Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. See, I didn’t know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior.

Oh and you know what else he told me?…I know, I mean I thought a “gentleman” was somebody that owned horses. But it turns out, his short and simple definition of a lady or a gentleman is, someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.
Dave Foley (Troy) speaking with Alicia Silverstone (Eve) in Blast From the Past

From a friend’s FB post:

I flew to Hawai’i this past October so I could spend 5 days with my daughter and my grandson,……….. I was immersed in the “Aloha spirit.” Someone named “Rick” explained it on Talk of the Nation this afternoon, as a tribute to Senator Inouye, who passed away yesterday, and whose last words were, “Aloha.” It has left a deep and enduring impression on me ever since.

Aloha Spirit is the pinnacle of Hawai’an culture, and is “consciously and deliberately always treating the other person with positive civil regard and making a deliberate decision to do that all the time and treating them honorably, even if they didn’t agree with your views.”

In my opinion, all this talk of gun control, locking school doors, armed guards in public buildings, even better mental health care, is closing the barn door after the horse is loose. Don’t get me wrong. I support rational gun control laws, especially those that require a background check and a waiting period. I certainly support better access to, and affordable mental health services. But I firmly believe that until we learn to act in a civil manner towards each other, until we stop the verbal (and physical) brutalizing of each other for entertainment (entertainment?) we will not get relief from these violent attacks. We are all Angry Birds with a hair trigger.

My cousin Ken and I often disagree on the radio show Stephanie Miller. He finds it funny. I find it rude. Within the serious subject of current events, the rudeness is often silly and irrelevant. I used to listen a few years ago. Every day they had to mention that Steny Hoyer was fat. Now – were Steny Hoyer’s decisions wrong because he was fat? Can fat people not be good political leaders? Are fat people stupid? The constant junior high locker room jokes mispronouncing Boehner’s name, also left me cold. How can you expect to have any credibility in the public arena like that?

Rush Limbaugh is said to be to blame – left leaning media needed someone to counter his vitriolic spin. So we ended up with almost everything spun that way. Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Miller, Olbermann, and even John Stewart with his constant penis jokes. And what is the reason given? “this isn’t journalism -it’s entertainment”.  (That’s entertaining?)

Somewhere in the 70’s or 80’s the star character in our movies and TV became the bad boy. Maybe it was the Fonz. Though the Fonz was a rebel, he treated people courteously. Maybe it was The Simpsons, where Bart and Homer were the heroes, and Lisa and Marge were – well goody 2 shoes girls. Then of course South Park, a show with very, very adult humor that was turned over to kids  because it’s a ‘cartoon’. Adults disappeared from kids programming, or became idiots. (actually the kids on the show became absolute idiots too, who couldn’t think at all) (thinking, reasoning is soooo old fashioned) My granddaughter watches a show now, that is a little inane, one of the sidekicks is so inept you would wonder how he gets dressed in the morning). The difference in this kids’ show is that, though the adults are kooky, each in their own way, they also are intelligent and compassionate. TV today is a far cry from the shows I watched where adults and kids treated each other with respect. Kids made mistakes in judgement suitable to their age. Teens were shown taking the responsibility they were taught as youngsters. Big brothers and sisters routinely were responsible for their siblings even though they expressed their frustration with having the little kid tag along.

We were told that those shows didn’t express reality, that they made the kid who didn’t have a ‘nuclear family’ feel left out. Though both Opie and the Cartwright boys were raised by widowed fathers, and Our Miss Brooks was a professional woman. June Cleaver cleaned house in a dress. Well so did my Mom, though not in pearls and heels. June Cleaver and Laura Petri were not afraid to speak up to their husbands. From rewatching The Beaver now, I’d say Ward treated June with a great deal of respect. On the Waltons I’ve heard “Do what your mother says” as often as “Do what your father says” and they always discussed the issues. Grandma and Grampa had their respected say also, which might be a good thing today where kids are often being raised by Grandparents.

