Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Three Little Pigs of the Week

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!


  1. I agree with you. They were all rude, and their behavior was completely uncalled for. And, yes, Serena at least tried to make up for her actions.

  2. I saw Serena's post-match press conference where she seemed to be implying it was no big deal. I can't help thinking the negative publicity forced her very public apology, but I appreciate that's a cynical way of looking at it.

  3. I think rudeness is contagious. It seems everyone just want to look out for themselves and screw anyone who gets in their way.

  4. I bet Kennedy got that from the scripture Luke 12:48..... But it says For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. Which is something I try to live my life by..... I think I even wrote a blog about it once.

  5. They were rude, but at least in the case of Kanye and the Congressman, in their minds they thought they were taking a stand. Trying to make a difference in the world. Which brings the question of proper place and time for such behavior.

  6. I think one of the best things my parents (mom)did for me growing up was to insist on good manners. I'm frequently shocked at how many people don't automatically and involuntarily say "please" and "thank you," or look behind them when they open a door to see if it needs to be held for someone else. I'm very proud that my 2.5 year old says "excuse me" on his own (when someone is in his way, not when he burps -- can't expect miracles!) and is starting to remember "please" and "thank you" too.

  7. Awwww... that makes my day! (I'm Rachel's mom!)

  8. Manners are a pet peeve of mine. It's one of the things I harp on my boys (ages 8 and 2) about. My husband is currently a college professor, and we see such a lack of manners in the "Millenium" generation. All they want to know is, "What's in it for me?" I understand parents want to give their kids better than what they had. I do too, but at what cost? I've seen way too many spoiled brats in the last several years, and it started with my age group (the tail end of GenX).

  9. Bravo Rachel.

    and this ill behavior is becoming quite common place in society. Kanye is a )!(&)!(*&^!(^! ______. He loves the spotlight and did something similar in 07. Jerk.

  10. Ugh Kanye. He should be ashamed of himself.

    I do wish people had more manners.

  11. Leah-
    Fabulous post! So glad I found you! You're a terrific writer...and so I shall follow your every click of the keyboard. You had me at your header.
    (I'll take that drink now.)
    PS: The drink is in no way payment for my kind words...they are truly 2 separate things. Really.

  12. Stopping by from SITS, love your blog and sense of humor. This is a great post, I think instead of feeling a great sense of responsibility that comes with said offenders privilege, they simply feel, well, privileged. Privileged to do whatever they want, whenever they want and not have to pay any real consequences.

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!!