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18TH March 2011

Business Tricks - Culture - Timeless

Whipped cream stole my innocence… so now we race to the bottom?

I'm about the x's and O's. She's about 1's and 0's. (Notre dame file photo)

I’m about the x’s and O’s. She’s about 1’s and 0’s. (Notre dame file photo)

I spent a few hours recently with a few of my “younger” friends, quizzing them on social mores and probing the boundaries of what’s generally acceptable these days.

It’s a long way down.

I’m convinced we- and they- are complicit in a race to the bottom in terms of what is socially acceptable. Years ago, William Bennett brought it up in the phrase “Moral Poverty”, which didn’t resonate with me. Chill out dude was as much as I thought at the time.

But since then, the slide has only  accelerated. Maybe thanks to the web, social media, mobile and similar phenomenons (which I invest in- I admit). In short, perhaps I’d be happier in the 50’s… maybe because I wasn’t there. But the movies were good and my parent’s stories were fine. People had a firm grasp on what was important: mostly family, fun, respect, dignity, honor, grace and a lot of similar words that cannot be found on cable TV or your Facebook Wall or Twitter feed.

Sure, it was a simpler world, with less options in the day and on the dance card. Cary Grant found way to be both funny, charming, and quite a dashing gentleman. John Wayne (or even Clint) held forth as men or integrity, dignity and toughness. But by the 70’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights printed their cover for Herb Alpert above. I was eight, but looking at that photo, even I should have known that all hell was about to break loose.

The slide downhill since then has led us, at this writing to
  1. Charlie Sheen pushing the edge of outrage so far as to make Tucker Max feel outdone, embarrassed, and frankly somewhat gentlemanly. “This is my porn room…”
  2. Kim Kardashian & Co. showing off the good life from her “business empire/lunch date” while hawking credit cards to her gullible wannabee audience as their ticket to the good life. Then sticking them with exorbitant fees and rates.
  3. The guy in the next row on the train I am riding rambling into his cell phone that “I hate marshmallows on his baked yams, and he won’t be embarrassed in front of his parents with that casserole again”.
  4. Donald Trump simultaneously declaring bankruptcy at his Atlantic City casinos and firing people for poor management skills.
  5. So many NBA children born out of wedlock the family reunions are about as predictable as a Miami Heat shot chart.

So here’s my point… I realize one cannot arrest the slide by simply saying something- listening skills are nearly defunct as well. No, for those that are interested, only actions will do. Walk away from the things that rot your brain. Do something… meaningful, that brings value to the party. Listen more, talk less. Then maybe dignity, grace, courtesy and compassion will make abit of a comeback.

Or so I hope.

I’m in.

Anyone else?


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