A Few Thoughts on Civility and Civilization

Well, stop the presses.  Here is something you won’t see often – me agreeing with Froma Harrop.  Harrop is a liberal-minded syndicated columnist that blogs at RealClearPolitics and she has written on Slobs and the American Civilization.  Her basic premise is that the lack of decent dress is a reflection of how little we care for ourselves much less others.  She writes,

Some observers suspect that a collapse in grooming and attention to dress has contributed to the decline in civility on our streets and in our politics. People don’t care what they look like in public because they don’t care about the public. They have little notion of, or interest in, playing a supportive role in their civilization.

I encourage you to read the entire article and I would have to say that I am inclined to agree.  I too have noticed the downgrade in dress at what once were considered formal occasions.  It is not at all unusual to see people at a funeral dressed as though they were going on a camping trip.  I think we’ve lost something as a society when we fail to let our dress reflect the seriousness of certain occasions.  What we wear on the outside is merely a reflection of who we are on the inside.  If the old adage is true that you should dress for the job you want, I am afraid that employment prospects for many young men and women are dim.

The same is true of our speech. It seems as though we have lost respect for one another in how we address others.  Few children are taught the simplest terms of respect when addressing adults so it is no surprise that they show little respect for authority.

I suppose I may just be old-fashioned but I don’t think so.  There is an appropriate time for casualness in dress and speech, but the reverse is true as well.  I don’t think we are a better society nor are we forming better quality people with such lax standards.  Just a thought; I would like to hear what you think.


2 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on Civility and Civilization

  1. I’d like to offer a story about something that I witnessed the other day. I took my family to IHOP on Thursday morning and was seated by six young ladies. Since I was seated so close to them I was able, without much effort, to hear what they were saying.

    They spent a great deal of time talking about clothing. In fact it easily dominated their conversation. Now, I was not surprised that a woman would talk mostly about clothing, but what I did find odd is that she commented on her boyfriend’s desire to stay current on the latest fashions.

    Apparently, this man has spent the last three years in prison. During that time much has changed in the world of fashion. No longer are sagging Dickie work pants the in thing. Now it’s sagging faded jeans.

    Alot of money is spent on those jeans. Next time you are in the mall take a look at the price tag. People are willing to spend a lot of money on looking like slobs.

    In their eyes they are members of a sub-culture.
    These folks don’t see themselves as dressing like slobs no more then Billy Ray Cyrus thought his mullet was tacky in the 90’s. They are members of a community and this is how they are to dress if they want to keep things real.

    When you look at the average teenage male and see a T-Shirt 3 sizes too big and pants that he wears around his knees you see a slob. That same man when he looks in a a mirror sees a three piece suit, but more than that he sees someone who is keeping things street and he desperately hopes that everyone else does too. Oh for the day that Christians desperately seek to do the same in regards to Christ.

    I understand that the topic was a lot broader than what I commented on, but I couldn’t help but think about the above when I read this post.

    • Thanks for the comment Steve. I realize that each generation has their own unique style. Believe me, there are some pictures of me back in the day…. well, we just won’t go there. But if the kid with his pants around his knees sees a suit in the mirror, then he needs to walk out of the fun-house.

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