I’ve been meaning to do a better job of posting on the blog, but when I’m drafting most of my creativity goes into the book. Fortunately, I have enough cranky in my pants today to make this entertaining, I think. Lately, it occurs to me that courtesy is a dying art. I don’t just mean people who hold the door for others, or say “please” and “thank you” to strangers, although that’s certainly a part of it.
Specifically, I’m thinking about the writing world. We’ve all run across users in our journey, those who want something from us, and they only play nice as long as they reckon we can give them what they want. I hate seeing it happen to people I like because it’s hurtful. I’ve certainly been in that situation a time or two, and it stinks, seeing people you thought were your friends turn. Sometimes success causes it; sometimes the lack of success. Either way, it’s an unpleasant revelation.
Being courteous and polite to everyone, no matter who they are, is a great idea. Not because they might someday be stupidly famous and they will remember your douchebaggery, but because it doesn’t cost anything. It makes no sense to blow people off or to treat them as lesser beings. No matter what someone else has achieved, we are, at base, all human. Celebrity doesn’t change that–and if it does, then something has gone horribly wrong. I’m not a celebrity by any stretch; I don’t mean to imply that. But even I have people who dismissed me quite cruelly before I sold anything. Now those same folks are obsequious in their desire to curry favor. Do they honestly think I don’t remember?
Sometimes people act like niceness is a crime, something you don’t want to be. But I miss it. I miss the days when it wasn’t okay to interrupt someone’s award acceptance. I miss the days when people were allowed to finish their sentences without being attacked. I rather loathe the new sensational standard, where people are hungry and addicted to drama, and to that end, they put the worst possible spin on anything. Sadly, people seem eager to conform down. We treat each other like nobody else matters; self has become the altar of ultimate onanism. I do wonder if this is how the Victorians felt at the turn of the century, as if civilized behavior was on the decline. The world didn’t end, of course. Our standards merely changed.
But in a world where oil gushes endlessly, mountains fall, sinkholes open, earthquakes rock already impoverished islands, and all people want to do is make fun of Al Gore for caring, where are they going from here?