Miss Manners Where Are You?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by goofyfish, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    A teenager plows into me as I walk through the mall, and keeps right on going without a look or a word of acknowledgement. A lady steps in front of me in the bookstore, and stands there blocking the section I was perusing. The cashier at a local burger joint can't even make eye contact or say "thanks."

    I have the sense that people are becoming less courteous, but I wonder whether this is necessarily true. There are a number of factors that might contribute to a false impression about this:
    • *Selective memory - In the short term, do we tend to remember unusual experiences and generalize? So a guy who is rude to me today leads me to despair of modern manners, even though the other hundred polite people with whom I interacted are forgotten.

      *Selective media - I'm sure that "Leave it to Beaver" wasn't an accurate portrayal of society, but many people's impressions are based on mediated "memories."

      *Change in demographics - Perhaps young people have always been rude, but are now playing more active role in our culture now.

      * Others - ?
    And if courtesy IS on the decline are there societal reasons why?
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  3. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member

    Courtesy is on the decline because it takes an effort. People are too lazy today to be courteous.

    Another reason courtesy is on the decline is that it takes a conscious decision to think about another person, instead of just yourself, and in today's US society of me me me me....there is little room for anyone else.
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  5. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

    The Desensitization of the World

    Yep. And I feel that it is not getting better any time soon... (especially in Detroit).

    As far as we can prove, this is the greatest population that this planet has yet experienced, information moves faster; people need their fixes faster so they don't have time for you to be in their way, or the energy to apologize if they shove through you. Everything must be immediate, we hardly use snail mail anymore, it's far too slow, let alone take the time to stop and offer someone a good word.

    We are in the age of "now" and human touch is falling behind in the human race. Everybody has heard everything 10 times in 10 different ways, so why should they give special attention to anyone else's standard issue?

    Every now and again someone will surprise you; you'll stumble across a "warm pocket" where someone takes a moment to compliment you, or let you know your tail-light is out, or whatever. Usually these folks are the age of your grandparents, but perhaps that's because they remember a time when things were simpler and rarer, and it might be 10 years before you saw that person again.

    Last year in November I was waiting for the elevator in my building (I live on the 7th floor) and there was a little old lady waiting next to me who I may never have seen before. She waited for me to look over at her and smile, and when I did she handed me a daisy (or something) she had been holding. That instantly wiped away the drive home that had been spoiling my mood up until then. Unfortunately moments like that are too far between...
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  7. bun Registered Senior Member

    Miss Manners, Where Are You?

    <And if courtesy IS on the decline are there societal reasons why?

    Yes, courtesy likely is on the decline. Societal reasons: Norms have changed. Standards are low or non-existent. Each has his or her "right" to do virtually anything. There is no peer pressure to judge an action as wrong. There is always an excuse/rationalization - for murder, for terrorism, for robbery, battery, rape, and so on. So why wouldn't boorish behaviour take place without a second thought?

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