Peggy Noonan has a great piece on rudeness in the Gilded Age (that would be now) today. But it’s her wonderful evocation of a better era that got me:

“So we are agreed. We are living in the second great Gilded Age, a time of startling personal wealth. In the West, the mansion after mansion with broad and rolling grounds; in the East, the apartments with foyers in which bowling teams could play. Or, on another level, the week’s vacation in Disneyland or Dublin with the entire family–this in a nation in which, well within human memory, people with a week off stayed home and fixed things in the garage, or drove to the beach for a day and sat on a blanket from one of the kid’s beds and thought: This is the life.

But she did capture the rudeness, too:

“Technology has not helped in this area. Cellphones are wonderful, but they empower the obnoxious and amplify the ignorant. Once they kept their thoughts to themselves. They had no choice. Now they have cellphones, into which they bark, ‘I’m on line at Duane Reade. Yeah. Ex-Lax.’ Oh, thank you for sharing. How much less my life would be if I didn’t know.”