It was a teaching moment, to be sure. I was standing near the exit of a local Target with my boys and talking to a friend when a very large woman whirred up to us in her “Jazzy”-style motorized wheelchair and motioned me out of the way. No please, no thank you, nothing but a little angry gesture. It was rude. It was entitled. It was, sadly enough, nothing unusual these days.
Within a moment, as she was buzzing out the doors, a young store manager and a younger security guard sprinted from the registers to her side and yanked her up out of her chair. Everyone turned and stared, being as how running in a department store can usually mean one thing: trouble. As she walked, perfectly capably, under her own power towards an unseen office with someone at each side, Heathen #1 asked “Daddy, why are they leading her away?” My knee-jerk thought process wanted to reply “Because she’s a fat, rude, entitled p.o.s. who manipulates a faked handicap into a distraction for her larcenous behavior.” But good sense took over and I told the boy that she was being taken to the back because she tried to steal from the store. The girl from the coffee counter confirmed my suspicions and said that that was not the first time this woman has done this. Apparently, it’s something of a habit.
All this got me to thinking about what’s going on these days when it comes to my least favorite characteristic in a person: entitlement. From Joe Wilson’s outburst, to Kanye and Serena’s wacky antics, apparently civility has been replaced by tantrum-esque outbursts from all corners. According to an article I was reading on ABC News, “‘There is an increasing coarseness to American discourse,’ columnist George Will said. He blamed our impulsivity and rudeness on a ‘culture of entitlement‘ where we celebrate ’emotional exhibitionism’ on football fields, cable television, and the Internet.” I see this everywhere, from the Garfield the Cat sweatshirts on nasty methhead moms proclaiming “You want attitude?” to some of our patients insisting that we’re interrupting them in the middle of a reality show on tv, when THEY are the ones who called 911 in the first place. In other circles, these are the people talking loudly on their cell phones in restaurants, those who park in fire lanes in front of the grocery store and recline their airline seats into my knees EVERY. DAMN. TIME. In general, these are the people who behave like the line-cutters you remember from your early school days.
Who teaches this kind of behavior? Why is it tolerated? What parent in their right mind allows their kids to wear sweat pants with “Juicy” written on the butt? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? I’m not advocating Puritanical behavior, but it sure would be nice if the person making my coffee didn’t roll their eyes at me the whole time, as though I am requesting major invasive surgery as opposed to a cup of drip. I wish society would tolerate ME slapping that person and telling them to knock it off. On a related note I also wish I could choke people like Darth Vader did, just by making the choking motion in their general direction. THAT would be a righteous way to restore the balance of civility between mainstream society and me. At the very least I could make a significant impact on the apparent shoplifting epidemic at retail locations in the greater Springfield Metro area.
Until that time, I remain suspicious of people in motorized wheelchairs. But to be fair, I’m reasonably suspicious of everyone, especially anyone wearing Garfield sweatshirts.
Amen and amen Uli Gulje!
Fabulous rant. It reminds me of the two adolescent punks parusing the embarcadero during the Lighted Boat Parade. Skate boards in tote they dominated a pathway near Whale’s Tale and nearly tipped over an little old Great-Nana while she GOT OUT OF THIER WAY!!! It was a defining moment as a parent. That will NOT ne my son. If even the slightest hint of that bull crap rears it’s ugly head – it’s off to military school. And I’m more liberal that most dems even dream of being.
The behavior is a disease. It is a plague. It is spread by parents that presumably care enough not to beat their kids, but lack the resolve to pony up an parent like it means something.
think it started with two things: 1) downfall of the family as a unit. more important to keep up with the Jones’ having both parents work 40 hrs/week than to play Go-Fish and Monopoly, have a family meal at the same table, and tell bed time stories. 2) then the idea of “everyone’s a winner, no losers; we all make the team, “we’re all equal” that’s BS! It’s ok to suffer loss. Sometimes our best isn’t good enough to win the game, that’s ok…it teaches character. It teaches us to be greatful for what we have,and character teaches pride and self-respect. Then comes respect for others and being accountable for our own actions…Just my opinion….cya bro!
Spent much time around teen lately? the are the Entitlement Generation
Excellent point. Here in the heart of Southern California, hollywood movie stars, OC trophy wives, and grocery store checkout clerks who roll their eyes at you and tell a six year old boy to hurry up because he’s holding up the line- I sympathize. I think selfishness is the epidemic here, but entitlement certainly goes right along with it.
Hey Uli finally checked out your blog….I Love It! Although I’m only reading it from a computer, it is strangely reminiscent of standing around fire pits, or bbq’s burning up tri-tip, listening to Uli’isms! I’m only dissappointed I didn’t check out your blog sooner. Bad Angela! I couldn’t agree more with your views on entitlement. The two traits that I loath the most in people (1)entitlement attitude and (2)liars.
Well said…during my time on staff at ucsb, I was confounded by this behaviour from Day One. Many of the reasons listed in the comment above ring true (keeping up with the Joneses, everyone’s a winner, etc), but I also fault the Helicopter Parents (majority of parents of US children born throughout the mid 90s -> present) for never telling teaching their kids the value of those things. I couldn’t even recall the sheer number of times I would encounter a parent’s rant or outrage at some insignificant “problem” their precious snowflake was facing (spitting venom over the fact that their kid lost Intarwebs access in their dorm room for habitual violation of policies and now had to walk to a lounge or library in 68 degree weather, to the fact that a laundry machine was broken in their kid’s dorm (why that call came to MY office us beyond me)). The parents interfered with *everything*, and with the rise of ubiquitous mobile service and unlimited long distance, college-bound chil’ren are no longer forced to cut the apron strings and learn how to deal with the shit life can throw at you. I always promised myself that any masters’ thesis I wrote would explore the subject in greater depth.
