I know people who stopped going to the movies years ago because of the drop off in movie etiquette. Ticket prices being what they are, why pay to be annoyed by those who won’t stay quiet or won’t turn off their phones or won’t stop texting during a film?
This is hardly a new trend. In May 2007, in its “Guide to Movie Etiquette,” New York Magazine even said “the days of respectful silence are gone.”
Last year, there was even a Quixotic PetitionOnline.com – – – a pointless exercise in impotent outrage futilely striking at bad manners at the movies.
A few years ago, I spoke with a public library staff member about the increasing noise volume at my local library. “Whatever happened to the shushing librarian?,” I asked.
It may have been coincidental but this was likely the start of the trend now enveloping virtually all public libraries, which is that of public libraries as community meeting places and not places to serenely select and read books.
Indeed, it was 2008 when UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham took steps to end silence in Britain’s libraries, specifically what he called “the somber face” of public libraries. In announcing plans to modernize “decades out of date” British public libraries into places to socialize, Burnham talked about introducing Internet cafes and allowing the use of cell phones and the consumption of snacks.
Cell phones in the public library? Why not, the damn things are everywhere, including the toilet. A survey reveals 75% of those polled admit to using their mobiles in the restroom. 67 percent are reading texts on the throne, 63 percent answer phone calls and 41 percent initiate phone calls without finishing their business first. One unlucky guy even had to be rescued after losing his cell phone down the toilet. Also see “IT in the Toilet: Study shows cell phones big in bathroom.”
Last year, CNN Contributor Bob Greene haplessly asked “Did cell phones unleash our inner rudeness? Ya think?
Some blame an entitlement mindset or bad parenting or of course, technology. Amanda Onion writing for ABC News made note of this when she asked, “Have Americans Forgotten Their Manners?” She quoted a survey from QRC International by Lenox that said there’d been “a 50 percent jump from 2002” in the poor manners of Americans. And a 2010 Rasmussen poll indicated “69% Say Americans are Becoming More Rude, Less Civilized.”
A few days ago, going last November’s “Pepper Spray” shopper one better, a “Woman was tasered in front of her daughter after cutting the McDonalds Drive-Thru Line.”
I’ve previously belabored the subject of lawyer incivility. So I won’t go there, again here.
What’s interesting, though, is that with all the continued hullabaloo over rudeness – – – it ‘s also revealing something patently obvious. It’s our lack of self-awareness of our own manners.
Rudeness is on the rise, everyone agrees. But it’s ‘the other guy’ that’s rude – – – never ourselves.
 Leroy Brownlow