I ask this because I think we have all become navel gazers to a certain degree. It's all about serving "me". "Me" is the most important person in the room, the hotel, the store the hospital. "Me"s needs supersede everyone else's. Like the guy at DFW, who would not wait two minutes for my sister in law to get in the open door of the car so he could park (terminal C last night by the way)and then blocked our egress with his open door. While I could understand his wanting to get the space, was it really necessary to be so rude? We would have gladly held the space for him.

I guess I just don't get it. But then I also don't understand why please and thank you have become an issue for some folks. I hold doors open and help people when they are in need, but some segments of our society barely register appreciation as if their mere presence should entitle them to special services from any stranger who passes. Can we all grow up a little and use some common sense and common courtesy? And by the way, can some of you parents start demanding of your kids as well? Part of the reason my kids weren't allowed to watch The Simpsons until middle school is that I found his rhetoric appalling. Yet I see kids as young as kindergarten spouting off such Bart-isms to the seeming rapture of their doting parents. What may appear cute, but isn't, at five or six, can become a serious attitude issue at 14 or 15. Chew on that a minute. See the future. Take action now.


nebraska girl said...

Hi there. I was reading some of your older posts and was wondering what effect, if any, has the Obama pastor news had on your view of him? I am struggling to pick a candidate for November.

Ellen K said...

First of all, I think that as a person, Obama is probably the nicest of the bunch. But I doubt I will vote for him in November. I don't think he will make it that far. I don't know if you have read the stories regarding the chaos of the Texas Dem primaries, but I think in the end, Obama will have the delegate votes, with Hillary trumping that with the Superdelegate votes. It's going to be a bloodbath. If the Obama nomination doesn't play out despite the counts, African American voters will leave the party and at that point, either a third party will be born or we may get a true repeat of the summer of Love. My candidate was Thompson-who got no press because the media seemed very intent on getting the venerable (old) McCain on the ticket. The VP choices are going to be VERY important in this race. I will vote down ticket for conservatives as much as I can. I think many people are in this same position. What a conundrum|!

nebraska girl said...

I was a big Thompson fan too. It makes me mad that the MSM drives the news more than it reports it. I don't know when they decided that it was their job to tell us our opinion, but it needs to stop. I think the primary systems is messed up and a better way needs to be found, but don't know what that is yet. I will vote pretty much conservative too, but the president has me thinking.

Ellen K said...

I hate to sound cynical, but if you look at the random way the caucuses have been conducted, the aggressive resistance to ID checks at polling places and some of the odd but true irregularities in certain precincts, this has the makings of a very nasty election. There have already been claims that south Texas had ballot boxes disapper, reappear and that the Dems simply stopped counting and gave the delegates to one candidate. It really should make some people wonder if the Dems are able to manage a country if they can't even have an election without chaos. Denver will tell the tale. I agree about MSM. Thompson and Hunter were both trying everything to get any media attention, but instead they got written off. And I really don't care for McCain. I feel like we are being spoon fed castor oil. I hope our kids don't end up having to pay for this folly.