Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Naughty Chair

I am a product of "sister school". Catholic kids growing up in the '50's had discipline metered out with a ruler and a stern look. When we went to church, we sat in the front pews where our nun teachers could keep an eye on our behavior. If you messed up they were close by to keep you in line.

I also went to a Catholic girls high school. Social graces class was mandatory. We learned which fork to use, how to make proper introductions and how to act in public. I don't think they do that in schools anymore. We would not have had the nerve to misbehave publicly.

With the current examples of bad public behavior abounding, perhaps we should bring back social graces class and a few stern faced nuns.

Last weekend Serena Williams, a well known tennis player, imploded into a black hole of bad language and bad manners. She properly apologized.

Kanye West has been villified for his behavior on a TV awards show. I don't care about him. He is a popular rapper and one cringes that he might set an example for those who like his music. I agree with the president who was heard to call him "a jackass". This is probably the only thing Pres. Obama has said that Republicans can agree with but I don't think most people my demographic care a bit about Kanye West.

The third person in the news, if you can call that news, is Congressman Joe Wilson who blurted out "You're a liar" during the recent joint session address by the president. He apologized to the president and opponents are trying to censure him unless he apologizes to Congress. Apparently he violated rules of civil behavior. Who knew we had any of those rules still in effect. My youngest son noted that it started with maltreatment of former President Bush. I don't think he was was always shown respect due his office. It was open season on Pres. Bush in the US. Iraq tried to curb those who insulted him. The shoe thrower in Iraq went to prison where he says he was abused and tortured for his acting out.

My guess is we don't act any worse than a session of Parliament in the UK where they openly argue and scream at each other. Some former Soviet countries are worse and fist fights can break out. Hopefully we can curb this uncivilized stuff before it gets that rough.

I admit to occasionally watching episodes of "Supernanny" last year. On the show a proper English nanny tries to help parents of out of control kids. Her method of discipline is to have the offending kid sit on "the naughty chair" when they misbehave. Some of these kids are monsters but on the episodes they broadcast they are mollified to become better behaved children. (The show is really about training clueless parents.) http://www.twincities.com/ci_13330811

Couldn't we use a public "naughty chair" in this country? Aha, maybe we have one already. Did you notice Joe Biden quietly sitting behind President Obama when he gave his speech to congress? Joe smiled and never said a word. Nancy Pelosi sat next to him with her stern very nun-like face. Her face probably looks like that from Botox, but it seemed to keep Joe quiet. Joe has been known to speak out of turn at times. Remember his remarks about not letting his family fly on commercial airplanes when Swine flu broke out last spring? No, no, Joe. Don't say anything that hurts the airlines. We all knew he was right but should have weighed his words. When is the last time you heard a sound byte from Joe? He is silenced. Pelosi's looks can do that. Maybe we need a few more chairs up front for Kanye, Serena and the other Joe. "The Look" might keep them quiet.

We have made some progress. Joe Biden is muzzled and you don't hear much from Sixpack Joe. Joe the Plumber is now attending Tea Parties and Joe the Camel hasn't been seen in years.

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