February is usually a feel good kind of a month. At least for me. There's Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and spring is on the horizon. But this year, it was a little harder to muster up the warm fuzzies.
It seems everywhere I go these days, people have forgotten the basic rule of treat others the way you want to be treated or my mother's favorite, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.
It seems this way of thinking has become pervasive, from impatience on supermarket checkout lines, to the mean spirited dialogue written for characters on TV, to the God-awful comments people leave anonymously on the internet.
I spend my days creating characters that are independent and strong, yet still compassionate. I pour myself into how I craft their nature, developing them into three-dimensional characters, tested and pushed, but still finding strength within to hold onto their humanity. However, in the real world lately, I've had a hard time convincing myself goodwill isn't dead and buried somewhere under a headstone that reads, "Here lies the Humanity." An illusion that no longer exists.
People will say, "Well, you're from New York, what did you expect to find? Please, excuse me and thank you?" This antagonistic apathy isn't something limited to my cynical city. It's all over and I don't know what to do about it. What's worse, I see it popping up in the school my children attend, in the way the kids speak to each another. Of course, the reason is they're mimicking what they hear and see around them.
As a society, have we become so soulless that our idea of humor is so entrenched in the self-serving, the lines between mean-spirited and funny are forever blurred? And where is it written it's acceptable to leave non-substantive yet hurtful commentary all over the internet and that today it's not only expected, it's considered ratings worthy?
Part of me cringes, because I know I sound like my grandparents back in the day when they protested that Rock-n-Roll Rubbish. However, in this case, it I don't think this is so much a shift in freedom of expression as much as a blatant disregard for common respect, consideration and right vs. wrong.
Some argue this is fallout from not enough accountability and too much entitlement. And while I don't know about that, I do believe the warning signs are flashing red. Perhaps it's not as bad as my experiences this past month have made it seem, and there are people out there who still believe you go farther with a kind word than a nasty one, and that a job well done is worth the effort you put in. One can only hope. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Originally posted on my blog "Madcap Moms...What's Wrong with this Picture?' February 26, 2012