Civility, part 2

I confess that I don't get "it" whatever "it" is about our culture, and indeed the world as a whole today, when it comes to the difficulty of simply being decent, respectful and courteous. Not formal and stiff and stuck up, but just good old fashioned consideration. Hold the door for the person behind you. Thank your waiter or waitress and be patient if a mistake is made and they are working to correct it-restaurant work is hard work. Let the guy next to you in to your lane. Thank the bag boy and the cashier at the grocery store.

I don't understand the appeal of "shock jocks." I don't understand why being obnoxious on TV (not humorous, not satirical, but obnoxious) or on the radio or in a book is entertaining. So I don't understand the appeal of Don Imus. I have no idea how he's managed to stay employed for so long in his chosen profession. I don't understand Howard Stern, Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter, Keith Oberman or even Lou Dobbs. And I truly don't understand Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, and their ilk. I don't understand why facts and reason are less interesting than behaving in a way that, if emulated by a child, would result in punishment. Adults parade themselves on TV misbehaving, and getting rich off it, and some people wonder why young people behave as they do?!

I do understand Oprah, and Ellen, and Ty Pennington and Suze Orman, even if they can sometimes be a little annoying or saccharine (like the rest of us!). But at least they help people, educate them, make them laugh, inspire them, and make them happy. They have chosen to use the very great power of media to make a positive contribution to the world.

Don Imus has every right to say whatever cruel, racist, sexist, daft thing he likes. He's made a career of it, somehow. And if what he says is said in the course of his work, and his employer doesn't like it, they have every right to can him.

In the end, it comes down to whether or not we value civility, compassion, respect and the basic courtesy due to every human being, rather than profit for profits sake, sensationalism, personal/group/political agendas, and selfishness.

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