Monday, September 21, 2009

Hey Rude, Don't Make It Bad / CC BY-SA 2.0

Not to play Old Aunt Persnickety, but lately I've been struck by what a rude, rude, rude
world we live in. It's sort of a wilderness of rudeness, don't you think? Somebody (several
somebodies, in fact,) needs a few raps on the knuckles and a dunce hat for punishment, not to
mention a front row seat for Manners 101.

All this bad behavior reminds me of Wilderness, a poem by the Man O' My Dreams, Carl
Sandburg. (Don't worry. I'm not about to go on and on about my boyfriend Carl, since I've
already done that anyway
Read the poem and see what you think, okay?

THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat …
and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the
wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of the wind
and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers …
I circle and loop and double-cross.

There is a hog in me … a snout and a belly … a machinery for eating and grunting … a
machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the
wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals
of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water
went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis.

There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger …
hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond
and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill …
ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird … and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains
of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want … and the mockingbird
warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my
Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the
eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve
heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father
and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—
For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the
world: I came from the wilderness.

You know, it really isn't fair to the wolf and the fox, the hog and the baboon, and any other wilderness creatures to compare them to couth- challenged humans.
We may have the fangs and the snout and the hairy armpits, but I think my cute boyfriend is right. We also have a (wo)man-child heart within our ribs. We could try to be better zookeepers, to say yes and no. And to bite our tongue once in a while.

And if that doesn't work, we could always watch this!

So what do you think? Have the wheels of all civility fallen off our wagon? What's a world to do?

Have a great Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky


R and L said...

Hi Becky,
That's some pretty heavy stuff for Monday morning, but you pose some very good questions. Rudeness is sooooooo ....... prevalent these days (last 20 yrs), and espcially in the public's eye in the past week or so. Joe Wilson, Kanye West, and the list goes on. People talk back to police officers a lot, kids to their teachers (they know they won't get paddled), and seemingly more people throughout the world in many different ways. Oh how I long for more discipline and kindness in behavior and words! Black people referring to Whites as neanderthals, Whites referring to blacks as primates. Conservatives vs Liberals, Democrats vs Republicans, pro-life vs pro-abortion, country folk vs city folk, pacifist vs military, religeon vs religeon vs no religeon, come on people - can't we just get along on what we have in common, and not focus so much on our differences? If the world can come together for the Olympics, why not just keep that spirit going? Yes Becky the world seems at a boiling point. Maybe the air force should seed the world's clouds with poppies to mellow everybody out!!!

Felicity said...

I blogged about this recently and was surprised that not everyone agreed with us! : ) Well, I think most agreed, but several were hesitant to SAY they didn't agree because they didn't want "to judge". Hmmmm. . . I think we judge behavior all the time, even if we don't talk about it. I just happen to think by talking (writing). GREAT poem! And perspective.

Susan said...

Oh Dear, this is a subject I have pondered for quite some time. As much as I love television, I honestly think that it started when folks laughed at Don Rickles' seemingly harmless routines, then watched the Bundys and Roseanne "say what they thought" and gradually started to accept this sarcastic type of humor as a way of dealing with situations. Of course, most folks still knew that this was scripted television and that no one really acted like that in public. But alas, along comes reality television and "debates" on news programs that are actually screaming contests that followed no rules of decorum. I was watching one of the courtroom shows where young people were suing each other because of a fight they had gotten into. The judge had to keep reminding them that they were in an actual court of law and they could be removed without any settlement of their case. They did not seem to understand. They thought they were simply on TV. They kept screaming at each other and answering "UH-HUH" to the judge and honestly acted like they didn't know why he felt like they were supposed to act in any other way then they were used to. It seems like no one has any manners and are so narcissistic that if they are aware of any such rules of conduct, that they don't feel that they apply to them.

As far as folks saying they don't want to "judge" other people, I was always under the assumption that that was either a biblically based principal or a legal term. When I make an observation as to someone's rudeness, I'm certainly not deciding whether they are sinning or whether they are guilty in a legal sense. Perhaps some of the behaviors are the result of people just not knowing the difference between right and wrong. Perhaps our culture has gotten so lax that they do not care. Honestly I don't know. I hate to paint everyone with the same brush, but it seems to be that the courteous and caring person is one of a dying breed. I wonder sometimes what is happening. Kids today would fall in the floor laughing at the training films of days gone by. You tell me, where did things go wrong?

Natalie said...

It makes me sad to think of all the examples of rudeness I find on a daily basis. It's as though people have forgotten simple kindnesses and respect. Truly, the number of regular acts of rudeness I can list is depressing.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I feel your pain. A little civility would go further in uniting people than any politics or faith or anything else. Common decency for the common good!

adrienne said...

There's a lot of tension in the air, and I notice it more lately.
The other day I was at a stop light, and the person in the car next to me motioned for me to roll down the window. I thought maybe he needed directions, but no - he just wanted to give me a hard time about the bumper sticker on my car! Minutes later I was standing in line at the drug store, and the man in front of me exploded and started screaming at the poor cashiers. I went home thinking the world's gone a little crazy.

sisoe said...

To quote our president: "I think it's important for the media, you know - not to do any media-bashing here - to recognize that right now, in this 24-hour news cycle, the easiest way to get on CNN is or Fox or any of the other stations, MSNBC is to say something rude and outrageous," Obama said on CNN's Sept. 20 "State of the Union." "If you're civil and polite and you're sensible and you don't exaggerate the-bad things about your opponent and you know, you might get on one of the Sunday shows. But you're not going to be on the loop. And, you know, part of what I'd like to see is all of us reward decency and civility in our political discourse."

susie said...

that last comment was mine. I do not have glasses on an therefore typed my name as sisoe.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What thoughtful comments.
You all give me hope!
(You too, sisoe!)

Kelly H-Y said...

I agree! It seems like some people just haven't absorbed the art of kindness!