3.) A Certain Coarseness. We also are wearied by a certain crassness in American society in ways we have not seen before—or at least since the mid-19th century. Sorry, I don’t want my President joshing about the Special Olympics on Leno. I don’t want him on Leno at all in his perpetual PR mode. I don’t want him drawing out his picks for the final four on TV. I don’t want him paid for rewriting/revising/ condensing/whatever his earlier book while he’s supposed to be President, or ribbing Gordon Brown about his tennis game in patronizing fashion, or giving the British a pack of un-viewable DVDs after they, in exchange, offered a tasteful gift of historic importance.
I was always an advocate of informality, of casualness, but now when on a plane, in a restaurant, at Starbucks, I am struck by the rare well-dressed person who does not crowd. How odd the extra-polite woman, who conducts herself with charm and grace at the counter, or the gentleman who opens doors, says excuse me, and whose intelligent conversation I enjoy listening in on—like a dew drop to someone thirsting in the desert. In contrast, when the punk walks by, with radio blaring, mumbling obscenities, flashing the ‘I’ll kill you’ stare,” it all leaves me in depression.
Worse still, on the opposite end of the scale, is the master of the universe who elbows his way onto a plane while he blares on the telephone and blocks the aisle. I feel creepy after walking through an electronics store and seeing some of the video game titles and covers.
In short, I don’t want to hear any more Viagra or Cialis ads, no more douche commercials—please no more talking heads about penises that are enlarging, hardening, stimulated on the public air waves.
The sum of these foul parts is smothering us. I don’t want to know that there is a new sex clinic opening in
At some point, we need to say enough is enough, and try to find some sense of honor and decorum in these times of crisis. My god, the entire country has become some sort of Rousseauian nightmare, as if the Berkeley Free Speech Area circa 1970 is now the public domain, as if the culture of the Folsom cell block is now the national ethos.
Just so. At considerable risk of sounding like the proverbial Cranky Old Man… I’ll just say Mr. Hanson speaks for me. It’s always been true that the current “older generation” has harped on the habits and foibles of the upcoming young; I know MY father never tired of pointing out how clueless and stupid my generation was, at the time (which would be during the '60s and '70s).
The unfortunate aspect of my Ol’ Man’s harping and carping was that he was right in so many respects. A great deal of the problems we’re experiencing today have their roots in the attitudes and mores of The Boomers… the ultimate “me first” generation. But I digress, and there’s been a veritable sea of ink spilled on this topic. I don’t have any unique insights to add in this space, other than the fact I witnessed, first hand, a lot of the madness as it “went down.” And to vouch for the veracity of my father’s observations.
That said… “things” DO seem worse today… a LOT worse… than they did five or ten years ago. Or, Hell… even eight months ago, for that matter. I know I can chalk some of my angst up to nostalgia for a “more simpler time,” but that ain’t all of it. All one needs to do is re-read the excerpt I posted above and remember that we weren’t exposed to even a third of those things Mr. Hanson is on about in the near past. Depressing, indeed.
The excerpt above is but one out of five items… and I encourage you to “read the whole thing” if you haven’t already. All of Mr. Hanson’s points ring true to me, and I’m on a semi-crusade to change things for the better. Well, except for giving up my well-worn jeans and tee shirts. There are SOME things My Generation refuses to abandon.