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Ye Olde Civility Shoppe

March 28, 2010

Ye Olde  Civility Shoppe

What’s the deal with all the rudeness these days, especially online? Am I so old and out of touch that I don’t comprehend the culture of some of the ‘younger’ generation (and I mean even 30 somethings plus)? Now, I did my best all along the way to raise my own children to become pleasant genteel adults and so I suppose I tend to forget that not everyone was raised to have manners. I guess I cannot understand why many people don’t wish to be polite or cordial in their daily communications.

I don’t generally read debates or much else online, and indeed I try to avoid areas of fractious contentions, but from time to time I come across a nasty comment or a supposed ‘review’, and the lack of decorum and missing civility is quite shocking to me. Since when did expressing an opinion become ‘justification’ for an attack? And when did a disagreement become a ‘right’ to make war? What ever happened to a ‘cup-o-tea’ preference? Is there no room for favorite colors abounding in this day and age?

Why not agree to disagree when need be and then try to find areas of commonality? Why not try to find common ground instead of looking for our differences? We are all individuals and our personal tastes will differ widely, but there is no need to shove our opinions down another’s throat. Don’t treat someone else as being lesser or call them as much as stupid, simply because they like differently than you. Why should we expect everyone or even anyone to adore OR detest what we do? I love the color turquoise but somebody else might hate that color. Such is life. One person’s junk is another’s treasure.

From politics, to religion, to science, to the arts and further, it seems to me that there is horrific incivility abounding out there and especially online. Some of the dis-cord-iality stems possibly first from newsy sources: paper to TV to online. Then average folks jump in with their own zealous or all too often angry opinions, as if arguing will win any arguments or win anyone who differs over to their own view. All this reminds me of such as road rage, and the dissociation of being in a car: the physical barrier of the car around a person creating a social barrier to their politeness. From their cars, many people scream and swear at other ‘cars’ around them. Do they begin to forget that there are real people driving those other cars?

Does the anonymity or social disconnection of communicating from your keyboard at your computer make the ‘Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you what he really thinks!’ concept, mean that we all must expect an uncivil result in nasty rude comments all over the internet? Where is the old-fashioned civility of days gone by? The good old days, I say: when men were gentle and women acted like ladies. Perhaps the veneer of society was always thinner than I might recall. Maybe I belong in the eighteen hundreds, that century that I love to imagine being immersed in. Yes, the old west was wild in many ways, but there were good vintage values at every turn the civilized world over. And that is why my little story sketches are all still set in those ‘ladies and gentlemen’ times. My wish for today? More manners, please.

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