wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Time to grow up?

My man Tooley's talkin' 'bout the hip-hop, but I think he's using it to make a larger point about American society, and not just the black urban hip-hop culture you can see pretty much 24/7 on MTV and BET. Roger Kimball's talking about the same thing from another angle. Not to put too fine a point on it, but one of the legacies of the Boomers' "if it feels good, do it" and "above all else, be honest" legacy is that the pubilc square is filled these days with a bunch of trash-talking yobbos who are pitching to the lowest common denominator. You can see it in politics, you can see it in entertainment, you can even see it in the way people talk to each other. There's no respect and even less politeness, and people are starting to look around and say "This isn't cool. This isn't right."

Call me a relic of a backward time, but it seems to me we were all better off when some things were best kept to yourself and "think before you speak" was not all about how best to deliver a verbal smackdown but rather about deciding whether what you were going to say was right for the situation. Nowadays, as Avery says, the media make their pitch to the 18-24 bracket and expect everyone else to just live with it. Thing is, do we really want to live someplace where the standards are set by teenagers' rampaging id? Pretty hard to raise your kids in a sensible manner in that kind of place, at least if you want them to have their heads together, and for a lot of people dropping out of American society really isn't an option.

Discretion. Politeness. Manners. Courtesy. Robert Heinlein once described that last as the lubricant of society, and it seems that lately we've had a lot of painful grinding noises for lack of it. Maybe we ought to work on getting this particular Fab Four back in the place of honor they used to have around here. As amusing as it may be to listen to Roger Daltrey sing "Hope I die before I get old", the reality is that sooner or later we need to grow up and start acting right. Because the alternative gets pretty grotty.
Tags: culture & politics
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