Monday, November 19, 2007

So much for Etiquette - Part II

I have never had such a lengthy and thoughtful comment on my blog! And I am inspired. It's not the same as our long discussions at lunchtime in high school--but I've missed his humor and intelligence. Thank you, David! Here's my response (in red) to your comment (in black):

Honestly, I don't know which time period I prefer: the simpler one of the past with its refined elegance or the modern age of convenience. On the one hand the past seems more honorable (on the surface), there is the lack of such a depressing media, and hell, even their writing looks better. Their writing style isn't "better" as much as it is "different." The Victorian Era predominantly saw Spencerian handwriting, while we learned Zaner-Blosser handwriting. The style we learned is far more readable to young people and those with poor eyesight. 'Pretty' isn't necessarily 'good.' As for depressing media, I think we are exposed to the horrors of life differently. We aren't losing our children by having them fall under wagon wheels or trampled by horses. We aren't watching people die of influenza nearly as much. But we see other things more readily. Is this bad? Is it necessarily bad to know what happens in the world? Does this ability to perceive our own humanity (and inhumanity) render us less or more human?

On the other, we do have cars today. And more violence. And nuclear weapons. And a code of honor which leaves much to be desired. For all the social injustices which we pride ourselves in eradicating, it hardly seems like we've made much headway in treating each other kindly in our society. We hardly get a smile or "hello how are you." Instead we live in the age of the bumper sticker: I have no time to speak to you (we say as a culture) but kindly read the ass of my car, which invariably condemns your beliefs in favor of my own. Mr. Meek, you swore! You rock. :) That last line left me giggling. We do have cars, and we have nuclear weapons. I disagree about having more violence though. Our types of violence have changed. Our methods of dominating others have changed. Now, people commit murder, the murder is showcased in CSI, and then people know what mistakes to avoid. Criminals are becoming smarter. In true satirical fashion, I blame Hollywood!

We claim to be so far removed from the problems of the past but I truly feel we've made little headway: our inadequacies have merely evolved from the more easily obvious ones of the past. We point the finger to those who have tread before and say "dead, white male fools" with hardly a notice of our own personal evils. How much easier to point the finger to the past in hindsight than envision a more trustworthy and compassionate posterity for ourselves.

There are endless evils to point to in the past but, if we continue to look back and only blame, what have we really accomplished for ourselves. There are positive things to learn from which would greatly benefit our society today. Something as simple as a modern sense of etiquette or at least a sense of proper behavior may not be a bad thing for a people so far removed from common courtesy and common sense. There is much to be desired in our non-traditional age.

(I'm not trying to argue against anything you said...I read your blog and thought hey, I should write something satirical in response. After writing a sentence or two I got into what I was writing. It's not meant to be totally serious but I do lament some things lost to out modern age.)

Well Jaggy, it has been a long time since I have shared some political thoughts with you. Forgive the rushed nature of my comments and the obvious holes in its logic but tell me: what do you think?

David Meek

I've missed you. :)

You raise several good points, and I agree with most of them. I read through the entire thing not realizing it was a satire and took everything you said at face value. Imagine my shock! I'm not exactly a feminist, but I don't think all change has been bad since those "ancient" times. Example? I have a blog and can communicate with the world at a moment's notice my deepest, darkest, innermost thoughts. ...Okay, bad example. The advances of medicine, aerospace technology, and transportation have drastically changed the modern world. I could talk at length with you about military history (wouldn't that be a conversation!) and the advances in warfare tactics... or we could get into the changing role of women in society (not all bad). We could even talk about moving through the Antebellum industrial age into the post-civil-war era changed politics and economics for the better.

But, we agree. So there's no reason for discourse, right? Right? Oh, yeah, you're a history major. Crap. ~hangs head~ Bring it on...

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