Monday, September 10, 2012

Society Needs a Little Classing Up

Columnist Andy Heller attended a Broadway show recently for the first time in 20 years, and writes in the Sunday Flint Journal ("If you ask me, society needs a little classing up") about what appears to be America's declining standards of fashion and manners in Broadway theaters, including rampant "cellphoneitis," people dressing like slobs, and rude talking during the performance. Here's Andy's conclusion:

"I think it's sad. I'm as casual as they come, but even for me things have gone too far. As a society, we need to class it up a bit. You can do your part. I suggest starting small. Next time you go to a play, wear your very best t-shirt. The one without the curse word on it."

And I might add: Next time you attend a play, why not wear your very best pair of Walgreen's flip-flops?  

48 Comments:

At 9/10/2012 8:25 AM, Blogger Cabodog said...

I'd tend to agree.

I recently witnessed a new low: stuck on board on a maintenance-delayed airline flight (flight had boarded, but then stuck at the gate, 2 hours), a passenger two rows behind us was using his cell phone incessantly during the delay -- on speakerphone.

After a few minutes of that, I reached into my briefcase and pushed wonderful foam earplugs into my ears.

 
At 9/10/2012 8:55 AM, Blogger FactsAreFriendly said...

Here is how I imagine it:

These people go to their closets or the floor in a bedroom corner to decide what to wear. The men are hard pressed to choose between wifebeaters - the yellow one or the one with the arm holes that go to the waist. It is a difficult decision because they plan to wear the wifebeater shirt every day for a week and they have to pick something that matches the basketball shorts that fall below the knee.

Then they choose one at random and head to the airport. The process took a while so they had no time to shower or shave.

 
At 9/10/2012 8:57 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

A few years ago, I had the honor of sitting on a jury during a criminal case. As much as I enjoyed my fellow jurors, I was, by far, one of the most overdressed people on that jury in my shirt and tie. Some of them were just wearing a t-shirt and shorts. There is a time and a place for everything, but given the fact that we were sitting in judgement of a man, I feel like wearing something nice is the least one could do.

 
At 9/10/2012 9:06 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Although, I wonder how much of this is actually a problem or we are just hypersensitive to it because we are pretentious? :-P

 
At 9/10/2012 9:08 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/potty-training-in-restaurant-_n_1858510.html

well, if we are seeking the absolute low, this might be it.

 
At 9/10/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger Moe said...

Morganovich,
you win

 
At 9/10/2012 9:47 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

for those seeking to understand what the future holds for American society, may i recommend mike judge's wonderful demographic extrapolation "idiocracy", which, alas, seem less and less like fiction each year.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/



 
At 9/10/2012 10:31 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

There is no hope for the future "classing up" of American society when many of it's youth are wearing thier pants so low their underwear are showing......

 
At 9/10/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger NormanB said...

20 months ago I was at a NYC performance of The Merchant of Venice with none other than Al Pacino. I had to shush-up a couple of women who were talking during the performance. Never had that happen before.

 
At 9/10/2012 10:49 AM, Blogger Rich B said...

I agree, but these things run in cycles and can be reversed. If you are offended by this kind of behavior, start by avoiding it yourself.

I predict that within 5 years, tattoos will be generally scorned.

 
At 9/10/2012 11:01 AM, Blogger Moe said...

If you are offended by this kind of behavior, start by avoiding it yourself.

Ok, I'll stop pooping in restaurants.

 
At 9/10/2012 11:20 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Another sign of the times? A college professor was breast feeding while teaching on the first day of classes at American University.

 
At 9/10/2012 11:36 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

a professor of "feminist anthropology" making a personal political statement about breast feeding? how 2007.

 
At 9/10/2012 11:41 AM, Blogger Ken said...

When you tell people their whole lives that looks don't matter and caring about such things makes you shallow, what do you expect? This sort of blase outlook on life has seeped into the very fabric of our culture. It's better to be ironic, rather than earnest. It's so much cooler to be sarcastic than sincere. It's better to not take things seriously, otherwise you might actually become emotionally invested in something and live a meaningful life.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " I had the honor of sitting on a jury during a criminal case. "

well those on juror duty in my area have to attend an orientation session where they are told that they will check their phones at the door and if the are in T-shirts, flip-flops or other "disrespectful" attire that the judge has been known to have them stand up... receive a verbal lashing, then summarily kicked off the jury.

