Michelle Wolf told the truth and exposed our society for what it has become, but she met vulgarity with vulgarity. To me that’s no laughing matter. It is a demonstration of cultural decline. I’m not sure of the history, but I bet this annual dinner started out with lightrt humor, light jobs at politicians, and over the years became increasingly vitriolic, as our politics and our country became increasingly polarized.. Without criticizing Wolf or defending Trump and his blind followers, it’s time to rethink the event. Not to spare them, but to elevate our country in the eyes of the world—and in our own eyes.
The dinner was a large and public show of the lack of manners, courtesy, and consideration that infects our country today. I had a minor version of it last night when my three tween grandsons sat to my left at the dinner table. They slid into the chairs and lunged at their hamburgers. I stopped them with a reminder we didn’t eat until everybody was at the table. They looked astounded. Then they fidgeted. They tried to sneak tiny bites. Finally, everyone was seated, and they lunged again. I said, “You know, you shouldn’t eat until the hostess raises her fork.” Jordan made an elaborate show of raising her fork, and they tore into their food as though they’d not been fed for three days. I didn’t even mention a blessing.
Later Jacob defended them to me. “It was just hamburgers, not a fancy dinner.” I replied that manners are manners, and the nature of the food doesn’t matter. “Well, it was just family.” I repeated what my father drilled into me: you use your best manners on the ones you love best. I’m sure my words that manners are all about making others at the table comfortable and giving them a pleasant dining experience fell on deaf ears. I did get to point out that laughing hysterically at an outrageous belch from one of them, slapping each other’s hands, and banging on the table did not make for pleasant dining for the adults present. Ah, Grandma Juju, the wicked witch. But I’m not giving up my crusade—with my family and with the larger world.
We as people and as a country can be a lot nicer. Someone suggested recently that the point should not be to list the outrages of Trump and company but to wonder why we as a nation we continue to put up with this morally bankrupt leadership.
As for those three little boys, don’t get me wrong. I love them desperately. I hope to see them grow into wonderful young men—and gentlemen.