Manners, Celebs and Parenting

Thanks to a friend, I came upon this article: The manners revolution starts here: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and their ilk have made it cool to be rude. At first I thought she was trying to tell me something, but then I realized that she's just about as blunt as I am, so if she thought I was a rude, entitled, spoiled brat, she would have already said so to my face!

The article discusses how in general our society has stopped perceiving manners as something they wish to obtain. According to Dave White, back in his youth the celebrities were classy and acted "well breed" and their fans would aspire for this. If nothing else, even if they'd never be rich or famous, they could act with class and dignity (which, ironically, I've also just encountered this scene in The Remains of the Day, when Stevens encounters the people from the small town of Moscombe who believe that they can have dignity as well, and not just the rich, influential people. They aspire towards this "dignity" because they respect it in the "gentlemen" that they've seen.) However, White has seen a decline in this, starting with the celebrities.

Celebrities reign in the art of rudeness
Lindsay Lohan is as good a place to start as any, really, so why not? Now that her formerly behind-the-scenes misbehavior has come to light ‚— and I‚Â’m not talking about rampant partying, either. She's 20, for crying out loud. It's her job to party. I'm talking about professional disregard for others on sets and reports of her treating nightclub employees badly ‚— in the form of an open letter from the producers of her latest film, we can use her as a lesson in what we've all become.

While I'm no expert in this matter and have not put much research into the case against celebrities to fully agree with him, I have had a distaste in my mouth for celebrities, Hollywood and that whole world that our society is seemingly obsessed with for a while now. I care about a very few select celebs whose art I respect and whom I like to follow (such as Natalie Portman, Our Lady Peace, Ben Rothelisberger), but do I care if they're married, dating so-and-so, etc.? My overall answer is no, ultimately I do not. I respect these people for their art, their skills, and what they provide me in entertainment and emotionally with their work. Am I interested in whom they marry, what they do, etc.? I can't lie, yes. Was I disappointed when I saw a photo of Natalie Portman smoking? Sure was, though I don't judge her, but as a person I'd respected highly for her work as well as her intelligence and the manner in which she carries herself publicly, it was disappointing to see her smoke, but it didn't affect my admiration for her whatsoever as a person or an artist. Of course I was devastated by Ben's accident and rejoiced when Raine Maida's (lead singer for Our Lady Peace) babies were born. But that's the extent of it, I don't notice much what they're wearing, do not base how I act or what I say by how they act or what they say. My interest in them primarily centers around their art and skill.

However, I know people who read celebrity blogs, such as Bricks and Stones, and at their urging, I've glanced at them, but I can't seem to get myself to care about the fact that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie aren't friends anymore. I don't respect their work (if they even truly have any work to show for), I don't respect their lifestyles or how they present themselves, and therefore I literally could care less about what they're doing. And talking to celebrity obsessed people, they don't necessarily respect these people either, so why the obsession? Why the emulation? You could say that so-and-so person's insecure and that's why she is obsessed with emulating the celebs, but this is too wide-spread to pin it on one person's insecurities. There's something making our nation insecure and unsure of itself, something making us forget our morals, discipline, manners and dignity. Something pushing us towards materialism and selfishness. The now now now attitude is prevalent everywhere you go, I find it in myself even though I don't buy into the whole celebrity crap. I'm impatient and have very high expectations for everything and everyone. If something doesn't blow me out of the water then I find it a waste of my time, I have to work to appreciate the smaller things in life, the subtle beauties in our world.

I've also noticed a related change in the approach to parenting. When was it the new idea in parenting that you were supposed to be your child's friend?!?! Are we that insecure and desperate for acceptance that we are at the mercy of our children's acceptance? You're not supposed to bring a child into the world or your life to have a new friend or to obtain acceptance from the poor kid, you're supposed to raise this little person to be a responsible, polite, capable, well-adjusted adult. Instead, I see (on TV or in public with random children, mind you, I've been fortunate enough that the few people I know with children are responsible parents) parents spoiling their kids rotten, going into debt to buy them all the little toys and designer clothes they want. Not saying "No!" and letting them run the house. When did this become acceptable parenting? I feel strongly that this is a form of neglect on the parents' part, do they not see that their children will be miserable and insatiable as adults? What is Going On with this country? Now, as a disclaimer, I don't have children, so of course I don't know how it is to be a parent, blah blah blah. And to some degree, I do respect that and hold my judgment on many matters when it comes to parenting, but in the same instance, should we not judge a dictator of a small country who murders mass amounts of his people because of their race? Sure, we've never been a leader of a country, but there are some things that are so over the line that it's even obvious to us that it's ridiculously wrong. That's how I feel with this new "parenting style", it's so obviously and overtly wrong and horrible for not only the children but our country in general (can you imagine an America filled with only spoiled brats? I think we'd self-implode).

These are just my disorganized rantings and thoughts, but I do feel strongly about this subject and it worries me greatly. I'm fortunate that my husband values discipline and family as much as I do (we've had plenty of practice on our three dogs and two cats). We've discussed being parents often and in detail, and are pretty much on the same page. Our marriage will always come first because with no marriage there's no family, and it's good to teach your children that they're not Always first. We've already accepted that our children will hate us at times, think we're losers and totally lame, lie to us, go behind our backs and rebel. These are normal, healthy growing pains that every child is entitled to, who am I to take that away from them?

Update: This was too ironic not to mention... for those who read the article I linked to in this post, the author, Dave White, mentions this incident he had with a driver of a Hummer. Now I also can't stand Hummers and also feel that the owning of a Hummer is pretentious and ridiculous. However, the day after my post, I stopped McDonald'slds for a Happy Meal because I was in a bad mood (see On The Verge Of Blocking Text Messaging FOREVER post), and how can a cheeseburger and free toy Not cheer you up? I chose to get a boy toy because I was feeling rather aggressive and edgy (again, see On The Verge Of Blocking Text Messaging FOREVER post) and what do I get? A toy Hummer. Oh Lordy, this is what we're teaching our little boys they want when they grow up. I almost threw it out the window, but first, that'd be littering which is a huge No No for me, but also, it was just too ironic and funny so I still have it on the floor of my Mazda 3 Hatchback, a much better car in my humble opinion... well at least more affordable in any case!

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