We need more Mayberry

there is good reason to be cranky these days (and it’s not just old age or the heat).  it’s because people suck.  they are loud, discourteous, rude and just plain annoying.  and it’s getting worse.  lest you think i’m just a complainer, people are in fact getting ruder.   (i think it’s because they think they’re a lot smarter than they really are, or that the decibel level of the statement equates to the intelligence of it)

i can hardly stand going to the movies for all the yakking, chewing, texting, seat kicking and everything other than watching a damn movie that goes on there. same goes for the theatre and symphony these days (though to a lesser extent).

dr. douglas field, a neuroscientist, confirms it: “americans are rude. i say this not to preach, which is neither my right nor my intention, but as a scientist, a developmental neuroscientist. my concern about american rudeness relates to my scientific research and knowledge about the development of the human brain.”

okay, so it’s not all people who are rude, it’s americans.  according to dr. field, “commercial art and entertainment always reflect and reinforce a society’s values, as the public buy it (literally) because they value it… those black-and-white sitcoms [of the 50’s and 60’s] have been supplanted today by garish reality television programs that showcase domestic and social interactions driven by narcissism, factionalism, competition and selfishness.”

could describe today’s politics too.

now, i’m fairly patient with other people’s nonsense (yeah, i hear you snickering) but i really do wait a reasonable length of time for someone to come to their senses and employ their manners before i say something.  (i used to not say anything, but i decided that bringing someone’s annoyingness to their attention could serve as a wake up call)  caution: only try this if you are positive that you are not being annoying yourself.

used to be if you brought someone’s bad or annoying behavior to their attention, they (more often than not) apologized and corrected.  that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.  everyone wants to justify their behavior, even when they are just being an uncivilized ape.  (so as not to be stereotypical about this, i can tell you that some of the mouthiest defenders of their ape-ness are well dressed, middle class looking white folks).

which brings me to sadness over the loss of andy griffith, down-home sheriff andy taylor of mayberry, usa on the andy griffith show.  a tv show that ran from 1960 to 1968 that still airs twice a day and still draws a large audience.

didn’t we all want to live in mayberry? (at least in the summer when the fishin’ was good) can’t you just feel your shoulders relax when you think about hanging out in mayberry?

dr. field says that interactions among other humans brings us stress and that to compensate for our stress we act out, usually badly.  the solution is to establish a set of rules to guide unwieldy behavior, called “manners”.  we all want the ease of living in a place where we are comfortable and secure and know our neighbors.

so if manners continue to erode and if we continue to celebrate the lack of manners, what’s next?  dr. field says that the brain is permanently altered, meaning there’s no coming back from the brink.

i not a neuroscientist, but i think there’s got to be a point at which people are saturated and revert back to being more polite.  at least i hope so.

i don’t know about you, but i’d much rather spend my future living in a place like mayberry than jersey shore.





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