Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Uncivil Defense

It says, at the top of this Atavist blog page, that my ramblings herein are the ruminations of an unambiguous guy in an ambiguous world. It's true. I am a pretty straightforward guy. I know where I stand. I know what I like. I know what I don't like. I adhere to certain principles in my life and expect reciprocity from people I deal with. With me, what you see (and hear and read) is what you get.

I am, however, tactful. I don't blurt out the first thing that pops into my head. I try to couch things in terms that are as kind as possible, even if I am the bearer of bad news. Incivility, crassness, boorishness, are all things I despise. Why is it necessary, even in the interest of being direct and concise, to be crude and hurtful? I don't think it is necessary.

I have written before about the need of some people to transfer their frustrations onto others. It makes them feel better. No consideration is given, of course, to the fact that then someone else bears the frustration or hurt. Most people that I willingly associate with are smart, quick with a quip, and adept at verbal fencing. I enjoy exchanging jibes with people like this; it is done in a spirit of fun and everyone knows that there are boundaries. I have met some individuals in my life though who don't seem to understand that anything worth saying is worth saying politely and that not everything they perceive as a problem is in fact a real problem for someone else. Deliver me from such people. They suck the lifeblood out of everyone around them. At the very least, they are no fun. At worst, they pollute society.

We are increasingly becoming an uncivil society. I don't like it. It is difficult to avoid it. Do we need to become hermits to get away from it? Is that the only defense available?


  1. Cras fellows aren't so bad to deal with...at least they're honest if blunt.
    My biggest issues have been with very respectable- and respectful-appearing individuals who had all their WASP CULTure down pat: Said and did everything primly and properly and on cue, then left "hell-bent for election" in the middle of the night with only a smoking, ruined path of devastation and corpses in their wake. Our soon-to-be ex-POTUS is a glaring example, but I don't think this thread has the memory for me to record the names and legends of half I've not been able to avoid encountering. Maybe I'm at the other end of the spectrum.
    Some still ask, Does college pay? If you're a cracker-jack football coach or PR man I hear they pay very well! In the majority of cases today, it only makes basic predators of the two-legged variety more cunning and dangerous.

  2. Sieg, hello once again. A fine post, a post that tells far more than is written.
    Our society is and has been becoming more and more uncivil and uncaring than I have ever seen it. I don't mean the brashness and rudeness of youth (that's always with us) but adults have no excuse.
    I can't help but feel part of these frustrations and piques of anger are related to the failure of bedrock religion (imagine me saying that) to calm that afraid and upset animal in all of us.
    I can remember my Momma's copies of Emily Post (well worn edges) and Dale Carnegies (also worn) books in their resting places. I dare say their aren't one in a thousand families chosen at random who would recognize the authors nor what the wrote about.
    Times change, as BO says, Not always for the better.
    I apologize for my failure to visit more often. Am looking frantically for an excuse you might accept. Can't find it. I promise to do better in the future.

  3. Nice to see you again, Catmoves. As I was writing this post I Googled Emily Post and read a number of her rules about etiquette. Some were understandably quaint if outdated, but others stood the test of time.

    I think that some sort of fundamental kindness is disappearing from our societies. Religion did play a part in instilling such values in its members, but many mainstream churches today are simply quasi-political institutions, promoting agendas that might make their founders roll over in their graves.