But guess what? It’s not. Just. Kids! You will see and notice this behaviour and attitude across ALL generations, from teens now, to children of the 80s, all the way on down to the greying-at-the-temple Boomer generation, which is where I would wager a bet that the true “Entitlement Generation” was born…legions of teens indulged by their parents in order to ensure that none of them face the same hardships and wants that the Greatest Generation endured…with the best of intentions, but with somewhat tragic results. The Boomers haven’t really “achieved” anything, or truly built a legacy to which their own offspring should aspire. Over-medicated, overweight, and overly entitled is a hell of an example to set for your children, and your children’s children. Respect like that earned by the WW II generation is not yours by right…it is earned, just as wealth is earned through hard work, and status and priviledge can be earned through sweat equity.
You know what really chaps my hide? Everytime someone brings up disgust with this topic, a chorus of “me too’s” resound…and yet the situation has only gone from tacky to ridiculous over the last decade. Why is that? If everyone would truly be as intolerant of this attitude as they claim, you’d think you’d see some improvement…but I would challenge *everyone* to stop once in a while and think before simply reacting. Do you really need to flip someone off for driving “too slow”? What about getting furious with someone for stealing “your” parking spot at the market? Or perhaps you’ll stop and think about it before trashing someone as an idiot under your breath while your kid overhears you talking to your friend. Maybe, just *maybe* Junior doesn’t need his own mobile at 10 years old just because “you feel safe” (hate to say it, but kids have survived being kids for millenia with absolutely no signal whatsoever from Verizon or AT&T…and while many say “the world is less safe now than it was when I was a kid”, they are either not a student of history, or lead an extremely sheltered life). Next time you find your hackles raised, and your panties in a twist…try asking yourself something….”Why so angry?”. You might be surprised at the answer.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the g*d damned paperboy threw my paper at the END of the driveway instead of in the middle…I am gonna rip that little sh*t a new one…
Well naturally people feel entitled. Nothing is ever their fault, there is no sense of responsibility for personal conduct and me first rules the age.
On the other hand, I’ll never want for work.
Uli, now you have the boys hanging out at the coffee stand at Target with you. Tsk Tsk. Your coffee crack addiction has you sunk to a level of hanging out with b.e.m., watching torrid social activities the boys are not mature enough to comprehend.
I’m glad I’m not the only one that gets annoyed at the old people mainly women in their Jazzy’s about to run you over if you don’t dive out of the way.
After being in Cozumel for a week, this rant really hit home. The people that live and work in Mexico do their job 100% all day, every day and with a freakin smile on their face. No matter what shitty job it may be. They don’t act like it’s below them, or like you are really putting them out by asking them to do their job. They simply do it. At home people may do their job but by god, they’re going to make you feel terrible for expecting them to. At this point in time we should be happy to have a job at all and maybe we should act more like our southern friends.
Interesting to note that, 48 hours after Half Pasta Wesome picked up the thread of glorified Narcissism and entitlement, CNN now has the story in their Top Ten Section (of course, this doesn’t mean much coming from a news site that routinely has stories about cankles, man-caves, careereokie, and gives front page billing every time Spitzer’s hookers update their facebook status).
Nevertheless, interesting timing:
What an asshole. It’s pretty bad when you go in a store and you’re known for stealing things. Seems like eventually she would find her butt in jail for that kind of behavior.
Oh and what I would give to be able to choke people from across the room with merely a hand gesture! That would be sweet!
I was about to rant regarding the teenager next door with his $500 Nissan ghetto sleigh pickup with the $2000 bass stereo racing around the neighborhood and how it is all I can do some evenings not to lean out the third floor window with an AR-15 and Lee Harvey his ass, or how I’d love to cut the 1500 lbs of lumber loose from my racks all over the fat cow tailgating me because I’m only driving the speed limit. But, I was so calmed by Bunn’s earlier comment that I must agree. Be the change you want to see. My wife and I went out to dinner last night in Portland (a rare event due to the redheaded monsters we are bringing up as children) and there was a group of late twenty-somethings having had too much beer and desiring too much attention. I was sad for them. I apologize for acting that way in my younger days.
George Will started spouting that same stuff in 1970 when he was turning 40, which must be about how old you are. Another 40-year-old wrote a best seller in the mid-1970s called “The Culture of Narcissism.” Going back a little farther, supposedly this was found on an ancient tablet:
“The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound.
Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a
book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast
– Assyrian Tablet, c.2800 BC
It’s hard to track whether behavior of kids truly gets worse from generation to generation, but you can be sure of one thing: at some point, when you’re no longer feeling young, you will be very annoyed by whippersnappers, who seem to know exactly how to push your buttons.
As for Serena and Kanye, have we forgotten John McEnroe’s outbursts? What about Charlie Rich at the 1975 CMA awards, when he set fire to the envelope after reading that John Denver was Entertainer of the Year?
Welcome to middle-age. Damnned blogger.
So…are you saying that Uli lights your Country Music Award on fire?
I’m just saying that Uli has crossed the line from young man to middle-aged man, at least his attitude toward the behavior of others. How does he expect trashy people to behave?
If he doesn’t learn how to live and let live without being in a constant state of annoyance, he won’t enjoy his few remaining years. Or maybe I’m just saying this because I’m in my late mid-50s.