The Decline in Style & Manners

Vittorio Gassman — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

In the 50s and 60s living in Northern Mexico, in Austin, Texas and then in Buenos Aires I admired publications like Esquire Magazine that had style, substance and well written essays.

In this 21st century there are still remnants of that in publications like The Atlantic and others. To me the downgrade in American approach to manners and propriety with language began here:

In September 2009, South Carolina’s Republican at the House of Representatives Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson received international attention when he interrupted a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama to the joint session of Congress by shouting “You lie!”. The incident resulted in a reprimand by the House of Representatives.

Wilson was re-elected in 2010 by 9 percentage points over his closest challenger and when he ran unopposed in the 2012 general election he was re-elected with 96% of the vote. Wilson won re-election in 2014 with more than 62% of the vote in a three-way race. Wikipedia

The level of vitriol in some cases like my fave NY Times columnist Frank Bruni:

Jeff Sessions? What a bust. True, he was never the nimblest newt in the swamp and had all that racial muck in his past. But he mirrored his master’s irreverence and atavism, with slighter dimensions and a Southern accent: Donald in a Dixie cup. Surely Sessions and his Justice Department could be expected to accomplish something as straightforward as keeping the Muslims at bay.

is sophisticated, almost funny and yet I wonder to what depths others will descend in insulting American politicians from the president on down.

At the very least folks like Bruni or Maureen Dowd hold back on four-letter words. They understand that the power of these four-letter words diminishes with overuse.

Which is why I avoid like the plague Medium essays with titles like this one:

How To Take Charge of Your Life Like A Grown Ass Woman

I cannot be bothered to continue reading.

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:

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