By Kam Williams
Sentinel Contributing Writer
“Thoughtlessness is the new manners, and I’ve got to say I don’t like it… Somehow, so many little pieces of courtesy have gone by the wayside. People in your face, in your business, not caring if they are being disrespectfully loud…
So over the last year there were days when I remembered to write things down that struck me. Many are written here. They cover the map of my mind, unleashed on you the way they appear in my head.
Little things, the way I can comment on them in a book but not on TV. In no particular order-oh, and I don’t necessarily have any answers guaranteed to work for anyone.
— Excerpted from The Foreword (pgs. xiii-xiv)
All over the country nowadays, we’re witnessing a frightening
decline in civility, whether it’s teens being bullied to the point of suicide, tourists being subjected to searches at airports that look more like foreplay than pat downs, or simply people talking loudly on cell phones in places where it’s rude or illegal to do so. In the political realm, we’ve heard mudslinging candidates refer to opponents as a “witch,” “whore” or “degenerate idiot,” a Republican interrupt the President’s State of the Union speech to call him a liar, and even a fellow Democrat tell Obama to “shove it.”
Weighing-in on this disturbing trend is comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, herself no stranger to such controversy. You may remember how she and fellow co-host Joy Behar recently became so exasperated by what they considered to be anti-Muslim remarks by guest Bill O’Reilly that they stormed off the set of their own show, The View.
Now Whoopi has written “Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?”, a book chock full of observational humor about the demise of manners in America. In a flip stream of consciousness, she basically bemoans the quality of discourse’s being stuck in the toilet. In fact, the tome’s cover even features a tasteless photo of the author sitting on the john in a public bathroom stall.
Among the hundred or so behaviors getting under Ms. Goldberg’s skin are fans who act like jackasses at sporting events, drivers with road rage, noisy neighbors, cowardly bloggers and cheap perfume. You can easily imagine her gravely voice as you read along, given her conversational tone peppered with colorful slang and salty expletives.
Nothing particularly deep or memorable here, just the literary equivalent of an entertaining standup act by a seasoned comic venting via an emotional dump.