Walter Mencken 2 p.m., May 28
- Community Blog
Polite society gone wrong
By KATHLEEN PARKER Washington Post Sept. 15, 2009, 8:26PM ... civilization is a fragile and delicate idea, held together by a few mere threads, bound together by little more than a wisp of mutual consent. Frays in those threads are daily apparent — from the rude tantrum of Kanye West at the Video Music Awards to the profane threats of tennis star Serena Williams when she disagreed with a line call.
Across the spectrum of society, people are behaving badly. Even those at the very top of their games, who enjoy wealth and status, no longer can be relied upon to carry the standard of exemplary behavior. If ever there were one place we might hope to find people of respectful temperament, it would be where those elected to govern convene to hear the president.
Summation: People in positions of power and privilege have a duty to perform at a higher level. If not they, then who?
I opine that all persons have a duty to be civil if not polite. The anger at tennis matches has always intrigued me, as tennis has been touted as a genteel game. Not so for John McEnroe or many others. Since the USA makes sports "stars" role models, they should be able to behave when they are 'out & about'. Charles Barkley stated repeatedly that he did not intend to be a role model. BUT, he was willing to take his multi-million dollar paycheck which was a direct result of FANS. This holds true in all sports. They are paid obscene amounts of money to not only entertain fans, but to perform at their very best in every game, all season. Most professional sports leagues in the US have a minimum of 3 months a year 'vacation' time. Can you imagine the store clerk, accountant, taxi driver, mechanic, etc., having a 3 month vacation?
As for the politicians who sat in that august chamber and heard JOE WILSON scream at the President of the United States, it is their responsibility to get Mr. Wilson into anger counseling and to take action in accordance with their rules of etiquette.
Ms. Williams often yells at the referees, linesmen, at her games. In her case it seems to come from a place of self importance. She believes she is right OR she knows she is wrong but wants others to believe she is right!
Kanye West should have been stopped immediately. Turn off that microphone, try to physically subdue him, etc. That young lady, Taylor Swift, must have felt like an ant that got stepped on. Her achievements snatched away by a bully. If Kanye has a mother, I hope she called to tell him that he just made a total ass of himself.
I was on the trolley one day, standing room only. I happened to be standing next to 4 young men who were seated. Within about a minute, a woman came from a seat across the aisle, grabbed one young man by the ear, pulling him to his feet, not saying a word. She motioned for me to sit down. Then she spoke loudly to her son saying that she raised him better and she included the other boys saying that being inconsiderate is not tolerated.
I often come across bad behaviour when riding the bus or trolley. But, this happened a few days ago. I was on the escalator at Horton Plaza, going up from ground level. I stand on the step, I do not walk or run. I heard a male voice and then got shoved as this young man rushed past me & 2 others. His statement was he would not wait for "you old folks" as he had things to do.
People are constantly bumping into others because they are not paying attention to where they are but, what they are listening to or who they are talking to. A lady standing right next to me was asking for directions. I started to answer her question when she looked at me like I was nuts, gave me the ole 'evil eye' and walked away. I then noticed the headset and she went on talking. It is hard to be nice when you don't even know if someone is talking to you!!
I maybe be MIA for awhile, surgery awaits me this AM.