One of the headlines on NealeNews
this morning reads, "Modern Americans: A Rude, Boorish Lot?
" What emerges from the article; however, is not so much a criticism of Americans, but rather a criticism on the decline of manners in modern society. Hardly a phenomenon limited to the United States.
The article places much of the blame for this decline in proprieties on technology. In fact, the article begins with the bold statement, "Americans' fast-paced, high-tech existence has taken a toll on the civil in society." The article then goes on to blame single parents, the media, celebrities, commuting, and cell phones. The real factor in the decline of polite society comes across as a mere footnote - the baby boomers.
No other generation has ever had an effect on society to the degree of the boomers. Right from the time that the baby boom began, this generation had an large impact on society. The sheer volume of births, coupled with increased demand, forced the economy to respond and suddenly there was an increase in the development of baby foods, the creation of the suburbs, improvements to the educational system, and television programs targeting youth (what boomer did not own a Davey Crockett hat
?). This era also saw the teachings of Dr.Spock
skyrocket to fame. For the first time in history, a generation of children existed that ate the same foods, lived in similar neighbourhoods, watched the same television programs, and were raised with the same teachings from the same parenting manuals. It is not surprising then, that through the sheer size of this generation, the cult of the teenager emerged and from that, the turbulent sixties.
The post war era was one of sustained economic growth. Without the worry of recessions and with an increase in social programs, the boomer generation did not have to agonize about mere survival as had their parents’ generation. In fact, the parents of the baby boomers, those who grew up during the Depression and lived through World War II, wanted their children to have the opportunities that were denied to them and worked hard to provide the boomers with those opportunities. As such, this generation was able to focus their energy on fulfilling what was believed to be their destiny - the transformation of Western society. From that belief, came the many movements of the sixties and seventies.
Now that the baby boomers have matured, and their children have matured, society is has once again been transformed, this time in a decline in deportment and civil pleasantries. According to the author of "Modern Americans", this transformation is due to modern technology. I would have to disagree. In my opinion, the decline of manners in society stems back to the "treat them gently" philosophy of Dr.Spock and the "me" mentality of the boomers, a generation which has heavily influenced and shaped society from birth.