Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Good and the Bad...


The good is that I have had a chance, after a month off, to go back and do some painting. The last two weeks I did watercolor instead of acrylic, which lends itself to softer colors. These pictures are the result. The flamingo was taken from a photo I found in the newspaper, and the winter scene was copied from a plate. I must admit that in the case of the winter scene, my colors are still brighter than the original picture. Seems that subtle is not a characteristic of my work...
The bad is completely unconnected to the good. The bad is a lament about the lack of civility I have been witnessing over the last several years. I know I am no spring chicken, but I think that decent and respectful behavior should be practiced by every generation. I guess the recent political campaigns have just reinforced my belief that people are just less polite than they used to be. I imagine there is always rhetoric in campaigns, but in other instances, civility is crumbling, too. Letters to the editor of the newspapers and celebrities on television who blatantly call the President of the United States and idiot or a clown just astound me. Even if you don't like the President or his policies, it is possible to discuss this without such disrespectful name-calling.
Another instance of this disrespect comes from people who are stopped by the police for doing something they shouldn't be doing and then blame the officers for their problems. I recently read a newspaper article about a police department where the "investigative reporter" had an ax to grind. The article was bad enough, but the comments that were left online by about one-third of the readers were truly appalling. They called the officers names and stated baldly that the officers sped just so they could get home or to the next drug deal to get their fix. You also see it on television on the many "Cops" shows where the people are belligerent and abusive toward the arresting officers. I can't imagine such horrible behavior. If I ever got pulled over for something, I would be too terrified to do anything but say "Yes, sir" or "No, sir" when questioned.
There is also disrespect for public spaces. Just witness the litter everywhere. This morning I was waiting in a hospital waiting room for my son to get some bloodwork done. They called a woman's name, and she got up, knocking some books and papers to the floor, and walked off, just leaving them lying there. Several people walked over them before someone finally stopped and picked them up. Many times I have stopped people I have seen in stores and told them they dropped something when they intentionally threw a wrapper on the ground. I have not done so lately because my husband says I might get shot, and he's right.
Last summer, in a parking lot of a popular suburban grocery store (in a nice neighborhood), two vehicles failed to yield to each other, and words ensued. Pretty soon guns were drawn, and one of the men, the slowest shot, I guess, ended up critically wounded. He now has the brain of a three-year-old, and it seems that is the best he will get. Was it worth gunplay to end up a virtual baby forever? Over who goes first from the stop sign?? The man who got the shots off (8 of them) was a retired police officer who I'm told is trained to shoot to kill when he sees a weapon, but I wonder if he could have just as easily backed up quickly and cleared the scene. Perhaps that would have given the other guy reason to put his gun down. We'll never know. I'm told he reacted as he was trained to do. However, a little civility from both men could have kept this from escalating to a deadly situation.
Of course, this is an extreme example of the lack of civility we see today, but it shows how fast disrespect for others can escalate out of control. And it's starting younger all the time. The way some elementary students talk to their teachers or strike them, and they do, is horrible. When you call in the parents to discuss it, you see really quickly where the kids get it. Here's hoping that people begin to realize how far down the wrong road society has traveled and turn around and take the high road. I'm afraid that's just wishful thinking, though..Life is good, but only for some, I guess...

2 comments:

Alissa said...

That first picture? I was positive you had scanned one of Grandma's paintings. I really love it. The other one, too, but the flamingo, esp.

You can, at least, know that your children are kind and respectful, and that they're raising their children to be that way, too. There is hope.

Susie said...

I always enjoy seeing your paintings Nancy!
My grandma always used to say that children learn what they live, and I would suspect that most children aren't living the type of life that makes them caring and considerate adults. There are exceptions, of course, but far too few..
xo