September 16th, 2009

What Happened to Civility? Are Kanye West, Serena Williams and Joe Wilson Immune to the Consequences?

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Newsy.com \”What Happened to Public Civility\” Video

Just in case you’re wondering, YES, WE ARE A LIVING IN A RUDER SOCIETY.  Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned values and manners?  From Serena Williams yelling expletives to a line judge after a questionable call at the US Open, to Kanye West’s outburst in front of Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards, to Joe Wilson yelling, “You lie!” at President Obama during his healthcare speech, these recent outbursts have set off a cascade of discussion about the crassness of our culture.

What has caused this epidemic of incivility? Some experts believe that we are living in a culture of entitlement where we think we can say and do nasty deeds to others without suffering the consequences.

What are consequences you might ask?  When I was growing up, a consequence was a bar of Dial soap that my Granny Johnson used to wash out our mouths out if she heard us utter the Lord’s name in vain or mutter a curse word under our breath.

A consequence was a ruler our teacher used to swat the palm of our hand if she caught us yakking too much or clowning around in class.  A consequence was getting sent to the principal’s office and sitting there trembling and awaiting the fate of a paddling if we were the least bit insubordinate to our teacher or the other students in class.  The punishment, or consequence, wouldn’t end there.  I and others like me would get another lashing (physically or verbally or both) from our parents when we got home.

Many celebrities and their publicists think that negative publicity is just as good as positive publicity.  When it comes to behavior, the American people forget the good and forgive the bad.  Therefore, it is the duty of the celebrity to stay in the spotlight, regardless of the price they have to pay or those they hurt along the way.  What a pity.

Wish I had a magic pill or better yet, a magic seminar to cure the evils of the world.  But I don’t.  So until someone comes up with a cure for incivility, it looks like I’ll have job security for a very long time.

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