My point being that we need to learn to treat each other with respect on a day to day basis. We need to address the problems in our society. Aren’t adequate wages, affordable healthcare, and equitable housing and education really also issues of showing respect? If I don’t respect my employees enough to pay them at least a living wage, why should I expect them to respect me? If we as a society, fail to provide comparable schooling to all our children, aren’t we disrespecting some, simply because they had the misfortune to be born into lesser circumstances?

You can’t keep kicking a dog and then act surprised when he bites,

but you can gentle a brutalized dog through constant compassionate care.

And if we never brutalized each other in the first place…

May we all learn to live in the Aloha spirit, wherever in the world we reside.

By Ana Grarian

50+ hippy chick from NY - STATE - and yes, I'm sensitive about that.

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Ken Carman
11 years ago

I think the difference between the two of us can be brought down to this: yes, I would agree if we could go back to a “respectful”way of addressing each other, and forms of humor, we might be better off. However, even if our concepts of those times weren’t colored by misconceptions: not going to happen. And I am not lone for unilateral disarmament, especially during a time when snark IS so popular. It won’t go away by wishing it, and letting them have the stage only means they win until society gets burned out on it. That’s coming, but maybe not in our lifetimes.

The 50s and the 60s were not as blameless as one might think. Snark was simply more politically correct from a different perspective. Starting with Amos and Andy’s not so nice portrayal of Blacks, to The Smothers Brothers painting all southern ministers as holding a shotgun: ready to shoot, on an interracial couple, back to stereotypes and mocking of gays or Don Rickles, there was plenty of mocking and childish image making. One act I always ,loathed was Lucille Ball’s portrayal of a woman who was such a stupid ditz her husband had to save her all the time: sometimes with a “righteous” spanking. Then she turned obnoxious, according to some, on the other side: super lib. Didn’t offend me, but not funny when women’s liberation WASN’T led by over the top feminists, like the Right would have us believe.

I think one of the the main differences is: the “your fat” stuff I can mostly skip over to the funny, and sometimes the hypocritical-ness, of someone lecturing on self control… someone who obvious has at least an image of having little to none. Pointing to that, IMO, is a valid point, just like pointing to ministers who preach anti-Gay but claim to only have had a wide stance in a bathroom stall. You prefer Thom Hartmann. I don’t listen much anymore, though I like him in general. While I can skip over the MAD mag type stuff in Stephanie to the core of their message: the background chatter provided by Jim and Chris can sometimes be quite poignant, Thom’s tendency to invite on rightwingers and then let them get away with saying stuff they shouldn’t get away with, and filibuster him, bugs me. We used to talk a lot via E-mail until I mentioned this once, politely. I think he’s taken that criticism to heart. I’m sure he’s heard it from others. Now HE interrupts and filibusters people, when in reality he should warn them the first time, and the second time shut them down, or pot them down until the learn to be “civil.” Me? I’d kick them off the air unless they had a civil, respectful, discussion, and then use them as an example of what’s wrong with the right these days, or wrong with the nature of the social discourse in general. The left does it too, though claiming as much would be a false equivalency.

IMO Hartmann encourages incivility in that way as much, or more, than Miller does. At least with Miller you know it’s supposed to be a joke most of the time. But I think we need both. In fact we need the scholarly to the outrageous, at least for now. Maybe someday we will live in a more civil society, but until then I don’t think I, or any of the Left, needs to sit back and play rope a dope, but never actually take a swing back. Sad to say, at least in male culture, the bully on the playground is the one that usually gets support when beating up the smaller kid. I think that’s some weird, innate, human tendency. Notice Obama didn’t get back his support during the debates until he got combative.

Probably the best approach I’ve heard was Bernie Ward. He would simply stop callers or guests and say, “No, you can’t just say that and go on. Prove it.” But Bernie has his own problems.

