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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Worst Trends of the 20th Century #43

The decline of civilization stinks. Along with the uprising testosterone came a total loss of consideration for others. Manners were dropped like hot potatoes and never taught again sometime in the generation after me. Wrapped in a sort of response to feminism, gentlemanliness became weakness. Men became coy about using their manners in the way they were raised. Fair enough, plenty of women said they didn't want the door opened for them. But nowadays I almost fall over in shock when a man swoops around to open a door for me. Saying, "Excuse me." in a non-bitchy, sincere way gets you a surprised hairy eyeball.

Manners these days are often met with hostility and disdain. If you show any old-fashioned courtesies then you must be a pretentious snob. You are putting on airs if you display social graces. I'd use the urban slang for these terms but I don't want to; having a vocabulary is as looked down upon as manners. How did getting an education for yourself become the mark of Cain? Bah. Let 'em hate.

It's become popular to hate. Where I was raised to never use the word, and instructed many times, "We don't hate," that's all gone. You're a fool to smile, a fool to be civil, a fool to be anything more than an ignorant, hostile asshole.

With these new codes of conduct you'd think that pride would remain. It does, but it's twisted. Instead of pride in your character and how well you treat others, people have pride in how they abuse others and get away with it. There's pride in getting over on your fellow baby, not in helping them. Standards have not just changed, everything that slides downhill with them have. Rarely do you get a pleasant business person when calling about any matter. Even if you're asking about something you want to buy, you get treated like an axe murderer.

The smallest of courtesies- thank you notes, for example- gone. These days you're lucky if someone even acknowledges receiving a gift.

Why? Wasn't life a little more bearable for everyone when we were kinder to each other? That old saying, "We all do better when we all do better" should be brought back.

And that's my soapbox rant for the day. Thank you.


Geo. said...

A favorite quote on manners came from one of the most graceful men who ever lived, Fred Astaire:"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without ever seeing any." But I think you said it even better, Austan. With 7 billion people on one's shrinking planet, it's good sense to be polite.

Elephant's Child said...

Some of my best friends are precisely the fools you describe - and I love them for their foolishness not in spite of it.

Anonymous said...

We see the same problem on this side of the border. There are a few who still display good manners, a few who don't, and the rest seem to be a strange sort of hybrid. We out polite each other holding doors and humbly going to the back of line ups and then shock in other ways. I know this generation tried hard to instill manners and values....not sure where exactly the wheels fell off.

MoonRaven said...

I really appreciate that line: "Wasn't life a little more bearable for everyone when we were kinder to each other?" We really do need to be kinder to each other.

I'm thankful that you are still out there, encouraging the world to be kind.

klahanie said...

Hi Laura,

I understand your soapbox rant, my dear friend.

Although I do find that most people are deal with are fairly polite, there are those who seem to think that manners, respect, politeness, are a form of weakness. It's very weird and rather alarming.

Gary :)

Austan said...

Geo- that's what I'll never understand. Manners exist to help each other get thru life a little less miserably. agh.

Austan said...

That's right, EC!

Austan said...

Lawless, I think we can go back to Fred for that. There aren't enough shown for it to stick.

Austan said...

Moony, I'm thankful you're still out there spreading goodness and patience.

Austan said...

Gary! I agree, being nice at all these days seems to be mistaken for weakness. That's very alarming.