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Where did etiquette go?

This evening I got the chance to watch Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room and it got me thinking. Not about hysteria or vibrators or sex, but about politice and etiquette. I got to wondering...when did american society turn from the chivalrous patriarchy of the nineteenth century into the rap-infested, slang driven, rude camera/internet crazed society of today? As I'm not that old myself, I don't really know the times I have observed in novels, plays, and films, I can only speculate. I also know that much of what and how I was taught in school may soon become obsolute and unimportant---the proper letter writing format, for example. I look at even the 1950s and 1960s and I see that the films still show a polite society where overall rudeness is shunned. This past spring, I went to Ireland and England and I noticed that polite society still permeates over there. How did America become so degraded? Did it start with hippies or rap music or tv....? I wish society still had the politice and elegance of not even a century ago. That's one of the reasons why I am attracted to the Steampunk culture, and previous to that, the Vampire Culture. The etiquette and the politness and the way of life that made it seem like all was well and welcome even if it were not so. In a city like New York, one thinks that one could find things like this....and the above groups mentioned appear to contain said elements. Otherwise...I know not where it is.

Comments are truly welcome on this topic.

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redforkempire
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
I also like the steampunk sub-culture for that reason amidst many others. I believe there are several reasons for the decline, some of which have to do with the zealotry for the pursuit of happiness (I don't care, I'll do what I want), the less strict parenting approach (which I turned out ok but I'm not everybody), and yes the internet (which I love but every positive action has a possible negative reaction on society). Anyway, just my two cents.
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