Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Where is the love?

I don't know about you...but lately I've felt as though the world is lacking decency.

The mind started churning a couple of weeks ago, I was walking past Borders on my way to work. They always blow up book covers to poster-size and put them in the window, and I enjoy looking at them as I stroll by. I sometimes daydream that I'll walk smack right into the love of my life because I wasn't paying attention - but that's another blog entry.

I saw one prominently displayed in the window, and was horrified by what I read. In huge letters, it says "The Dictionary of Corporate BULLSHIT"

I'm sorry, what?

I looked again, and it was still there. And it's still there, as of today. When did "bullshit" become an acceptable street display? I know there aren't an awful lot of kids running around downtown, but still. It's an assault on the eyes. And I know this is America, and we're all about free speech, but I don't think that means the freedom to offend. And yes, I know that "bullshit" is only a bad word because that is what society has determined, and it only has the meaning that we give it...but still.

It's not appropriate.

And there are articles by Peggy Noonan (article 1 and article 2) about how we're losing the concept of ladies and gentlemen - or that society is forgetting to treat women like ladies. Part of me rails against that - I don't want NO special treatment! I'm not a delicate flower! - but the other part of me agrees, to the extent that I'm sick of our society's tendency to be harsh and brash and rude. Peggy talks about the airport - the way she's callously searched, and the way that a security guard at the metal detector barks out orders to a mom, struggling to handle her young child and a stroller.

Let me say here that I generally get the extra pat down...because apparently I look very suspicious...and I don't mind it. Call in an invasion of privacy, but if that's what they have to do to make sure nothing sketchy is going on, go for it. Wave that wand. No one has crossed the line (yet) in terms of me and invasive searching.

But the yelling? It's not necessary. I have my ID and boarding pass out. I have my shoes off. I didn't realize that I have to take off my paper-thin cardigan, but I do not mind disrobing and putting it on the belt. No prob. But no need to speak as if you're putting a disobedient dog in line. I understand that it's a hard job, and there's always one that will give you problems, but you shouldn't treat everyone like a troublemaker. Same as when I go to the CVS near my work, I don't want "NEXT!" yelled at me when a stupid register is open. When someone calls me at work, I'm super pleasant. Sure, I talk fast, and I mumble, but you won't hear bitchiness in my voice. Because I know that that's not polite.

I don't necessarily want to be treated like a lady, I want to be treated courteously. And being treated like a lady happens to fall under that definition.

And then last week we were at Happy Hour, on a patio, and the guy at the next table started talking about some "bitch with large tits." And he didn't just say it once...but kept talking about her and describing her in detail. And it wasn't as though I had my ear turned towards the table, he was sitting back, and speaking loudly and clearly.

And then tonight at the bar, other guys were speaking along the same lines. And all I could think was "these are the options out there!?"

This topic leaves me conflicted, because we all know that I'm not always the classiest act. But I'd like to think that I don't go around offending people, and that when I say stupid things, it's not in the presence of random company. And I do do stupid things, or un-lady-like things. I don't think I deserve the term "lady" - one game of smack ass can attest to that (I doubt ladies play that). And I think it's cute when a guy I don't really know swears, realizes I'm (or any girl) is around, and quickly says sorry. Cute, because I swear on a frequent basis.

But gosh.

And the worst happened Monday night. E and C-note, and I were watching the news (WUSA9?), they had shown a teaser about a hostage crisis in "the DC area". Of course, we remained glued to the TV. They finally got to the piece, and showed a man holding a woman around the neck at a gas station. With the anchor saying "and then with a single shot to the head, they killed the man" the man jerked, and fell to the ground. We all peered closer - the footage was pretty grainy, and it was hard to see what was going on -

It was only when it did a replay a second later, I realized that I had just seen someone die. On TV. No, there wasn't any blood, and it was from pretty far away...I've seen a lot worse deaths in shows, and the movies...and it wasn't violent, per se. But it was the last second of someone's life. Regardless of the circumstances, a living, breathing person got shot in the head. And it was replayed, repackaged, and shown on the nightly news, for the ratings and, yes, for the entertainment value.

When did it become okay to show someone's death on TV?

When does "how far?" become "too far"?

Comments:
Meg,
I don't think I could hqve said it any better; where IS the love???
 
it is only offensive if you allow yourself to be offended.
 
Anonymous, does that mean we desensitize ourself, and act non-chalant about indecent things in our day to day lives? It doesn't, people should be more courteous.
While all of those examples (except for the security guard, their job is to be an imposing and intimidating presence) illustrate a lack of courteousy in the world, I think alot of the concern is a result of the glamourization of the "good ol'days" (which was a wednesday) when in actuallity we live in a better society today. Still doesn't mean we should think these things are acceptable however.
 
I had the same problem with the race car driver who died last weekend. They showed his fatal accident on ESPN just about every hour, on the hour. Not just the press conference about his death...not just the messages of condolence from his race team. The actual accident that killed him.

A couple of profs I had in college would say that this is just what happens when there's a 24-hour news cycle and something like 9/11 occurs...and I really can't find much to argue with in that assertion.
 
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