Sunday, April 12, 2009


I'm thinking about dignity today. Specifically, acting with dignity.

Dignity: bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. -- Random House

Last night, our doorbell was repeatedly rung. Check, no one there. 15 minutes later, another ring. Ah, ding dong ditch. At 2:00 am, not so funny. We chatted with our neighbors today and apparently a couple of adolescents were left home alone. They got drunk, then did this for hours. And it was the two kids whose parents send them to parochial school so that they are away from the bad influences of public school.

In talking about it with my kids, what I couldn't help but emphasize was the lack of class this shows. The lack of dignity. I love pranks, but dude, have some timing and elegance!

Apparently, there is (deservedly) an uproar about a scene in Observe and Report in which a young woman under several influences is raped by Seth Rogen's character. But really, she wants it, isn't that funny?

Of course, I don't think that most people look at Seth Rogen and think "dignified."

Contrast that with Jimmy Stewart, and his character in "The Philadelphia Story." He is with an inebriated Katherine Hepburn. They talk about it the next day:

Mike: You were extremely attractive ... but you also were a little the worse-- or better--for wine, and there are rules about that.

Tracy: Thank you, Mike. I think men are wonderful.

I think men are wonderful, too. Especially the dignified ones.


Ms. Theologian said...

I think a huge number of people do not understand the notion of consent, and the movie definitely doesn't help in a way that totally offends me.

I am thinking that part of "dignity" involves compassion for others or empathy.

Steve Caldwell said...

Several years ago during a military workplace conversation on legal issues surrounding drunkenness and sexual consent, I found a constructive use for male homophobia to help someone see that "drunk" does not mean "able to consent" in sexual settings.

My co-worker thought it was BS that a woman could call it rape if she was too drunk to say "no" (or "yes") during the sexual act.

I asked him if he were drinking with another man and had passed out, would any subsequent male-male sex that happened be consensual for him.

His comment was "I see your point."

Fast forward to the present -- the current US military law now says that drunkenness means that a person cannot consent to any sexual act. We get recurring training on this legal issue at work due to recent increases in date rape in the military.