Are good manners dead?

I think being polite is one of the most important things in someone’s upbringing. I try to address people as Sir in professional settings. Even online I try to be as respectful as I can. It seems to me that other people do not understand manners and what is polite or not in today’s world. Take this article for example; (Manners, courtesy things of the past?)

Excerpts from the article.

Nearly 70 percent of the 1,001 people surveyed in an Associated Press-Ispos poll said they feel people are more rude than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Those living in densely populated cities said they see more instances of bad manners than those living in rural areas.

People now a days look at the values from 20 or 30 years ago as laughable. Why would someone walk around all shinny and happy like in the movies? Is Pleasantville such a bad place to live?

Aside from that movie being about a sheltered place from the past, it did have a lot of positives to draw from. People being polite and courteous towards one another in every day life can go a long way. Watching a stand up performance by Ellen Degeneres the other day I was really not laughing as much as saddened by her pointing out that when people ask; how are you doing? they are really just expecting a one word answer; anything beyond that would be considered a drag on someone’s time.

Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said they blame parents the most for the deterioration of etiquette. Others have blamed Hollywood and the media for glorifying crude behavior.

Hollywood at times really gets on my nerves, don’t even get me started on how they portray Colombia… but as far as rudeness I do believe that they have done their share of glorifying crude behavior, where thug, rough and bad boy images are representative of being ‘cool’. I do believe that parents are the most responsible. I know my parents were strict, but it taught me a lot about respect. I had to answer to my Mom, yes Mom after she would address me. Now something like that would be almost laughed at in our society.

Sonia Valerez, 41, of Victorville and mother of two, said she blames the increased population since the 1960s. She said that longer lines everywhere and the dog-eat-dog mentality needed to negotiate a crowd these days has led to people becoming increasingly inconsiderate of each other.

“It just seems like there’s people everywhere, you know,” said Valerez. “We spend so much time just fighting for ourselves that we don’t have time to worry about other people’s feelings. Nice guys finish last.”

Valerez said that she tries hard to teach her youngsters to respect the elderly.

“I tell them older people are some one’s parents, probably,” she said. “Treat old people like you would treat me. That’s where I draw the line.”

Is our society moving forward while forgetting the good things from the past. Some of the values that I think of when I hear the word respect or manners are now lost or viewed as antiquated by today’s standards. I used to be a gentleman, but after being in the dating world and even at work and getting chastised by women saying I can do it myself, don’t treat me like a woman, I lost a lot of that if not all of it.

I remember one day walking in the parking toward the office, I was new at this company at the time and back then had not worked with many women but this office was about 80% female. As I got closer to the building I see one of the people that I had seen around my department struggling with a couple of boxes. I asked, “Can I help you carry those.” She turned around with an offended look in her face and said “Do you think that because I am a women I cannot carry them myself?” I apologized and kept on walking. This happened in other occasions, to the point that I just stopped trying to help women carry things and even stopped holding doors.

Every morning as I enter the building that I work at now, I say good morning to the receptionist. When I first started here she almost looked surprised at me saying good morning. What is sad is that I am one of a handful of people that I have see do it. The receptionist herself does not greet the people that work for the company every morning as they come in. Greeting people to me is very important; it establishes that human connection that I think is missing in our society. While we all live in our own little worlds there is nothing wrong with building bridges with others by greeting people with simple smile or a kind word.

What is sadder is how our society sees the elderly. They are not a resource to us anymore but rather a burden. My Mother made me promise as a kid that I would never send her to a nursing home; I can only hope to be able to fulfill that promise. I think the concept of respecting your elders is lost in today’s youth, and the disconnection that we have with our elders even in our generation gets to the point that reconnecting requires complete rewiring. We try to empathize with our kids on how we felt that our parents did not understand us, or did not get us. I think today’s kids lack the sense that your parents know best, that I think our generation still did somewhere in the back of our heads.

