Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rudeness, Anyone?

I have gotten used to seeing all the cutesy words on t-shirts that teenage girls wear these days: "angel," "hottie," "princess," "look but don't touch," and so on, ad nauseam. I've even gotten used to certain "attitudinal" t-shirts that seem to be worn most frequently by 12-14-year-old boys: "will trade sister for video game," "runs with scissors," etc. And I know that there are plenty of t-shirts that have all sorts of foul things printed on them. But today I saw one that really bothered me. I'm not sure why--it didn't affect me directly. It just bugged me. It said:

It was being worn by a mom who was shopping in Wal*Mart with her three kids. I didn't stalk her through the store to see if her choice of t-shirt had anything to do with her actual personality or modus operandi. I just read her t-shirt and kept walking. And then I realized how much the message on the shirt bothered me. It is so dismissive and rude, and instantly squelches any attempts anyone might make at befriending the wearer. Who knows, maybe that was her point. I don't know her or her circumstances, so I won't make any snap judgements. What really bothers me is the attitude behind what was printed on that shirt--and the fact that so many people walk around with that attitude, even if they are not wearing a shirt proclaiming it. Rudeness has become tacitly approved in our society, and even applauded in some arenas. I tried to do some on-line research on rude t-shirts, and pretty much every site I tried to look at I had to immediately close down because of the obscene nature of the material on them. As a society we have lost our sense of decency, and it seems that almost anything goes. The shirt I saw today was not the most obscene I've ever seen in Wal*Mart, but it was one of the rudest. When wit crosses the line from humor to mean sarcasm, I've had enough of it.

I pray that my attitude will never display to those around me as "please don't interrupt me...." but rather that I will be known by my love and concern for others and openness to talking to them and getting to know them. I seem to recall the Bible saying something about Christians being known by their love. AMEN!


Eric said...

Nice post!

Since we have become so ultra pragmatic as a society, it seems that people don't even really matter anymore. That woman's T-shirt says about all we need to know about the state of interpersonal relations in the USA.

One thing I miss from living in Asia is the priority that is placed upon greetings with other people, even strangers.

I wonder how we could get decency back in the USA. It would probably only occur as an effect from a massive revival within our churches.

selahV said...

Alice: sometimes it bothers me so much what is on Tees. One of my most hated things is when things are printed on the derriere.

I so wish I had control over my little granddaughter's attire sometimes. It's not so much about what they wear, as you say. It is about the attitude that goes with the clothing that bothers me. Please keep my little granddaughter's in prayer. When they lost their daddy, they lost their main connection with regular church attendance. They mom doesn't have any desire to go. And the girls want to go to church so bad. Brooklyn and Abby.
thanks much, selahV

Alice C. said...

Eric: You are right. We can pray for revival!

SelahV: The stuff on the seat of the pants really bothers me, too. I'll pray for your granddaughters.

Isabel said...

I remember noting the developement of rudeness, a few years back:

I was in a parking lot, waiting to turn (yes, with my blinker on), and one young man, maybe 18, strolled across my path, not in the least concerned about others around. Behind him, an older man, maybe 60's, saw me waiting and stopped and waited for me even though I waved him on. The difference in training was as apparent as the difference in age.

Alice C. said...

Isabel: it has become a me-first world out there. Don't even get me started on the whole driving/parking lot thing!