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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Obligation of Courtesy

I've recently talked with a number of friends who have lost their jobs in fairly ugly ways - not misconduct on their part, mind you!

Just demeaning and insulting behavior from their erstwhile bosses. Losing a job is painful enough, but these incidents included cruelty for its own sake. A gleeful, "You're fired!" in a setting of intimidation, patterned after "The Apprentice".

It leads me to wonder if, back in the 80s when we embraced the managerial style of Donald Trump (among others) in the creation of the Me Generation (or the Generation of Greed), we also gave away one of the things that made this country great.

The obligation of courtesy. Not, "It's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice', but the thought that we owe one another polite and gracious treatment that puts the other's feelings first.

And that puts our desire to vent our feelings so far down the list it's off the page.

In the last few decades a legion of psychologists have told us that it's unwise to 'bottle up' our emotions, that it's unhealthy and they'll come out in other, ominous ways. (It is of interest that emotional catharsis used to be pushed for veterans with PTSD...until they started killing themselves after releasing their feelings.)

Maybe. But maybe if we had rules (gasp!) to live by, which disallowed the venting of anger for its own sake, the burden of 'bottled emotions' would become society-wide, a burden we all could share, and therefore lighten.

What do you think?


  1. The Brits, and Canadians to some extent, have a stiff upper lip. The English pride themselves on maintaining decorum and having exceptional manners, even in the face of great difficulty.
    There is something to be said for civility under duress.

    Did you break the left or right hand?

    1. Civility under duress is so important...the current infatuation with 'attitude' is just an excuse for lack of discipline. Self-confidence is one thing, but attitude is a brittle veneer that covers poor self-image, and lack of faith.

      It was the left hand, and rib high on the left side. I was bringing Josie and Reebok, our two young athletes, into the house - they pulled me off-balance and I whanged into a doorframe.

      Friday was even more interesting, but not for a public blog. Know this - from that experience - there is a life beyond this one.

    2. Go to Facebook, I'm Jennifer Zarifeh Major (the ONLY one and message me about Friday!

    3. For some reason you're not coming up on FB, and I can't send a message. You might try 'friending' me as Andrew Budek. That should work. I'm pretty new to FB, and it's entirely possible I overlooked something!