Hey, this is Civility Month. Who could tell, huh?

Check out those dates. We’ve been discussing this for awhile, eh?

Hey, did ya know this was National Civility Month? Here it is almost over, and I didn’t know until this morning. Here’s what it’s about:

People being civil to other people is what makes the world a whole lot better and is the key focus of National Civility Month, which is held in August each year. This holiday was founded to help the world remember to treat others the way we wish to be treated ourselves — with kindness, empathy, and respect. This month follows a common theme like other similar awareness months centered around civility, including National Win With Civility Month, International Civility Awareness Month, and more.

It appears to have escaped the attention of some of my readers as well. I just looked at the latest 10 comments awaiting moderation, and only approved one of them. I think maybe that’s a record. Just not one worth celebrating.

Of course, it “helped” that four of them were from our old friend SDII, using his latest pseudonym (I think — I’m not going to take the trouble to try to trace it back). He knows I’m not going to approve his comments, so they’ve gotten increasingly gross and obscene. Which doesn’t matter, since I trash them as soon as I see them, but he’s been unusually active lately.

The rest were from folks I’ve recently tried for about the thousandth time to engage regarding what this month was supposed to be about, explaining why I had not approved previous comments of theirs. Their responses essentially amounted to a middle finger raised high, so I guess I only succeeded in irritating them.

I’ll stop doing that, going forward. From this moment on, I’m just going to approve comments that add to the blog without dissing others here. Beyond that, things that don’t create a drip, drip, drip of negativity that makes the comments section a drag for others to read.

And what sorts of comments meet that standard? Well, here are some people I’ve never had reason to disapprove (Or rather, almost never. Occasionally, they’ve been dragged into scuffles with other folks, and I’ve just trashed the whole conversation.) The first few who come to mind, in alphabetical order:

  1. Phillip Bush
  2. Bryan Caskey
  3. Dave Crockett
  4. James Edward Cross
  5. Paul DeMarco
  6. Ralph Hightower
  7. Sally Huguley
  8. Norm Ivey
  9. Mark Stewart
  10. Clark Surratt
  11. Lynn Teague

OK, now: I hope those 12 won’t mind being named. If anyone does, I’ll remove you from the list. And no one who isn’t on the list should resent it. I was just choosing among people who’ve made civil contributions in the recent past, and have done so regularly over the years, and have used their full names.

For instance, I was delighted to hear from “Scout” recently. It had been awhile, and I hope she resumes regular participation. But I didn’t include her, since she uses a pseudonym. Of course, there are quite a few people who identify themselves fully and accurately, but haven’t commented lately. I’m afraid some of those were run off by the finger-flipping folk. People get tired of reading that stuff, very quickly.

Why provide a list at all? Well, I thought it better to celebrate the good than pick on those who fall short. Also, the finger-flippers who insist on believing that the standard is “you have to agree with that stupid jerk Brad” will be able to see that’s not true. Actually, I’m almost certain (after all this time) that they won’t see it, but they will have the opportunity.

Note that I provided a link to one comment from each of those folks. There’s nothing particularly special about those comments — it’s not a “greatest hits” list. I just looked for something reasonably, thoughtful (some agreeing with me or someone else, others not) and particularly ones that added something that wouldn’t have been here otherwise. And I did it very quickly.

And now, on to other things.

23 thoughts on “Hey, this is Civility Month. Who could tell, huh?

  1. Dave Crockett

    I appreciate being included on your list, Brad, especially given that you and I have occasionally locked horns on abortion-related topics. I still strongly disagree with a few of your premises on the topic (as you do mine, no doubt) but I think we’ve arrived at a safe place for both of us on the matter for now.

    I am one of those who has tended to comment less than in the past because of the nature of some of the blowback I’ve occasionally encountered. And unless I really feel I have something to contribute on a topic, I just tend to keep my yap shut more than I used to. Guess that’s part of turning 70 last spring…

    1. Barry


      you mentioned turning 70 causing you to not offer your opinion as much. Why do you think that is?

      Some of the people I know that age- most of them retired- are have felt the opposite way in that they offer their opinion on everything – often in very un-civil ways- and they do it in person, not really online. I know my fair share of folks that age that seem to take delight in offending as many people as possible. Most of these folks are perfectly decent human beings- some quite successful people with families, etc..

      A person I know that retired a few years ago told me he had looked forward to retirement because he finally had the freedom to tell people exactly what he thought without any filter and without any fear of losing his job – and I have to say he’s achieved that goal exceptionally well.

      I have to say, it sounded pretty good to me.

  2. Barry

    Alternative view

    A number of most powerful people in the country in business, politics, religion, law, media and sports aren’t often civil to others. In fact, many times, they thrive and attract support because they aren’t civil. There are many examples.

    Civility is subjective. People you specifically point out as civil might be have been civil to you – but others on the board might find someone on your list uncivil.

    Sometimes those that “appear” to be the most civil because they typically avoid directly attacking others, can often be viewed as quite uncivil because they seem to ooze condescension. I’ll avoid mentioning the one on your list that always appears that way to me. Again, civility is subjective.

    It could be said that someone that is always perfectly civil is fake. In some cases, being civil is seen as a weakness.

