Posted by Robin Abrahams January 27, 2010 06:30 AM
Let's talk. I still haven't worked out the threading problem, but we'll see what we can do. Occasional tech tsuris aside, I'm wanting this blog to become more and more a conversation ground, and I think it's turning into that pretty well.
So, here's our Wednesday question, which I'll discuss with you in comments: Do you think 21st-century America is in an epidemic of rudeness? Most people do. From my book:
Ultimately, although I think there are factors at this particular moment in civilization that make politeness tricky, I don't think we've all suddenly become unfathomably rude. But I'm open to having my mind changed -- which is part of what these Wednesday discussions are all about. What do you think?
Most Americans think we?re experiencing an epidemic of rudeness. In a 2005 poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, 69 percent of respondents said that people -- other people, of course, and mostly younger people -- had gotten ruder over the past twenty to thirty years. Is the perception true? Who knows? The question of whether people really are ruder today than in some mythical "yesterday" is hardly the kind of question that can be measured scientifically ...
Another survey, ominously titled "Aggravating Circumstances: A Status Report on Rudeness in America" and taken in 2002, found an even higher proportion of Americans -- 79 percent -- agreeing that "lack of respect and courtesy is a serious problem in our society." Despite the overwhelming agreement on this issue, the sample was evenly split as to whether the perceived decline in civility was caused by many people, or an uncouth yet memorable few. Forty-one percent of respondents, in a surprising show of honesty, even admitted to violating their own codes of civility. The reality of the situation can never be measured objectively, but if almost everyone believes that civilization is in decline, then clearly there a problem that needs to be addressed.
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