Manners - A Lost Art
"Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feeling of others, if you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." Emily Post
First of let me be clear about my mantra. I love fashion. I love art. I love books. I love movies. I love critical thinking. I love intelligence. I cherish being kind, connecting with others, acting with grace, acknowledging we are not alone, my actions matter, they count and to listen to others. When I do something, it affects other people. Everyone I am friends in this life is on this page of moral ethics. Life is too short to live as if you are the only one in existence. After two years of the deathly and scary Covid 19 pandemic, our world has an endless sea of narcistic and wired individuals.
What is "wired"? Those with their heads down while they strut with ear pods and eyes glued to smartphones and or sitting at computers. They are virtually unaware of their surroundings. Each day, there is another instance in daily life or in the media with heady examples of poor social and societal behaviors. It makes your head spin. Pray tell Sherlock - Are we lost?
Can I take your order? Ahhh....I am not sure? Can I sample? Does it have this or that?
How many times have you been in line ordering something to eat and have been completely annoyed with those who cannot decide? They are completely unaware of others behind them. They take their time, ask endless questions while everyone waits patiently. Or how about the person who cuts in line? Another sore spot. No manners, nor thought of their others. Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, does a hilarious bit about waiting in line while someone samples ice cream when a large line is behind them. Seinfeld (David co-creator) also has an episode about soup. Both are funny skits, that we all can relate too, yet so incredibly annoying and infuriating. Furthermore, today the frequency of these moments is beyond the pale. How many of you have watched, " a teaching lesson" with their children while you are inline? I think of my own parents. They would have ordered for me if I was slow and indecisive. They were AWARE of others.
Drive Your Car? Do I know how? Or do I just point, stop wherever on my journey? Do, I think? Perchance, no.
Another example comes with everyday driving skills. It is stunning how many do not follow driving rules taught in driving school. Or did they attend a driving school? I have literally seen people stop in the middle of the road and turn their 3 tons of metal around without realizing the chaos they are creating. They have no idea, nor care about their surroundings or other people. Where did they get their license? Pray tell? Do they not realize the damage they can do by driving as if they are the only one on the planet? Or kill someone because of their lack of awareness?
The Small Moments - Are you aware or self-absorbed?
Or how about the little things. No one says, yes, please, thank you or holds the door. Are we all invisible? Are you an alien? Where are the acts of kindness or thoughtfulness? We live in a time when the mantra is "Hurray for me and to Hell with you." It is rampant. Mind you, everything we love has been changed, eliminated, or destroyed. People are in a state of high change and chaos. They are hit with a barrage of verbal banter that continually pokes, challenges and shocks. We are left wondering why our society is crumbling before our eyes. No one is accountable. Moreover, many also say whatever they think rather than deliberating how their words or actions may affect another person. They do not care but want to be righteous. The question is are we now in the film, One Flew Over the Cookoo Nest (1975)?
The Final Insult
The straw that broke the camel's back was the 94th Academy Awards show held on March 27, 2022. We watch because we love fashion, enjoy films, and want to be entertained. Yes, the show can be dreadfully boring but sometimes funny. I remember attending incredible black tie cocktail parties, playing games and dutifully watching the show. Of course, the Oscars were awarded in the day to the "most seen" and beloved films by the public. These films brought in $$$, created emotion, joy, were historic and basically "the talk of the town". We all know these films and to this day think about them. In recent years, the slated nominated films are one-offs and often seen by a few and make little money. Additionally, the Academy Awards through the '30's - 90's - were the standard barrier of manners, fashion, and etiquette worldwide. Pray tell, everything about the Oscars, like all else, has regrettably ended.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the kings horses and kings men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
94th Academy Awards - March 27, 2022
The fashion was Hollywood glamour of bygone years and was sublime. Diamonds, long gowns, simple hair and lipstick smiles on the red carpet. After all, we have not been able to watch the Oscars in several years. Thus, a win in fashion. Of course, there were those that missed the mark this year. We know who they were on the red carpet. Not hard to miss.
The hosts this year were hilarious, especially Amy Schumer. However, this alone was not enough to save the Oscars. This year took the cake and Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. He is now broken and may never be repaired. By now we know what happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock. If you do not, then are part of the problem with your head buried deeply in the sand of your own vanity. The act was completely unacceptable. Anything positive about the Oscars was thrown out with the garbage. Smith's actions were egregious, reckless, and self-absorbed. He is in the public limelight. With this limelight comes criticism, jokes, and a thick skin. There were other paths to correcting Rock's comments. Better ways such as commenting during his acceptance speech. Alas, emotions and thoughtlessness overtook and won. The apology, though moving, was empty as he went out partying afterwards. Who does that? Do not most feel bereft for their actions? I would have. Seriously have we left all civility in the bottom of a garbage can? Are we now a garbage society? So broken that we cannot fix it. For certain, Humpty Dumpty (The Oscars) has taken a great fall.
The shadow of shame dampened those who won Oscars and the films that deserved accolades. As an avid tennis player, I enjoyed King Richard. My thoughts go to the Williams sisters and family. They deserved better behavior from the lead actor.
The question is are WE over too? Can we mend our ways? I believe we can. Light always outweighs darkness. Good prevails. You must work at it? None of us are perfect. We can try. Can't we?
1. Be kind
2. Be aware
3. Think before you act
4. Remember you are part of a whole
5. Live accordingly
6. Love with all your heart
7. Sincerely apologize
8. Walk and talk with grace
9. Anger or sharp words written or said? Think, think and think. Does this bring joy? Or are you hurting someone, others or all? Be thoughtful.
10. Love. Follow the tenets of love.
I hope you all take a moment and think about your fellow man. I hope you all know the difference between good and evil. I hope you all begin to read history and understand man's inhumanity to man. I hope all of us take off our golden shades of arrogance and begin to understand our world and our fellow humans.
Our time is short on this planet. Make a difference. Do something today. Give a compliment. Have manners and correct those who do not. Do not accept ugliness. There are consequences to actions. Forgive when it is true. Forget when false. And, most importantly, spread love. That is it. It is easy.
Let's start a mantra, Demand thoughtfulness. Be thoughtful. Shame those that are not thoughtful. Look for the positive and squash the negative.