Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Social conventions

Yesterday in one of my classes a student sitting in the front row took out a Q-tip to clean his ears as I lectured. I know that there has been a lot of talk about the coarsening of American society in the context of screaming "you lie" during a joint session of Congress, portraying Obama as Hitler, the blatant racism of many of the tea-baggers—God, I love that phrase—and the town halls. But I really wonder in a world where men and women walk down the street picking their teeth and students clean their ears in class and no one ever removes their Bluetooth devices—seriously, you are not that important—what we should expect.

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