There seemed to be a general consensus that the collective behaviors of tennis great Serena Williams, Rep. Joe Wilson, and singer Kanye West are inappropriate and in poor taste.
The media did their usual obsessive reporting and everyone agreed that civility was on the decline. The outcome was as usual. All three apologized and although there is still some dialogue regarding “the incidents”, essentially we are on to something else.
As I look back in time, I remember an era that emphasized humility as a value that was highly prized. My grandmother and mother were the guardians of good manners.
Whenever any selfish behavior was witnessed they would chant their favorite mantra, “Who do you think you are”? It seems that over the years who we think we are has become the focus of how society lives and breathes.
The three individuals mentioned above felt that their immediate feelings should be voiced. In other words, there was no gap between their brain and their lips. They essentially have forgotten that you are allowed to have some unexpressed thoughts.
Unfortunately that is a thing of the past. Telling it like it is in down and dirty language is considered edgy and hip. Why hold back? Anyone who crosses your path and stops you from getting your immediate needs taken care of should be laid out in lavender.
After all “YOU” are the center of the universe.
The down side of what sociologists call “expressive individualism” is that it makes us more and more unlikely to understand the fact that civility is the glue that keeps us from eating each other for breakfast.
Oh, there are plenty of excuses that can be made for the recurring bad manners that have become so prevalent in the media and in all walks of life.
Serena Williams thanked her supporters for “understanding that I am human”. My family of origin and the good Sisters of St. Joseph would have coined that behavior as more akin to a wolf in sheeps’ clothing.
Maybe it’s time to incorporate courses in humility starting in first grade. We are all traveling a similar path and will ultimately reach a similar destination. Why not do it with respect and empathy towards one another?
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.