Shannon Rose looks at bad manners, asks a group of students about their questionable actions and ponders what it is to be rude.
Have you ever stolen a parking spot? Answered a call while you were having a conversation with someone else? Tossed a cigarette butt on the ground? If you’ve done any of these things, then I hate to break it to you but you’re rude.
On October 15, the Oprah Winfrey show discussed rudeness as a national epidemic.
The show said that 99% of people think that rudeness is a serious problem while 80% say they are not rude. This episode set out to prove that the average person is ruder than they might think.
Viewers listed their number one pet peeves as stealing parking spots, group e-mails, not washing hands after using a public bathroom, clipping their nails in a public place, speaking loudly on a cell phone, texting while driving, ignoring people around you because you are on your cell phone, and answering calls while on a date.
A quiz followed where audience members participated in a live test where they answered “yes/no” questions about specific situations. The idea was to see how many people in the audience were regularly rude to others while saying that they were not rude people.
Once the quiz began, it became apparent to both the audience members and Oprah, that defining rudeness was a near impossible task because it is so subjective. What one person might see as unacceptable behaviour, another might not even know they are being offensive.
Let’s see if Dawson students agree that this is becoming somewhat of a pandemic.
“Yeah, it’s an epidemic at Dawson,” said Shannon McNally, a third year Theatre student. “Everyone is a brooding teenager who refuses to apologize or say excuse me.”
As far as her own behaviour is concerned she said,“I’m not sure if I’m rude. It depends on my mood, who I’m speaking to and if they’ve annoyed me.”
Before Casey Wittman, a third semester Languages student took Oprah’s “Are you rude?” test, she said, “I’m not a rude person but I guess it depends if you get in my way. I don’t go out of my way to be rude… but it happens accidentally.
“I think that rudeness is an epidemic everywhere,” added Wittman.
Adam Shjearning is the only one of the three who openly admitted that he is a rude person.“Yeah, I’m rude. Well I guess I shouldn’t answer so quickly… I won’t be rude to old people.”
Wittman’s biggest pet peeve at Dawson is when people stand on both sides of the escalators and when people spit on the ground.
McNally described a situation at the DeMaisonneuve entrance that she said shocked her.
“I saw someone cut off one of the handicapped kids who was on her way to the bus. I thought that was ridiculously rude. I think people need to get over themselves and realize that you don’t have the right to be rude to people.”
This is a situation that nearly everyone would find appalling, but what about the less obvious ones?
Two out of the three people I interviewed said that they were not rude people but the Oprah quiz says differently:
o you think it’s rude when people throw their cigarette butts on the ground?
Casey Wittman: I think that when people throw their cigarette butts on the floor it’s disgusting. You see cigarette butts on the street and you think, “That’s gross, that doesn’t have to be there.”
Shannon McNally: If there’s nowhere else to throw them then no, but if there is then yes.
Adam Shjearning: No, where else would you put them?
Do you throw your cigarette butts on the ground?
CW: I don’t smoke and I think all non-smokers think it’s filthy.
SM: I plead the fifth.
AS: Yes, I do.
Do you think it’s rude to talk on the phone while writing an e-mail?
CW: Not if you can do it properly.
SM: Not at all.
AS: I do, it’s annoying. You can tell when people are doing it too because they’re not really listening to you.
Do you do it?
CW: No, I don’t. I have a lot of trouble multitasking.
SM: I’m doing it right now.
AS: Not really. Sometimes, I’ll try and watch a movie while I’m on the phone.
Do you think it’s rude to talk on the phone while you’re having a conversation with someone?
CW: Depends on the face to face conversation. If I’m like, “Hey guess what? I’m thinking of killing myself” then yeah, it’s rude to pick up your cell phone.
SM: Depends who the people involved are. Let’s say I talk to you a lot and my mother is calling me and I give you the ‘wait a minute’ finger. That’s not rude. It’s rude if I turn around for a second and all of a sudden you’re on the fucking phone.
AS: If you’re talking to somebody about how their sister died and you’re like “sorry, I have to take this call,” then that’s rude.
Do you think it’s rude to yawn with out covering your mouth?
CW: No that’s out of date. If you don’t want to see someone’s tonsils, don’t look. I do it all the time.
SM: What if my hands are full? I can’t cover my mouth if my hands are full!
AS: Yeah but I do it a lot.
Do you think it’s rude to answer your phone or text during a movie?
CW: It’s rude for the people around them.
SM: Absolutely! I don’t care how crappy the movie is. You paid to see it. Get off the phone!
AS: It depends. It’s rude to talk but not to text.
Have you ever texted or made a call during a movie?
CW: Yes, yes I have.
SM: Absolutely not.
Do you think it’s rude to cut in line?
CW: Yes. Typically I don’t do it. Sometimes if there’s one person in front of me in the bus line and I have to get in front of them to see the schedule because their shoulder is blocking it, sometimes I’ll just stay in front of them. But they deserve it ‘cause of the shoulder stunt.
SM: It depends on the line and why you are cutting. If someone is late for class and I’m just leisurely standing in line, then it’s fine but if they just cut in line because they think they can, then I’m going to drop kick them in the face.
AS: Yeah it’s rude. I never cut in line.
Do you think it’s rude to steal parking spots?
CW: I don’t drive.
SM: Nah, it’s a dog eat dog world. If you are not competent enough to park quickly then I’m going to take your spot.
AS: It’s rude, I don’t really drive but I’d be pissed.
The general theme of the interviews was that it’s unacceptable if someone else does it, but when you do it there’s usually a good excuse. There’s no real definition of rude but a little consideration goes a long way. Mind your manners everyone!