In conclusion, if media is going to mix opinion, news and entertainment, we can’t just sit back, moan, and wish things weren’t the way they were. Having been in radio for quite a few years, and in programming at a major radio station in the nation, I know that ratings rule. It’s unfortunate, but unless you play the game the way it’s played: you lose. Wishing it were otherwise, while perhaps a grand idea, does worse than nothing. And you can’t lead by example when you’re not even allowed to step up to the plate.

Sad to say: too many sports references from someone who has never cared all that much for sports. But, unfortunately, that’s the state of the MSM these days. It’s all a game that requires ratings to win.

Ken Carman
Reply to  Ana Grarian
11 years ago

Here’s a question I thought of as I read your response. Are we better off with Amos and Andy making fools of one race than we are with the obscenities of today’s comics? Are we better off with demeaning women, ala’ Ricky Ricardo vs demeaning those who disagree with us, like Stephanie Miller or Rush Limbaugh? (BTW, I think we’re most likely both missing a lot when we focus in on just that factor of either show.) Aren’t portraying all southerners as shotgun holding ministers, or all Liberals/Conservatives as blah, blah, blah, basically the same thing? Maybe the rhetoric is less spiced with obscenities and bluntness, but frankly being obvious to me is a tad better than hiding the fact that people hate, and demean, fat people behind the dimwitted personage of Abbot, or portraying all Jews are money grubbers in the act of many comedians and actors.

I think what you mention has always been part of our discourse, we just used to pretty it up more and be less obvious. While, yes, I wish we were nicer to each other, I do think how naked it all is makes it an easier target to go after.

Neither is preferable. I wish we lived in a society where we respected each other more, and to a certain extent we do. Mulattoes (I’m told it’s an insult as a term, though I fail to see why. isn’t “1/2 white” worse?) no longer suffer from near the stigma they used to, unwed mother used to mean a trip to the illegal operation, or a quiet adoption. May seem strange, but I think our crassness may be working in our favor… maybe. Maybe not. Only when people look back long after we’re gone will the results on that be in.

Curious where you pulled this quote from…

He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. See, I didn’t know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior. Oh and you know what else he told me?…I know, I mean I thought a “gentleman” was somebody that owned horses. But it […]

I don’t recognize it, and I’ve never thought “gentleman” had anything to do with “horses.” If I wrote it… no idea the context.

Ken Carman
11 years ago

But it’s not OK to openly discriminate as much as it used to be: you get battered by what’s, admittedly, sometimes over the top rhetoric. Those who use over the top rhetoric get it slammed right back at them. This is my point, and trying to limit only those who agree with your side is like enabling those who do these kinds of things.

NOTE: I am not referring specifically to you. I am referring to the fact that there are some on the left who want everyone on our side to “play nice” when they should know damn well they have no control over the rest who would just continue to beat down. And, no, them doing that won’t lose their case for them in society’s eyes, as some claim.

Here’s one example of the difference: when we were kinds an African American would never have become president. No way. Racists were not only more open about it, but killing civil rights workers. “Open about it” on the public stage. Now, when that happens, there’s a backlash. And, sometimes, that rhetoric can go over the top, though usually not anywhere near as much, IMO. But the sitting back and just letting them get away without the only kind of backlash, sometimes over the top, has gone.

Is that a “good thing?” No, no more than Amos N’ Andy. Or “segregation now, segregation forever!” You still hear the echoes of this rhetoric used against Gays, but once again there’s more of a backlash, and it isn’t always “nice” either.

Curious: do you spend as much time trying to convince those we both know on the Right to use nice words? How does that work? Ever feel like, I said in my latest column regarding myself, your hobby is charging immovable walls head down?

I am for a return to the family hour. We do agree on that. And one must note the foremost violator on what we used to call “the major networks” is also the supposed standard bearer for the “more moral than thou” right wing.

In the end we have to deal with what is, not just what we wish was. I respect those who push for a different way of doing things, understanding that sometimes everyone being “nice” can be a convenient cover for those who do nasty: especially if lecturing only one side is the only viable option.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x