The cell phone craze has gotten totally out of hand.

everywhere I go now, people are staring into their phones INCLUDING on the road where their cars swerve, coming across the line, fail to move at lights that turn green, etc.. in the stores.. they stop their carts blocking the aisles while staring like zombies into their phones.

it's really nutty.... and I'm not at all going to be surprised if the accident rate goes up... it reminds me of the days when people would drive intoxicated...

 
At 9/10/2012 12:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:39 PM, Blogger DeansDesk said...

People are spending some serious bucks to attend these shows (suggesting they value the experience) so I would think the theater management could use some of that capital advantage to enforce dress-codes, demand appropriate behavior etc... Start denying admittance to people poorly dressed and evict people who are discourteous in the audience. Problem solved.

 
At 9/10/2012 5:40 PM, Blogger Michael Marotta said...

As a security guard, I watch cameras. I saw three people enter an elevator vestibule from an underground garage. This being Texas, the man was wearing a hat. This being Texas, he removed it before entering the elevator.

Nice as that was to see, I agree that the problem goes back to the hippies of the 1960s. "It does not matter who you are on the outside, it is your inner experience that counts." We denigrated our adults in their suits and dresses and we all wore jeans and t-shirts. And we still do... and now our grandchildren do, also...

I believe that "business casual" was the primary cause of the Dot.Com Meltdown.

 
At 9/10/2012 5:52 PM, Blogger Michael E. Marotta said...

Back in 1996, I worked with a Navy guy who was a big fan of 1940s movies, Casablanca, The Thin Man, that entire array. He said that it was the last time Americans had class.

Earlier this year, I guarded a wonderful old building done in Art Deco. I always thought that Clark Kent had an office in it, a comment I heard spontaneously from a visitor.

Some years earlier, I had dated a girl who graduated from a design curriculum. She said that it was depressing having to live in a "classless" society.

 
At 9/10/2012 6:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"including rampant "cellphoneitis"...

One of the many reasons I don't go to movie theaters anymore...

 
At 9/10/2012 6:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Start denying admittance to people poorly dressed and evict people who are discourteous in the audience. Problem solved"...

Sentitments I totally agree with deansdesk but I'm also sure that it would be quick run to 'law suit city' for some who would try it...

 
At 9/10/2012 7:13 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I was okay with casual. We're way past casual. I don't mind the ubiquitous technology if it's used discretely, but potty training in a restaurant?

At an elegant restaurant in Miami this weekend I witnessed only two styles of middle-aged woman - those who dress like hookers and those who dress like they've just come in from digging ditches. Ladies, take your style inspiration from Carolina Herrera rather than the Real Housewhores of Some City and the bottom of your laundry hamper.

 
At 9/10/2012 10:41 PM, Blogger Tamerlane said...

Making demands on others fashion is simply revolting. Judge lest ye be judged. Put a cork in it because what others wear is none of your business.

 
At 9/11/2012 1:25 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Making demands on others fashion is simply revolting. Judge lest ye be judged. Put a cork in it because what others wear is none of your business"...

Well tamerlane what others wear is importan.t

Just because you may be part of the ignornant, unwashed masses of fools who think hygene is another planet is no reason to drag that sort of loutish behavior and force it in someone else's space...

Does the phrase 'public decorum' mean anything to you?

 
At 9/11/2012 1:27 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

When I go into a restaurant, I always turn my baseball cap so that the brim faces forward.

 
At 9/11/2012 6:16 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Making demands on others fashion is simply revolting

No, dear. What's revolting is crepey, mottled cleavage spilling into a plate of ceviche.

 
At 9/11/2012 8:38 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I guess Andy would not have liked The Globe Theatre. Not only did Shakespeare fill his plays with vulgarity, sex, and violence, the audience was noisy and rowdy. No wonder his plays turned out to be so low class.

 
At 9/11/2012 9:39 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Maybe if Broadway had a modicum of class they'd get classier clientele. What... am I supposed to wear my best suit to "The Vagina Monologues"?

 
At 9/11/2012 9:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"What... am I supposed to wear my best suit to "The Vagina Monologues"?"...

Heh!

Would you go voluntarily on your own?

