It seems there was quite a bit of celebrity discourse this week, wasn’t there?
Everyone saw what happened at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, and if you didn’t see it you’ve certainly heard about it by now.
But for those of you who are still in the dark, rapper Kanye West interrupted 19 year-old country music star Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech to announce that Beyonce Knowles deserved the award.
This was not the first hiccup in the celebrity world. Tennis star Serena Williams threatened a tennis official for a foot foul call during a U.S. Open match. But the outbursts were not limited to pop culture.
Last week, South Carolina House Representative Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during an address on healthcare reform. Now as entertaining and humorous as it is to watch these little scenes play out, I must admit that it’s getting old.
While there might not necessarily be a correlation between any of these independent events, the theme is certainly one that needs to be noticed: respect.
Has that word become obsolete in today’s society? I’d like to think not, but looking around the world today you would almost certainly disagree with me. What has our society come to when this level of disrespect is so common?
Decorum, it seems, is a lost art. Somewhere, Anna White, an author of a book specifically on decency and etiquette, is spinning in her grave.
Now of course, K. West or T. Swift will probably never read this article, so my words of wisdom will go unheard by the ones who need to hear them most.
However, I do not feel as though my time is wasted by writing this now. If we can (re)learn respect on a grassroots level, perhaps when we are famous and successful people we’ll have the decency and respect that so many others lack.
It’s clear to me that there certainly needs to be some sort of change but not necessarily in the realm of misplaced awards, bad calls, or healthcare.
Instead, the change needs to be the way we respect one another. And as I see it, this change can only come in the form of a serious attitude adjustment.
With that being said, it wouldn’t hurt to hear a few more “pleases” and “thank yous.” I don’t think it would kill anybody. Hold the door open for that professor carrying a stack of papers.
Even if you don’t particularly like the person you need to respect, put on your Stepford smile and do it out of sheer kindness towards another human.
Aretha Franklin said it best, ladies and gentlemen, “I ain’t gonna do you wrong ’cause I don’t wanna. All I’m askin’ is for a little respect.”
Let’s all take a page out of her book and show some respect to those around us.