Re "What's gotten into us?" Sept. 16
This article, albeit informative, should be renamed "What's gotten into them?"
I take offense at being thrown into the "us" bucket. Most of "us" behave in a civil way.
Let's face it, rude is in vogue these days, alas.
Public figures crave constant attention. They would rather have bad news about themselves than no news.
Most people are polite and considerate. Some people do act like jerks; they imagine they are privileged because they are celebrities, or have lots of money, or think they are always right and must tell everyone so, or never got told to act differently by anyone.
There are differences, of course. Kanye West acts like a jerk, but Rep. Joe Wilson carefully sniffs the political winds. One acts without thinking; the other thinks about how to act. Both types will always figure out how to tap into their inner idiot.
And these boors get to be front-page news. Perhaps the media should just ignore them.
The article on recent high-profile outbursts was interesting; however, anyone attending a sporting event where 10-year-old children are participating can see and hear the same threats, outbursts and physical confrontations -- by the parents.
What is the possibility that this is simply learned behavior? People learn to act this way growing up by observing their "role models" -- including the disingenuous, smiling, denying pseudo-apologies.
And they'll all be forgiven by a public without the backbone to stop buying albums or tickets and that doesn't decide based on right and wrong but votes for misplaced loyalties and labels.
Permit me to take issue with your portrayal of Joe Wilson as high-profile.
Until he catapulted himself to fame or infamy -- depending on how one views his bawling "You lie!" in the middle of President Obama's speech -- the man was nothing but an obscure backbencher largely unknown outside of South Carolina.
Look around. Look at us. We have become a grungy society. It began in the '60s and '70s with the beginnings of total disregard for authority, discipline and respect for custom, with the continuing wave of destruction of any heroes or role models. Then came the grunge movement in dress, and subsequently our attitudes matched it.
We have created our own low common denominator. Why?
I think the author missed the social driving force of religious morals and tenets.
We live in a society that wants us to accept any lifestyle as normal, any outlandish viewpoint as OK and any opinion as valid as the next.
We have marginalized the moral standard-bearers that tell us what is right and wrong, and allowed self-indulgent, anything-goes thought to rule. It is only when we hold people accountable for their actions that they will do the right thing.
I wonder how many members of Congress who now censure Wilson's discourtesy also would have censured the Iraqi shoe thrower. I'll bet you would find the two lists quite different. It is just a case of whose ox was gored.
You want to find congressmen with some integrity, look for those who censured both.
To retain courtesy at times is difficult and important, but to maintain integrity is the glue we are so much missing these days.