    For most people, being civil in their business dealings is the only acceptable way to do business. Of course people do business with people they can’t personally stand all the time. Nothing new there.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “A number of most powerful people in the country in business, politics, religion, law, media and sports aren’t often civil to others.”

      That’s right. And this is why I want a space that not only runs counter to that trend, but actively opposes it.

      And I’m going to have it, here on my blog.

      And you bet it’s subjective. You can’t adequately assess anything having to do with human behavior using “objective” standards. If you try to impose such standards, you get nonsensical results. And you give a good example of that, with your “ooze condescension” observation. Lately, we have indeed had a lot of that. And you can’t assess that objectively…

      1. Barry

        That’s fair.

        I ‘m just saying that civility is often seen as a weakness. Not only a weakness, but something to be avoided.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, it has been seen as that — a weakness — since cavemen invented the club. (At least, in the cartoon version of prehistory.)

          Since then, Homo sapiens has been struggling to develop more advanced ways of living together in this world. Civility moves us in that positive direction. Incivility drags us back toward the club…

            1. Barry

              That’s fine.

              I was just noting civil people are getting beat badly at the ballot box and are losing most everywhere.

  3. Norm Ivey

    I’m honored to be included in this group.

    As incivility around me increases, I struggle (and sometimes fail) at being civil myself. I quit teaching in the middle of the year last year primarily because of uncivil students, and I could feel a growing desire to lash out and unload on the next student who behaved rudely. I didn’t want to be that person, so I showed myself to the door.

    I wish I understood what’s caused so many people to lose their manners, or their minds, or whatever it is they’ve lost. Maybe they never had it to begin with.

    Part of it’s got to be the evidence that others are behaving the same way. We see some poor soul losing their stuff in a confrontation, and it becomes somewhat normalized in some minds. And our politics feeds it. So many have become convinced that those who don’t agree with them are enemies, and of course it’s OK to treat an enemy with disdain and disrespect.

    And I guess, if we’re honest about it, some have learned that it can be effective in getting what they want. Dave says above what I’ve told you by email. I’m less likely to comment because I’m just tired of all the anger and nastiness. It’s not just this blog. It’s everywhere. I imagine many people are like me. I have no desire to be around or engage with nasty, negative people. So those looking for a civil conversation bow out, leaving the floor for the uncouth.

    1. Barry

      “I wish I understood what’s caused so many people to lose their manners, or their minds, or whatever it is they’ve lost. Maybe they never had it to begin with.”

      This does not totally explain it but I think a lot of people- and I am talking about people that weren’t necessarily following politics that closely before 2016 saw a man whose life is built on being uncivil, using abusive language to describe anyone that disagreed with him, admitted to sexual assault – being hailed a the savior of the country by tens of million of Republicans, evangelicals, and plenty of Catholics.

      I think many of us saw a shift in the country then, and saw more and more and more of the “if he can do it and it’s ok and celebrated, then I can do it too” attitude take over not only online but in real life.

      In fairness, there is something to that explanation.

      I mean if he could do it, get away with it, be celebrated for it, and no suffer any real consequences, and tens of millions of our “friends and neighbors” want him back, it’s pretty obvious the uncivil nature of our society is here to stay and only getting more bold and quickly becoming ingrained (if it isn’t already).

      Teachers like your Norm have already saw this played out. Look at our teachers and school officials in plenty of areas in the country now being called sexual abusers and other vile things.

      Then there is this yesterday

      In court, Trump supporter faces election official he violently threatened



          1. Ken

            No, it has nothing to do with killing kings. Nor is it necessarily related to thinking with that part of one’s anotomy not designed for the purpose.
            Recticide is simply the slaying of rectitude.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      And yes, Ken, we know you hold Norm, and me, and everyone else who calls for civility in contempt. You’ve made your point many times. And that’s why I didn’t approve your comment making that clear yet again….

      1. Barry

        Speaking for myself, I’d never hold someone calling for civility in contempt.

        Unlike you, I recognize that civility is a a distinct weakness and such folks are taken advantage of constantly.

        My favorites are some of our elected local leaders who pretend to be civil and upright and then get on the floor of the House or Senate and argue for taking rights away from people that don’t like or try to criminalize their behavior because they don’t like them. i someone pushes back, they are labeled as uncivil.

        The irony of taking away their rights while accusing them of being uncivil isn’t lost on most people.

  4. Doug Ross

    I would like to see any evidence that I have been uncivil to any of those named individuals in all the years I’ve been on this blog.I wonder if Norm or Philip would consider me uncivil? We’ve been friends on Facebook for many years.

    Maybe Mark Stewart received some harsh comments from me but that was all because I wouldn’t get on the Hate Trump bandwagon and he attacked me.

      1. Doug Ross

        Thank you, Norm.

        I’ve also utilized the legal services of Bryan Caskey and I don’t think I was a difficult client.

        I will gladly meet any other commenter in person, any time, any place. Come out of the shadows and put a face to your opinions.

        1. Barry

          Such a thing is a dangerous thing to do in 2023. The negative outweighs the non-existent positive.

          That doesn’t just apply to Doug. That applies to anyone in 2023 that you interact online.

          There is a lack of trust here and that’s not changing.


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