Purcell: Our Growing Rudeness and Incivility
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, and people sure are rude these days."
"Ah, yes, you speak of a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It finds that '74 percent of Americans think manners and behavior have deteriorated in the United States over the past several decades.'"
"You got that right. I was at the movie theater talking to one of my pals on my cellphone and some elderly jerk behind me asked me to stop."
"Sorry, but the study finds that people generally think such behavior is unacceptable. However, there is an age divide. People between 18 and 29 think it is fine to use cellphones in restaurants whereas only 22 percent of people over the age of 60 think it is acceptable."
"Who doesn't like to talk on his cell while chomping on food? Those old fogies should get with the times!"
"The study also finds that most people still think it is unacceptable to swear in public. However, 34 percent admit using profanity in public now and then. And 25 percent of Americans admit using the granddaddy profanity of them all — a 10-point increase since a similar survey was conducted by the AP in 2006."
"Daily use of that word? In these nutty times, I use it by the hour!"
"Some 80 percent of Americans agree that remarks or jokes based on race, gender or sexuality are inappropriate. Only a small percentage of those surveyed admitted to telling such remarks or jokes."
"Ah, come on, what's the harm in poking fun at the target of your choice? That reminds me of the one about the dim-witted wolf (here the joke teller can attribute to the wolf the characteristics of the person he wishes to mock) who got his leg caught in a trap. He chewed off three legs and was still caught in the trap."
"Nearly 70 percent of Americans agree that our political campaigns are 'outdoing the public in levels of rudeness' during this election cycle."
"What a bunch of crybabies. Hey, the economy is tough, finding a job is tough, paying bills is tough. Doesn't it make sense that our politicians might be less polite now than in the past because things are so tough for so many people?"
"Fair enough, but 80 percent of Americans think political leaders should be held to a higher standard of behavior than other people."
"A higher standard than everyday Joes like me? If I ever carried on like many of our political leaders — if I spent like a drunken sailor and told mistruths through my teeth — the wife would kick me out to the curb faster than you can say 'nonsense!'"
"Whatever the case, lots more people think the Republican nomination process has been 'mostly rude and disrespectful.' Nearly 80 percent of Republicans 'regard their party's process to determine a nominee for president as ill mannered.'"
"You got to admit that Donald Trump has come up with some great zingers when mocking his opponents."
"On the other side, however, only 16 percent of Americans think the 'Democrat candidates for president are mostly rude and disrespectful.'"
"Maybe that's because it's hard to be rude when you're that boring!"
"Look, civility and good manners are important to society. According to Judith Martin, Miss Manners, good manners are the philosophical basis of civilization. Mannerliness is a common language of civil behavior that restrains our impulses and makes for a more pleasant and well-functioning country."
"Well, maybe if we get the economy well-functioning again, our people and politicians won't be so rude!"
Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" and "Sean McClanahan Mysteries," available at Amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.
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