To the Manner Born
NSW judge Jim Spigelman reckons Australian society is too rude. His "scathing attack" checks all the boxes of your classic geriatric whinge: popular culture, parents, mobile phones. Speaking of mobile phones, check out the picture ninemsn has used to illustrate the judge's argument:
Wow, she looks really rude. Either that or she's about to throw up.
Clearly Spigelman has been reading too much Lynne Truss. (Indeed, reading any Lynne Truss is arguably too much.) Spigelman's thesis is the same as Truss's (decline of politeness leads to decline in morals leads to the end of civilisation as we know it!) and he offers the same supporting evidence: none. It's simply a matter of waving a hand at the ills of "society" and complaining about how much better everything used to be.
But were things better in the past, and if so when, where and how was it so? I don't know, and I'll bet the likes of Spigelman and Truss don't either. Is politeness a relative or constant value? It's sometimes hard to know whether the pro-politeness brigade is calling for common courtesy, or a return to lower class servility. Having worked in retail for over a decade, I agree that politeness is to be preferred, but I can't help but feel that the likes of Spigelman and Truss are simply peddling a combination of prejudice and nostalgia in order to get their names in print.
Anyway, this post has been pretty meaningless. I don't actually care about manners or "society", I just wanted to post that picture. It looks like she's struggling to expel an enormous turd. And in a public place, too. Now that is rude!