This weekend I was faced with some of the rudest, crudest behaviors I’ve ever witnessed — ever.
And it wasn’t in the Costco parking lot.
It was on the reunion show of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” a franchise on Bravo that basically thrives off drama, cat fights and the shamelessly deplorable actions of women.
I couldn’t believe how low some — OK, one of them — sunk, even ridiculing someone’s weight gain. (Hey, the woman is 50!)
Good thing Jennifer Livingston wasn’t on the show; the TV news anchor, who called out a viewer who made fun of her weight in an email, would’ve put a quick stop to all the name-calling, for sure.
When did we all get so rude?
It was the topic on this morning’s “Today,” with panelists Donny Deutsch, Star Jones, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford weighing in.
While they blamed the ease with which people can shovel criticism — thanks to the Internet — and the way we can now hide behind avatars and fake names, Jones brought up another good point: reality TV has give us permission to be rude right to your face — and get rewarded for it. (These women can make up to $750,000 a season, according to RadarOnline.)
I can’t imagine the media exposure — OK, inundation — of rude behavior hasn’t influenced us in some way. But why do we choose to act this way? Are we angry about our lives, bitter about our situations, so we seize the opportunity to rail at someone or throw our hands in their faces? Are we overworked and underpaid and out of luck — and blame the rest of the world for it?
We see this rude behavior on the roads, in restaurants, in line at the grocery store. Just the other day, I was crossing a parking lot and inadvertently walked in front of a kid on a skateboard. I apologized and moved out of the way, only to hear him say, “Stupid,” as he passed by.
And I’m not alone.
In a recent poll, nearly 70 percent of participants said people are ruder than they were 20 or 30 years ago.
So what’s going on? And is there a way to reverse this trend? Or is it too late?