Taken from here
Society guilty of lacking ordinary manners, says top judge
LAWYERS had resisted the decline in civility apparent elsewhere in society but danger signs were emerging, the state's top judge said last night.
Chief Justice Jim Spigelman said there were "well-known pressures, mainly of a commercial character" which threatened traditions of courtesy and respect.
In addressing a Law Society dinner to mark the opening of the legal year, the chief justice lamented the prevalence of boorish behaviour and lack of ordinary manners. He said there was "a growing concern with personal conduct in many areas of discourse" and cited:
� The behaviour of parents at school sporting events;
� Offensive language in many spheres of social interaction and popular culture;
� The sensationalism of a media driven by declining circulations and audiences;
� The indifference to the tranquillity of others by the infliction of noise, whether from boorish conduct or mobile phones;
� The vulgarity and rudeness of reality TV shows;
� The selfishness of littering;
� The virtual disappearance in common discourse of words such as "please", "thank you" and "sorry".
Chief Justice Spigelman said the law was a profession of words and that "we must continue to express ourselves in a way that demonstrates respect for others".
He said others could learn from the profession but conceded rules aimed at fostering civility and tolerance were sometimes breached. "Competition for clients sometimes leads to a 'win at any cost' attitude that may manifest itself in aggressive conduct and even rudeness.
"For example, a solicitor may seek to prevail by threats of retaliation in abusive communications.
"Prosecutors sometimes become overzealous, bordering on the self-righteous. Defence counsel in criminal matters sometimes run hopeless cases and bad points, hoping for some error on the part of the prosecution, which they perversely believe they may honourably exploit."
The chief justice said there had been concern in the United States over a crisis of civility in the legal profession. He said breaches of professional ethics "are more frequent than they once were", but that there was "no such crisis" in Australia.
I have to agree with him on that one. As a kid I was raised to be polite. Now it's true I have a potty mouth which I struggle to control at times. For example calling my failing computer a cunt and offending a new co-worker unused to my earthy ways. But it's true it seems to me that there is a general lack of politeness around nowdays. Like not holding the lift for someone, or apologising if you bump into them, or not waving thanks when let into traffic. It's really not that hard and all politeness to me does is reinforce the notion that you respect someone else and deserve to be respected. I admit sometimes I have a habit of saying sir and ma'am from months of exposure to polite Americans. Which can be a little creepy. But that aside, you can be egalitarian and polite at the same time. It's really not that hard.
How do you teach it to kids? Not sure. It wasn't beaten into me or anything. I think my dad hit maybe three times in my life (my mum however did slap me the first time I ever swore, causing me to instantly swear, and get a follow through backhander). And yes I got both a Christian upbringing in a pleasant welcoming environment (until I left feeling I'd outgrown some of the preachyness). I was also sent to a private school that wielded the cane long after state schools had not (though I never received it despite going unarmed postal a few times).
My dad is an incredibly honest and polite person and I now in hindsight respect that a great deal. And I try and live up to it. And fail numerous times, like saying cunt. And of course I like to use the words 'fuck' and 'fucking' as conjunctives much like 'and' and 'the'. Which I do near friends and here in blogland.
But I suppose at the end of the day it's about teaching people to respect one another. You can't make laws on respect. That's where big brother comes in. But you can teach it. You see little suger hyped up shits with snot pissing out their nose chucking mentals in supermarkets and calling their mums a bitch and stuff and you gotta think that maybe someone in that house ain't steering them right. But then there are many families where they struggle with the demons of low income, depression, and parents with a shitty upbringing themselves.
Of course I use the terms fuckwit and twat fast and loose here so I am in no real position to judge others. And let's not forget those who are superficially polite are often scheming pricks.
I don't know. I guess superifically polite is better than deep to the bone incivility. I remember on Dr Katz there was this one scene where a patient marvelled how in the olden days the rudest thing anyone could say was 'good day to you sir!'
Something to think about anyway.