Posts Tagged ‘ civility ’

Profound or Profane?

I was able to tough my way thru “Another Life,” only because I enjoy Katee Sackoff (having discovered her in “Longmire” a few years ago); but it was tough going.  The Netflix series seems to be an adult version of “Lost in Space,” and since I do love sci-fi it was a given that I should try it.

But all I found was that it was trying.  Katee was fine; but the dialogue was unbelievably juvenile, beginning with the now ubiquitous “F-bomb.”

Yes, I am a word snob.  Somewhere in my past I developed a love and respect of the written word.  Now, thanks to the internet, I have learned that the language evolves and is often obliterated to fill the needs of the users – as it should be.  Language should not be confined to the hallowed halls of museums; but at the same time, it shouldn’t lose its ability to communicate.

And the recurring message I got from the over-use of the F-bomb was that the writers were either extremely unskilled, or the audience that they were writing for is extremely unimaginative.  In any event, relying on one word for every verbal interchange became an exercise in resistance for me.  I was never able to see past the constant, staccato pinging (no, I did not count how many times it was used – what would be the point in that?).

I have a co-worker who really is a rocket scientist, and one of those individuals who remembers “everything.”  I asked him once if he can recall everything he ever read and he said no, just the page numbers.  He is, quite literally, my workgroup’s very own internet.

Sadly, he uses “curse words” in every day life like the characters in “Another Life” use the F-bomb.  It does not help that, as an intellectual elitist, he does not respect either me or my religion; but beyond his blasphemy, his vocabulary is stilted, stunted and inadequate.

I ask myself why, in these two examples, is such a limited vocabulary characteristic.  Being as generous as I can be, I have concluded that it is an attempt to be profound, when all it is is profane.

If language cannot be used to communicate, then the human race has not advanced all that far from our prehistoric predecessors.  To overuse and misuse words seems more to prevent communication than to enhance it.  The irony is that people who rely on a handful of words to express themselves are communicating something I believe they would flatly deny.

I would not call the United States a physically violent place to live.  I wish I could say the same of our rhetoric.  In order to endure the mindless onslaught, the message is missed.  As an optimist, full of hope, I know we can do better – we have done better.

Much of what is said about the human race, the earth, democracy sounds as if the end is in sight.  Only 12 years until our home becomes inhabitable, thanks to farting cows?  Ludicrous.  I believe none of us now will see “the end.”  This is not to say the status quo will prevail – as has been said, the only constant is change.  We need to use words as a tool to communicate, not as a weapon to subjugate.  If we can’t be anything else, can we at least be civil?


Opposites Repel

I suppose, when it comes to romance, “opposites attract.”  But, when it comes to politics, it seems more and more that others are more likely to be repulsive than attractive.

The circus that some might call the Brett Kavanaugh hearings certainly proved one thing: the Demos are anything but civil.  I watched some of the proceedings (tho, by and large, found them too ludicrous to subject myself to), and admired the man for not getting up and walking out.  Clearly, he saw the bigger picture, he saw the prize.  And just as irrefutably, the Demos sitting on the panel, as well as those in the galley and on the street, completely lost sight of the bigger picture: the future.

That Trump was legally elected, in full accord with the existing laws of the land, can’t be denied.  “He’s there, deal with it.”  Have the “Never Trumps” made any effort at all to modify those laws, to somehow change the Electoral College so that someone with the popular vote gets into office?  Not that I am aware.  They still rail against the man.  Still throwing more money after bad.  Still living in yesterday.  Sure, he’s an easy target; Trump is no politician – if by “politician,” we mean someone who can fool enough people to overlook his warts.  However, the first job of a politician is to get into office – and he’s done that.  (The second job is to stay in office, and that is TBD.)

No, the horse has left the barn and the Demos continue to lament that someone – never themselves of course – left the door open.  Wide open.  And now, in the wake of Judge Kavanaugh’s swearing-in, the Demos are pushing the door ever wider.  For me, instead of building bridges (trying to look like a reasonable alternative), the Demos are setting the barn on fire.

That Judge Kavanaugh was nominated, and now sworn in, could have been an effort only to humiliate the Demos.  Judge Kavanaugh certainly paid a high price; his family has paid a high price.  For an appointee, he has been raked over the coals – largely, manufactured and fabricated coals – like we might expect someone running for the highest office in the land.  Maybe Judge Kavanaugh is just a surrogate for Trump?  What better way to move forward than to give the Demos enough rope to hang themselves with?  Self-immolation, more like it.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.”  I used to be a card-carrying Democrat.  They seemed “kinder and gentler” than the GOP.  My, my, my, how they have changed.  Not that the Republicans are now hugging trees.  But as party made up of individuals, the Demos continue to raise the bar on being uncivil.  For years, the Demos have developed a platform that seems to have only one purpose: destroy everything I hold dear.

