Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

‘I See Rude People’ — New Book on Civility

posted by Nell Minow

New Year’s resolutions tend to be about losing weight, quitting smoking, saving money, or getting more exercise. But some studies show that number 1 is spending more time with friends and family. I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society is a new book by syndicated columnist Amy Alkon with some good ideas on how to make the best of that time. It is not about what we usually think of as manners — who gives the bridal shower, whether asparagus may be eaten with the fingers in polite society — but about civility, the very small elements of every interaction throughout the day that cumulatively leave us feeling either connected, safe, appreciated, and generous or angry, hurt, frustrated, and isolated.
Alkon tells stories of bird-flipping motorists, internet bullies, clerks and tellers who recite bureaucratic oblivious cell phone talkers, parking hogs, and others who in a world both increasingly connected and increasingly fragmented has made it easier for us to depersonalize those around us as we connect to those those who are not here at the moment via cell phone, blackberry, texting, tweeting, and watching tiny little screens. She is very funny, but she makes clear the impact of all of these insults, large and small, to our notion of being part of a caring community.
And she takes us with her as she insists on better treatment. From everyone, including bank executives who will not help her find the impostors who pretended to be her so they could withdraw money from her account and the hit and run driver who banged into her car. And the guy who stole her pink rambler — let’s just say he got a lot more than he expected and not in a good way and it features a surprise guest appearance from an Oscar-winning actor. And then there’s the time she tracked down the guy behind the robocall and called him at his house during dinner. She also invoiced another caller for the use of her time.
Alkon does not let her commitment to courtesy prevent her from being very clear and forthright to those who do not treat her appropriately and about them on her blog as well. (Warning: she also has no hesitation in using very strong language.) As she piles up the litany of all-too-familiar abuses, it seems that there is a downward spiral insensitivity that leads to insularity that leads to a sense of entitlement. Read the comments on any blog — do you think some of those people would speak that way if they were in the same room with the person they are complaining about?
I was very amused to see Alkon including “Goofus and Gallant” cartoons I remember from Highlights magazine when I was a child, but they make her point very well — that we know the right way to behave and that if we don’t, common sense and common courtesy (neither of which are as common as they should be) will guide us. This is a worthy book — along the lines of the delightful Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss.
Note: It is never too early to talk to kids about good manners, especially because there are so many bad examples around them and in the media. There are some great books like What Do You Say, Dear? and What Do You Do, Dear? But the only real lessons they ever learn in manners are the ones they see demonstrated around them every day. Let them see you say “please,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and “excuse me,” write thank you notes, and treat others not just the way we would like to be treated but the way we would like others to treat our children.

  • http://nitecaravan.blogspot.com/ Green Monk

    This book and the other two you mentioned sound fantastic. I look forward to reading them!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Green Monk! I have one copy to give away and if you would like it, send me your address at moviemom@moviemom.com

  • ROBIN

    SO ENTERTAINING, INSIGHTFUL, AND INSPIRING… I recommend to anyone who is constantly annoyed with the rudeness that smothers us on a day-to-day basis.

Previous Posts

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Happy 99th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!
Two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 years old today. She was one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, appearing memorably opposite Errol Flynn eight times, most memorably in "The Adventures of Robin ...

posted 10:20:13am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Contest: Win a DVD of "Hope Bridge"
"Hope Bridge" is a new DVD from Pure Flix about the devastating impact of suicide. Christi and David Eaton produced the movie after having experienced suicide twice in their family. They knew the best way to reach out to others was through a ...

posted 8:00:59am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: No Ordinary Hero -- The SuperDeafy Movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Yo3kRFW9g Coming next month on DVD, "No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie" is the story of a deaf actor (John Maucere) who plays a deaf superhero in a campy television series. But he wants to be a real ...

posted 8:00:41am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.