The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Mary Honrud
Sowing Notions 

Some Thoughts on Courtesy


Common courtesy, like common sense, isn't so very common. There seems to be more rudeness than there used to be. The trash talk that athletes throw at each other in sporting events seems to be invading all aspects of life. People in this country revere their sports heroes, so it's really no surprise to find their actions being emulated, but this behavior is not worth emulating.

Facebook is rife with rudeness. There are nasty comments galore, usually from total strangers. It's easy to be rude to someone you don't know. It doesn't seem to matter what a posting is about, there are always people more than willing to offer unsolicited opinions, especially ones that aren't at all constructive.

We see the same rudeness on the TV news. Talk show hosts routinely interrupt their guests, or talk over the top of them, especially if they don't agree with them, or even cut them off mid-sentence. They call the people who hold differing opinions derogatory names, and hold them up to ridicule.

The political debates offer more of the same. Very few politicians offer compliments to their opponents, whether they belong to the same party or not. And we accept all of this as "business as usual," or as though we can't expect anything better from politicians. The more outlandish the behavior, the bigger the following.

The afternoon TV entertainment shows, such as Jerry Springer, Steve Wilcos, and Maury Povich, offer up the worst of young, poorly-educated, low-class people who use foul language, scream invective at each other, and usually come to blows. These unfortunate people don't even seem to realize how terrible they are. They revel in the muck, pleased to be getting their fifteen minutes of fame. And the audiences are no better, oohing and aahing on cue and egging on the fisticuffs.

Some of the medical shows (Dr. Oz) even resort to pure visual ickiness to draw ratings. I saw one episode involving gross-out videos (cyst popping and boil squeezing), much to my disgust. (In my defense, I wasn't in my home or in control of the TV. And I have resolved to never watch another Dr. Oz show in my life.)

Are we so desperate to feel better about ourselves and our own lives that we need to watch this drek? Obviously the lowest common denominator does, or all this crap wouldn't still be getting sponsors to air it.

I know this junk exists, and I can't stop it from existing, but I don't have to be a part of it. I will read more books and avoid the wasteland that I see on TV.

As for civility, we need more of it everywhere. Again, all I can control is my own. And I try. I think I succeed more than I fail.


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