Saturday, December 1, 2012


In April of this year at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Lindsey Stone mocked the sign that reads "Silence and Respect" by giving it her middle finger and pretending to scream.  So proud was she of her own derring-do that she posted this photo of herself on Facebook for millions to see.

Stone’s uncivil behavior demonstrates a total disregard for the OTHER and an obsessive love of SELF. There is, unfortunately, a growing epidemic of narcissistic Lindsey Stones in our culture, ranging from ordinary citizens…to celebs … to our political and business leaders.

There’s tennis star Serene Williams, who threatened a line judge at the U.S.Open, Roger Federer cursing an empire after a bad shot, Tiger Woods throwing a temper tantrum in public, and baseball players tossing buckets of water on the field to protest unpopular calls.       

These incidents may seem innocuous, but research shows that allowing even minor incivilities to go unchecked can lead to more serious offenses.

A tourist in Baltimore was recently beaten, stripped naked, and robbed while spectators stood by and watched.  Not one person came to help him; in fact, those witnessing the event found the incident so amusing that that they videotaped and later posted it on you tube: You can hear their laughter in the background.

Anthony Weiner, Congressman, husband, and father was caught Twitter sexting with six different women over a three-year period. Below is the photo of himself he tweeted to his young Twits.    


Apparently he thinks his pecs are the best part of his body.  He should know.

Then there’s our elite Secret Service agents, sent to Cartegena,Columbia to arrange for the President’s safety during his upcoming visit this year.  They spent most of their time carousing with hookers.  Not only could their childish behavior have compromised their mission, but it could have put the President at risk.

And as with all adolescents, photos were taken to memorialize their heroics --

One has to wonder what they were thinking, though according to my wise old grandmother, they weren’t thinking at all:  “When the prick is up, the brain is down.”

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) mission (as stated on their web site) reads:  “…to support decisions that … wring out inefficiencies in operations… and to manage resources with (the) utmost care and ( with) an obsession for no waste.”   

To this frugal end, Chief of the GSA, Jeffrey Neely, along with fellow agents, spent $750,000 of the taxpayer’s money on themselves during a four-day retreat in Las Vegas this year. They “thanked” their providers by staging a “comedy show,” wherein they joked and sang about the many clever ways they spent our money.

And, as always, there are the photos, evidence of how effective they are at spending other people's money.  
Then there’s the former head of the C.I.A., General Petraeus, who has not only provided us with a fresh meaning for the term “embedded journalists” (thanks, Jack) but makes us wonder if the Agency’s named shouldn’t be changed from “Central” Intelligence to the more accurate "Between-the-Legs Intelligence." Petraeus' brain had to have descended for him not to know that a g-mail account is the easiest of all to hack into and that his mistress,Ms. Broadspent, was making off with classified documents. 

Petraeus not only mocked his wife and family but broke faith with the public.

For a collection of uncivil, boorish, and ill-mannered people, head to a coffee shop.  That's where customers act like they're at home -- or worse.

They put their feet up on tables, pick their noses, clean their teeth, nails and ears, comb their hair, talk loudly on their cell phones, and even bring their own food and drinks into the store.  

Disregard for the OTHER has spread to the retail sector, where cashiers at checkout counters have been trained by Management to ask unsuspecting customers for donations to Management's favorite charities.  Management, of course, will take the credit -- both economic and philanthropic. 

Walgreen's management has circumvented the cashier by adding an additional step to the credit card process.  You cannot finalize your purchase without first answering the question "Would you like to donate money to..."  

Some banks decided -- without asking the OTHER -- that customers would like to have tellers call them by their first names.  Wrong! Like most people I know, we like deciding that for ourselves.  

Incivilities can be visual as well as auditory and physical. --  like the public display of private parts, most so ugly, they should never be exposed -- not even in private.  

As for the immodest exposure of pretty parts, ...
it's going to come to a bad end. 

Once upon a time it  took only an ankle and a lilttle imagination to titillate. When ankles became ho-hum, the entire leg was exposed. We are up to the breasts now, so in-your-face, begging to be plucked.  Keep it up, and in time they too will cease to arouse and be limited to milk production. What happens then -- when the female body runs out of never-before-seen parts to display in public?  Will humans cease to procreate?

But that's another question  for another day. Back to the original one: what’s a person to do when confronted by uncivil behavior?

The city of Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the E.U, had been plagued for years by dog poop in the streets, spitting and urinating in public, nose-picking, harassment of women, and much more.  Citizens felt threatened, and criminals felt welcome.  The mayor finally decided that enough was enough and initiated a campaign called “Be Kind or Be Fined!”  Perpetrators are now fined up to $300 per uncivil incident.  Fines are quickly collected, and incivilities are on the decline.

Municipalities can do that as a collective, but what can individuals do?  Professor P.M. Forni in his book “Choosing Civility” provides us with twenty-five rules to live by for improving public discourse.  Curiously, at the heart of all twenty-five is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”  If each of us pretended to be the OTHER before doing or saying, this  would be a better, more peaceful world with good will to all.  

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a kinder, gentler  world.

Whiningly yours, Carol



  1. I am happy to her that I am not alone. It's such a relief, my friend, to know that I am not prudish, uptight, old-fashioned or any number of cliches that are are meant to project boorish behavior back to the offended. If I hear "But...That's just the way I am..." one more time, I'm going to scream. I can think of nothing more audacious than asking the world to make an accommodation for any type of behavior, regardless of how offensive to the world at large. I hope a million people read this blog...and I hope that even a small percentage of them get it. Thanks for the post. Brilliant!

  2. Wonderful, Carol. It's amazing how people are so swayed by culture rather than common sense. I've tried to teach my children to be ladies and a gentleman. There are some things, however, like swearing, that they insist are socially acceptable. They tell me I'm being a prude when I suggest they rephrase something or limit that vocabulary in public. Thankfully, they do refrain around their grandmothers or in more formal settings. And with rudeness so rampant, many have become inured to it. As for all the text and photographic proof of misbehavior, there are so many layers of stupidity involved, it makes you wonder how these people even function! So, I will continue in my Victorian prudishness and civility. Maybe someone will see and learn. And for those who think I'm being too old-fashioned, well they can shove it up their a**! :)