Monday, September 14, 2009

Where is Miss Manners When We Need Her?

The buzz today has been all about Kanye West and his behavior during the MTV awards show last night. One has to wonder what he thought he was doing when he took the microphone and interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. Tonight Jay Leno asked West what his mother might have said to him; West sat silently and never answered the question. One would hope that his mother would have chastised him and asked, "Didn't I teach you any manners?"

Last week we had South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson shouting"You lie!" during President Obama's speech before Congress. Does he think he is some kind of hero for doing something so rudely inappropriate? Or was he somehow confused and thought he was playing the part of the heckler during a nightclub act?

On a local level, I was in the library this afternoon. The new videos are together on one shelf and when I came in there was a woman standing in front of the shelf, blocking it from anyone else as she took video cases one at a time and read them. A second woman approached and was reaching for one of the videos on the shelf when the first woman stopped her and said, "I'm not through looking at these yet." Perhaps someone should explain sharing to her...or at least the concept that you cannot call "dibs" on a shelf full of videos in the library.

When I came out of the library, I noticed a car parked in the traffic lane. Hanging from the mirror was a "handicapped permit." The car was sitting less than ten feet from two handicap parking spaces, but apparently the driver did not feel they were close enough to the library entrance...or just did not care that he/she was inconveniencing anyone else who tried driving into the lot.

How many of us have been sitting in a movie theater and suffered through someone sitting behind us doing a running commentary on the film? And when you asked the person to please be quiet been treated as if you were the offending party?
Have you sent someone a gift and never received an acknowledgement, let a lone a formal thank you note? Or had someone bump into you because they weren't looking and then act like it's your fault?
Whatever happened to "Please," Thank you," "Excuse me," and the like? Maybe instead of worrying about hurting someone's self-esteem, we should reinforce the concept of respecting others and not behaving like a boor on nationwide television or in the Capitol building or even the local library.


  1. From the musical Chicago (of which we just saw a very good Aussie live production a couple of weeks ago):
    Whatever happened to "Please, May I?"
    And "Yes, Thankyou"
    And "How Charming"
    Now every bitch is a snake in the grass
    Whatever happened to class?"

    Ah, there ain't no gentlemen
    To open up the doors
    There ain't no ladies now
    There's only pigs and whores
    And even kids'll knock you down so's they can pass
    Nobody's got no class!"

    as they also say in the musical: nothing ever changes...


  2. That's because it's easier to be offended and offensive than to act like a mature human being. In fact, I believe the ladies and gentlemen of the world are becoming scarcer and scarcer.

    My own pet peeve is those who not only will not hold a door open for someone, but will take advantage of someone holding a door for someone else who needs it... if they see a person holding a door for an older citizen, these crud will just breeze through in front of them as if they were privileged.

    Right behind them are line jumpers, whether at the supermarket, the bank, or Disney World. They just plow right in as if they had a right since no one would call them out.

    It makes me wish for the occasional public floggings again... or maybe the stocks or pillories. Sigh...

    I remain,
    Eric L. Sofer
    The Silver Age Fogey

  3. I think that some parents have abrogated their responsibilities because it's easier to be your child's friend than his or her parent and say things like "That is not acceptable behavior." This isn't new news, as parents in the 1970s were also into doing their own thing and not concerned with the feelings of others.

  4. Like Captain Kirk said, "Our manners weren't exactly Emily Post."

    Being from a Southern Gentry background, I use, "Yes Ma'am and Yes Sir" as routine. I open doors for women, seat them at restaurants, push my chair back and stand when a women or anyone deserving a higher level of respect approaches my table or gets up to leave.
    I could go on, but I think everyone gets my point.
    Dr. R, I agree with you except when it comes to the 70's. That is when I grew up and really understood the benefits of good manners. Also, I was taught to always consider the feelings of others. I guess that why I was never a bully.
    I wish more people learned good manners and feel the benefit you get for practicing them.