So where do we go from here? I looked for guides to good manners and found this link. While it is a good start and it has a lot of tips for people that are parents, I believe that it takes making the decision that from today on I will try to be more polite. Say thanks, and greet people with a smile… and when you say how are you doing? mean it.

Colombia Tierra Querida

Colombia is the country where I was born. It is time and time misrepresented in the eyes of the people that do no live there. I am not just talking about people in the United States, but all over the world people think that my country is just a hot spot for drugs and guns.

I have always ignored people’s ignorant remarks about drugs. I tend to react to it with humor of some sort, and then try to explain how I grew up a city that is just as cosmopolitan as a big US city like Chicago is. Cali and Chicago are similar in a lot of ways, they are both the 3rd most popular city in their respective countries. Chicago after New York and Los Angeles IMHO, and Cali after Bogota and Medellin. Chicago people are just as proud to be from there as people from Cali are. In the future I will devote a post completely to showcasing Cali for all that it is but for now I have something else in mind.

I want to change people’s perception of Colombia in a bigger way. I want to start educating people on how beautiful my country is, but it is a daunting task. I have beem thinking of opening up Proyecto Colombia (The Colombia Project), is not there yet but the more and more I think of the idea the more I like it The site is now there, but it is still under construction.

I had initially wanted to open a reconnection side for people that had been adopted from Colombia and did not have a resource to learn about their country. Colombia’s web presence it still in its infancy and well, resources in English are at times hard to come by or not easy to navigate. I want to go a little further though, I am tired of people thinking that Colombia is a country with towns where chickens run wild and pigs fly as passengers right next to you on the plane ride there. We can thank Hollywood for that. So do I have any volunteers?

Also, for all of my non Colombian readers, could you post what you think of when you hear the word Colombia… and maybe some questions about the country, don’t worry I won’t take anything personal I just think that if I build a site, an FAQ is a nice start. Thanks in advance.

Gaming and Cheating

Cheating is probably one of the most controversial subjects in the gaming community. I am against cheating, but then I remember that when I used to play Contra back in the NES days I did use “the code” (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A). “The Code” lets you to start the game with 30 lives instead of 3. This little feature can be considered one of the first attempt by a videogame at adjusting difficulty levels. It allowed me to learn the game, and by the time I was done playing Contra I did not need to enter “The Code” to finish the game. I would say that something that is part of the software for the videogame is more of a feature than a cheat. There are also bugs that are exploited that might not be intended to be there, those in my eyes lean more towards cheating.

Today’s cheating is a lot different than back in the good old days. Today’s cheating involves people actually building software to modify the way a game is played. MMORPG’s (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) might have cheats to get more money, or bots (software that runs on top of the game) that perform different tasks for you, like picking up items faster than a human could click. FPS’s (First Person Shooter) have bots for aiming and other software hacks that allow you to get a lot more kills per round. While I felt that the “the code” in Contra helped me get better at the game, I don’t think any of the cheats that are being used right now will ever help me in any way.

I play games to have fun, not to impress others but to just have a good time. I believe that cheaters really don’t have fun in the end. Sure they might get the best stats or gain some kind of level of popularity, but in the end they will know that it was not accomplished via skill, or practice but just by cheating.

We live in a society obsessed with winning. There is nothing wrong with a winning mentality; I love the idea of capitalism. I just feel that somewhere the notion that you should win by working hard and truly being the best at something got lost. Winning by any means has become the norm for some people. I don’t agree with the statement that the end justifies the mean.

Playing a multiplayer game with a cheater can be a very frustrating experience. It is also so sad that cheating is so rampant that skilled players are not always recognized, but rather have to receive insults and accusations that they are hackers just because they have exceptional skills at a given game. While we could go the easy route and say that immature people are the ones cheating, I think the problem goes beyond that. Cheaters are people without integrity, and the sad part is that some of them don’t even care. Is a game community without cheaters too much to ask for?