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Celebrity civility: is it dead?

November 16, 2009 8:01:26 AM PST
Outbursts from celebrities and politicians in recent weeks have raised the question about whether or not there has been an erosion civility in our nation.

Has the act of civility taken a back seat in our culture? And is offering an apology really enough?

"My statements were inappropriate," said Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina).

"It was rude, period. I'd like to be able to apologize to her in person," said Kayne West.

"Obviously, after the whole tirade was over yesterday I said how would I feel? If I could talk to her I would love to give her a big hug and tell her I'm sorry," said Serena Williams.

But are these statements acts of sincerity? Or are these celebrities just doing damage control?

"I think a lot of that is self serving but you know hopefully there considering the other people's feelings a little bit," said Corinna Burns of South Philadephia.

Kennedy Hughey of Wynnefield Heights added: "With Serena Williams I thought hers was sincere because she was under a lot of pressure. The whole Kayne West thing, he's a jerk, that's my feeling he's trying to look out for his image."

Professor Jim Caccamo is an expert of social ethics with Saint Joseph's University. He weighed in on the debate.

"Most people don't apologize they apologize for you feeling bad or you being insulted very few people are willing to step back and say I did something wrong," said Caccamo.

Caccamo says the public should be suspicious of what he calls "cottage industry" apologies.

"Often in those situations people have a vested interest in saying what I said is true I said it in the wrong way maybe, but what I said was true and I'm still right," he added.

But Caccamo said you have to read into everyone's apology.

"Did Representative Wilson apologize or did he not apologize?" he said.

Some question whether Serena Williams was really sincere. The tennis ace said over weekend said she wouldn't say sorry but with her new book out Tuesday, offered her apology.

And Kayne West called to apologize to Taylor Swift after she appeared Tuesday on The View.

"I just that there were that many people looking out for me, so it was really wonderful to see that people were out there defending me so I didn't have too," said Taylor Swift on The View.

Rebuttals or not, Caccamo says the value of civility is not being held to quite as high standards as it used to be. But, says the lines and rules of decorum are still very clear.

"We know what's right or wrong in a given situation. Whether or not were interested in playing by the rules is a different matter," added Caccamo.

But why the lack of civility now?

"Being uncivil is very entertaining right? So, where going to see these things over and over again," said Caccamo.


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