News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthsociety — Viewing Item


American fast past society taking toll on civility

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1213887

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1213887

Experts Decry Decline of Good Etiquette
Etiquette Experts Say Increasing Informality Have Strained Common Courtesies to Breaking Point
By DONNA CASSATA
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Americans' fast-paced, high-tech existence has taken a toll on civility. From road rage in the morning commute to high decibel cell-phone conversations that ruin dinner out, men and women behaving badly have become the hallmark of a hurry-up world.

An increasing informality flip-flops at the White House, even combined with self-absorbed communication gadgets and a demand for instant gratification have strained common courtesies to the breaking point.

"All of these things lead to a world with more stress, more chances for people to be rude to each other," said Peter Post, a descendent of etiquette expert Emily Post and an instructor on business manners through the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vt.

In some cases, the harried single parent has replaced the traditional nuclear family and there's little time to teach the basics of polite living, let alone how to hold a knife and fork, according to Post.

A slippage in manners is obvious to many Americans. Nearly 70 percent questioned in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll said people are ruder than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The trend is noticed in large and small places alike, although more urban people report bad manners, 74 percent, then do people in rural areas, 67 percent.

Peggy Newfield, founder and president of Personal Best, said the generation that came of age in the times-a-changin' 1960s and 1970s are now parents who don't stress the importance of manners, such as opening a door for a female.

So it was no surprise to Newfield that those children wouldn't understand how impolite it was to wear flip-flops to a White House meeting with the president as some members of the Northwestern women's lacrosse team did in the summer.

A whopping 93 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll faulted parents for failing to teach their children well.

"Parents are very much to blame," said Newfield, whose Atlanta-based company started teaching etiquette to young people and now focuses on corporate employees. "And the media."

Sulking athletes and boorish celebrities grab the headlines while television and Hollywood often glorify crude behavior.

"It's not like the old shows 'Father Knows Best,'" said Norm Demers, 47, of Sutton, Mass. "People just copy it. How do you change it?" Demers would like to see more family friendly television but isn't holding his breath.

Nearly everyone has a story of the rude or the crude, but fewer are willing to fess up to boorish behavior themselves.

Only 13 percent in the poll would admit to making an obscene gesture while driving; only 8 percent said they had used their cell phones in a loud or annoying manner around others. But 37 percent in the survey of 1,001 adults questioned Aug. 22-23 said they had used a swear word in public.

Yvette Sienkiewicz, 41, a claims adjustor from Wilmington, Del., recalled in frustration how a bigger boy cut in front of her 8-year-old son as he waited in line to play a game at the local Chuck E. Cheese.

"It wasn't my thing to say something to the little boy," said Sienkiewicz, who remembered that the adult accompanying the child never acknowledged what he had done. In the AP-Ipsos poll, 38 percent said they have asked someone to stop behaving rudely.

More and more, manners are taught less and less.

Carole Krohn, 71, a retired school bus driver in Deer Park, Wash., said she has seen children's behavior deteriorate over the years, including one time when a boy tossed a snowball at the back of another driver's head. In this litigious society, she argued, a grown-up risks trouble correcting someone else's kid.

One solution for bad behavior "is to put a kid off in the middle of the road. Nowadays all people want to do is sue, to say you're to blame, get you fired," Krohn said.

Krohn, who often greeted students by name and with a hearty "good morning," once was asked by a child if she got tired of offering pleasantries.

Sienkiewicz, whose job requires hours in a car, said she tries to avoid rush-hour traffic because of drivers with a me-first attitude. The most common complaint about rudeness in the poll was aggressive or reckless driving, with 91 percent citing it as the most frequent discourtesy.

Margaret Hahn-Dupont, a 39-year-old law professor from Oradell, N.J., noticed that some of her students showed little respect for authority and felt free to express their discontent and demand better grades.

Close on the heels of the baby boomers are the affluent teens and young adults who have known nothing but the conveniences of computers and cell phones, devices that take them away from face-to-face encounters and can be downright annoying in a crowd.

"They got a lot of things and feel entitled to get a lot of things," said Hahn-Dupont.

Bernard F. Scanlon, 79, of Sayville, N.Y., would like to see one railroad car set aside for cell phone users to ensure peace and quiet for the rest. Amtrak has taken a stab at that by banning cell phones and other loud devices in one car of some trains, especially on chatty Northeast and West Coast routes.

But if those trains are sold out, the Quiet Car service is suspended and anything goes.

How rude.


On the Net:

http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures



amygdala
brain
nih-sex-study
12 yr old kills 9 yr old sister for hamburger { February 15 2005 }
American alcohol abuse on the rise
American fast past society taking toll on civility
Americanized hispanic teens have more sex { March 8 2005 }
Americans 16 percent tattooed
Americans lonelier than ever
Americans relying more on prescription drugs { December 3 2004 }
Americans youth are more narcissists than ever
Army recruits conditioned for violence by society { December 27 2004 }
Boys failing at schools
British encourage underage oral { February 21 2003 }
Community college before university deemed better
Farmers live longer { November 19 2007 }
Girls confuse arrogant men with confidence
Girls quicker than boys at timed tasks { April 25 2006 }
Having older brother may cause homosexuality { June 27 2006 }
Lack of social connections leading to mental problems { June 23 2006 }
Men more likely militaristic than women
Men stressed and confused by women in bed
Most american women living without husband { January 16 2007 }
Nearly 1 in 5 americans foreign language home
Not pornography
Nude not lewd
Over crowded roads hurting life quality { January 17 2006 }
Parents only important factor in education { October 10 2007 }
Rich people are the most miserable says study
Sarcasm seen as evolutionary social skill { June 20 2008 }
Science for brainy people not normal people { January 20 2006 }
Self monitor
Technology gadgets keeping people addicted { February 19 2008 }
Those with money value free time most { May 2 2008 }
Traffic jam epidemic getting worse
Traffic sprawl qualitylife
Unmarried women give record births { October 28 2005 }
War over fetal rights
Wil smith says hitler thought he was doing good
Woman nurses puppies
Women dominate men at home { July 11 2007 }
Women talk more and like to hear themselves talk
Zoning out while reading common problem { July 3 2006 }

Files Listed: 40



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple