This seems to be the week for writing about the breakdown of our civilization. Well, more specifically, the lack of common courtesy in our everyday lives. Bluntly, there’s nothing common about courtesy any more. People seem to have forgotten the basic rules of the game.
Within the space of a week we’ve witnessed a Congressman’s outburst at President Obama, Serena Williams’ rant at an official at the U.S. Open, and Kanye West’s usurpation of the spotlight at the MTV VMA event.
Of course, these three incidents have had ongoing publicity and attention, and it’s easy to see why. People to whom we have accorded a certain status (Congressman, tennis superstar, high-powered rapper) should remember what the Kennedys always said: With great privilege comes great responsibility. Or as my mom would have said, sit up straight, pull up your socks, say please and thank you.
Now I think this about the three little pigs in this week’s headlines: You are all so rude it makes my teeth hurt. You don’t have any excuse for your actions and words, and all this ‘being in the moment’ stuff is just so much hooey. (Don’t you love it when I refuse to curse and swear on the blog? It’s not as if I don’t do it in real life, but here’s the thing: since I don’t know who might be reading this, I’ll use my creativity—my inner thesaurus, if you will (and I bet you will) to avoid saying something that might offend someone. Like especially people with whom I share dna. And you know what? That’s because I was taught good manners.) But I digress…
You try to excuse your inexcusable conduct with platitudes and weak little lame excuses that just don’t cut it. Bad behavior is really not justified by your need to vent. You need to let off steam? Find a way to do it without hurting someone else, be it Taylor Swift, the linesman at the U.S. Open, or the President of the United States. And it’s never too late to apologize for your actions.
I will say this. Of the three, only Serena Williams actually offered what appeared to be a sincere and articulate apology, and showed what looked to me like real contrition. And she did it promptly, too. No, it doesn’t erase what she did, but it sure mitigates it in my book. (And face it, this IS my book.)
Next up: Why the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker out there need to have manners, too!
Admit it—you can’t wait!