NYT op-ed piece re global rudeness

I read this piece to my wife and said, “See? I’m not the only one…” Read it all here

So I have become more explicit in my acts of reverse etiquette. The other day I apologized to a tall, bearded man who slammed his duffel into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street. Then I told him, “I’m saying what you should be saying.” He responded, in toto, “Oh, right.”

Though this response could not be described as “blanket-like,” it nevertheless gave me enough ground to see that I was on the right track. I realized that I just need to be even more explicit with people. So the other day, when a stroller-pushing mother semi-vigorously bumped into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street — this corner is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of manners — I expressed remorse, and added, “No one says I’m sorry anymore, so I do it for them.”


The problem which I wish Mr Alford would discuss further isn’t people’s rudeness but the clueless factor: why don’t people even know they’re being rude??? What has happened in our society that people don’t know the basics of social interaction? Worse than hats on in restaurants, worse than elbows on the table and forks and spoons held in fists, the utter lack of understanding that there is even something for which someone would apologize is pandemic.

2 Responses to “NYT op-ed piece re global rudeness”

  1. Robert Easter Says:

    But David, didn’t you know? Love means never having to say you’re sorry! 😉

    In this culture I think the popular “thought” is the core notion that the only existence one can be at all sure of is one’s own, so why apologise to one’s own thoughts? Extreme? Probably. Easy to disprove? Dunno. Give it a try!

    All the more reason for us folks to be about the Business, eh?

    (2Tim. 4:1-5!)

  2. dpc+ Says:

    Nice to “see” you back RE!
    Yes, I think you’re absolutely right; “the core notion that the only existence one can be at all sure of is one’s own” is at the root of the problem. In the West that would be called “super ego” I suppose. In the East it is the most extreme alienation. Chrestos Giannaras writes about that in “The Freedom of Morality” in several chapters, as does Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) in “Being and Communion.”
    Never having to say one is sorry is to say that one has no love for another…

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