I’m not saying I have somehow found the Holy Grail of truth, and that I never threw ice on anyone in high school (or, was it college?).  But I was taught by the old school: first my parents and then the Marine Corps.  I don’t feel all that old; but I do feel like a dinosaur.  Yes, we all know what happened to dinosaurs: they all died and now some smaller creature burns the oil and coal that they turned into.  Great legacy, huh?

Moving forward to the political arena in months to come, it will be harder and harder for the “guy on the street” to divine the issues and see thru the mud-slinging (I’d like to say “rhetoric”; but that would imply civility, and we no longer have that available to us).  And even if I can convince myself that “this person” has the same values as I do, how can I be sure the “system” will respect those values, respect that representation?  If my vote ever meant anything besides just a warm feeling, now it feels like a betrayal.  Do I continue to participate in a disgustingly flawed political system – and tar myself with the same brush – or, do I withdraw from the playing field.  Stick my head in the sand, or do the right thing?

Dunno what the future will bring; but one thing is sure: Judge Kavanaugh is very likely to outlive either President Trump or Hilary Clinton.

Two questions will be answered real soon: (1) What mud will the Demos throw – since they seem to have already fired their best shots at Judge Kavanaugh, and (2) will the GOP lower itself, or take the high road?

RFRA & My Wedding Ring

“Aggressive shows of grievance are meant to deflect discernment, not advance it.”

Pretty well sums up, not the end of history, but the end of civilization (i.e., civility).

Your inner Mitch

Egos are interesting things.  At one time, I thot they were very necessary: we need to think of ourselves in order to survive.  Simply to survive.  There will come a point where giving everything away will include giving your life away.  In order to live, we have to put ourselves into the equation somewhere, even if it’s last.


While rather late in the game, I am learning that an ego just might be an impediment, not an asset.


First, of course, none of us gets out of this thing called Life alive anyway.  Having an ego is no guarantee of immortality.  Put another way, thinking of yourself is really rather superfluous.  It is simply not a matter of “if.”  It is only a matter of “when.”


But the question of “how” is seldom asked (“if” and “when” do not beg the question of “how”).  It seems most people muddle thru life w/o ever getting to how; for me, it is only recently that I have started asking “how.”  “If” was never in doubt, you understand.  When “when” became the topic de jour, the response was first of all to not ask, and then to answer “someday” (and not soon).  Frankly, now: the sooner the better.  I think.


About a month ago I transferred to a work group that I had known about peripherally.  Now that I am one of “them,” I understand why they are so poorly understood.  A pressure-cooker environment with poor tools to accomplish difficult tasks for ungrateful customers (both internal management as well as those external customers who buy the products).  Could a dysfunctional workplace have anything other than dysfunctional workers in it?  Maybe.


And so it is that someone who obviously slept thru the lecture on people skills finds himself working “with” others in pursuit of “delighting” the customer.  Dunno why he’s in a customer service organization, when his personality is more conducive to being a lighthouse keeper (think Alpha Centauri, not Neah Bay).  To say he’s “rude” is the result of working hard to sugar coat the obvious truth.


And, he’s not alone.


That sort of behavior is sad; but it is also ludicrous.  As a college prof once said, “I never lie about anything that is easily checked,” this work environment is one of limited verbal exchange and nearly total written communication.  In other words, anyone can check the written record to find out what was actually done – in fact a written record is absolutely essential because, in a 24/7/365 organization, a lot of people need to be included on issues that take 24-48 hours of continuous, round-the-clock involvement.  “No man is an island” was never so true as in this place.


Certainly possible that it is just me (what was that about ego, again?).  I am the newest kid on the block; the “newbie,” the “FNG.”  Fine, the t-shirts I have had in my closet for years still fit.  I did expect civility, however.  Learning how to use a cantankerous computer system that is poorly documented only adds to the frustration of trying to do a good job, of trying to be productive, of trying to add, rather than inhibit.  But, I just gotta think that anyone would have to take time to learn this system; I’m slow, but I do believe I’m in the ballpark.


Funny that members of a group that exists to help the customer are so rude to each other.


The Number One Worst Job I’ve ever had was an assembly line job in which I lasted three days while working my way thru school.  This one is Number Two (tho I’ve managed to last a month+).  It isn’t so much the work, tho the work is inherently unsatisfying, and working for a huge company is unrewarding anyway.  It is the people, pure and simple.  In any event, why don’t I leave?  At my age, and in this economy, that would be financial suicide (yes Virginia, even this job is better than standing with a cardboard sign on a street corner).


What prompted this post?  Frankly, I can’t remember the last time someone walked away from me while I was talking to him.  Just turned his back and walked away.  If he had added a gesture, I would have thought him supercilious, instead of crass.