 
At 9/11/2012 9:59 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Voluntarily is the only way people go to a show. I've never seen anyone cuffed and escorted into the theatre at gunpoint.

 
At 9/11/2012 12:16 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Juandos -- Never!

 
At 9/11/2012 1:53 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"At an elegant restaurant in Miami...."

I see the problem. Someone should have told you, 'elegant' and 'Miami' are inherently contradictory.

 
At 9/11/2012 2:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Voluntarily is the only way people go to a show. I've never seen anyone cuffed and escorted into the theatre at gunpoint"...

Well methinks maybe not in the 'literal' of the words but I've seen the equivalent more than once...:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 2:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Juandos -- Never!"...

I felt that all the way out here m hoff...:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 3:16 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Mike,

I see your point, but Miami has gotten a lot better in the 8 years since my last visit. Almost anywhere except large metropolitan areas and outside of certain parts of NYC in particular, my bar is as low as "all the copious jiggly bits are sufficiently tented so as to hide the garden of eden tatts on the rolls of back fat". Apparently, I must now lower that bar to "not actually shitting at the table".

Juandos,

I cannot imagine why anyone would ever go see something about a talking vagina. I remember someone (Joy Behar?) launch into a nasely version of their monologue on TV. It started "My Vagina is..." and I was immediately hit by a crushing wave of boredom and dread, thinking "I really don't care what your vagina is or what it has to say." and turned the channel. But if your wife is dragging you to something that idiotic then you're going out of respect for your wife and you should make an effort to at least turn it into a nice outing. Don't you expect her to support you when you go to your monster truck rallies or whatever?

 
At 9/11/2012 3:25 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I cannot imagine why anyone would ever go see something about a talking vagina"...

You and me both methinks, the whole idea is absurd at the very least...

"But if your wife is dragging you to something that idiotic then you're going out of respect for your wife..."...

Could be fear of her divorce lawyer...:-)

Actually it was lesson on being careful what one promises...

"Don't you expect her to support you when you go to your monster truck rallies or whatever?"...

No! Hell no!

If I go to a monster truck rally or a NASCAR event I want her to put a bullet in my head...

Now drag racing, well that's different...

 
At 9/11/2012 3:29 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

This post started off as a conversation on how society needs "classing up", and now we are on to talking vaginas.

I think Dr. Perry's point was well made here :-P

 
At 9/11/2012 4:54 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " This post started off as a conversation on how society needs "classing up", and now we are on to talking vaginas."

and so goes CD!

:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 5:06 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Well, that's not what we're talking about, JM. There was a thing (I'm not sure what you'd classify it as) that ran on Broadway for years called "The Vagina Monologues". That's what we're talking about.

 
At 9/11/2012 5:26 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I know the Vagina Monologues. I've seen it a few times. I was just making fun (and censoring myself. The other comment I was going to say was borderline highly offensive).

 
At 9/11/2012 5:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" The other comment I was going to say was borderline highly offensive). "

well.. I for one would like to hear it!

:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 5:39 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

well.. I for one would like to hear it!

Very well.

Vaginas: they're creepy and I don't know what they are for, but boy they are funny!

 
At 9/11/2012 5:42 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

JM, you've seen it a few times? a FEW times?

Good Lord, man, your patience is endless.

 
At 9/11/2012 5:42 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

vagina's are funny?

really?

:-)

I fear Metinks is going to weigh in...

 
At 9/11/2012 6:37 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

JM, you've seen it a few times? a FEW times?

Yes. Once was a requirement for a class and once was my pretend girlfriend (she is a lesbian but her parents weren't cool with that so I was her fake boyfriend to cover the fact) was acting in it.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:13 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I shudder to think what class that would have been, but you're a very patient braid. I trust you didn't wear your stained wife beater and threadbare cutoffs to either performance? :)

 
At 9/12/2012 9:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Maybe if Broadway had a modicum of class they'd get classier clientele. What... am I supposed to wear my best suit to "The Vagina Monologues"?

You mean to tell me that you don't have a formal latex outfit?

 
At 9/12/2012 9:30 PM, Blogger Tom E said...

Wow! To think this started as a simple observation of how people seem to have become so casual and disrespectful.

I wonder if there has been an impact to the US economy and if that impact can be measured?

 

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