Punctuality Rules!

Gold Star Cop Out

Gold Star Cop Out

I talked the other day about DIPs (Delusionally Important People). You know the ones, the ones who think they can get away with whatever they like because they’re so special. Well, I am not the only one to find these folks annoying. Check out this column from Ruben Navarrette Jr at CNN. He says, among other things,

There are many people out there, in all walks of life, who think they’re more significant than they really are. Plagued with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, they feel entitled to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it no matter whom it hurts. The self-centered rarely think about the consequences because they’re too busy claiming what they see as their rightful place in the spotlight.

Ouch. That sounds just about spot-on to me. Just in the last week or so, we here in the U.S. of A. have had a tennis star, a musician, and a politician all speak out, in public situations, in the rudest possible manner. A member of Congress who vocally accuses the President of lying while he is in the middle of a speech is nothing if not rude. You can disagree all you like, but there is a time and place for this sort of thing. A tennis star who lambasts a referee in the worst language? Perhaps her fame is going to her head? And when a musician gets up on stage and takes the microphone away from a giddy young star who has just won an award, so he can say that a friend of his was robbed? That goes beyond rudeness.

Want another spot-on statement?

Americans have reared at least one generation of kids, or maybe two, to think of themselves as the last bottle of soda pop in the desert. We said we were building children’s self-esteem so they could be successful, but it never occurred to us that giving kids what psychologists call “cheap self-esteem” could do more harm than good by making our kids think they’re 10-feet tall and bulletproof when they’re neither. Besides, what many of these parents were really doing was feeding their own egos; by telling your kids they’re special, it confirms that you’re special for having such special kids. Isn’t that special?

I think of this as the “Gold Star Syndrome.” The minute you give everyone gold stars, is the minute that all of them become meaningless. What happened to having to earn them? What happened by showing the other people around you the kind of respect that you expect yourself? Sigh … sometimes I just cringe for the future of the human race.

10 thoughts on “Gold Star Cop Out

  1. Kelvin Kao

    I forgot who said it, but I love the quote “You are special, just like everybody else.”

    These are not entirely the same problems, though. What you called DIPs just feel that sense of entitlement for some reason, while there are at least for reasons for the celebrities to feel like they are more important than other people. Of course, it doesn’t mean they should be rude.

    There are always going to be people like that, but let’s hope they are not representative of the population.
    .-= Kelvin Kao´s last blog ..TV Puppetry Workshop: Week 3 =-.

  2. Mary Brown

    They are indicative of the same problem. A celeb isn’t any more important than anyone else, particularly. Whether they got that status by years of hard work or one lucky break (almost never happens, btw) the same rules apply to everyone in traffic and in manners and ethics. With actions come reactions, and consequences follow all choices, good, bad or neutral.
    If people didn’t make such a big deal out of some people, whether they’ve earned that esteem or not, maybe they wouldn’t be so prone to think they are more special than the rest of us.

  3. Melissa Donovan

    @Kelvin, Love that quote!

    @Deb, I have known a few such persons in my life and their attitude just baffles me. I’m not even sure it always comes from the way they were raised. Just look at various (evil) world leaders throughout history, men who wanted to rule the rule the world and thought (for some reason) that they were entitled to do just that. I think this kind of thinking goes way back. I find it disturbing, but on the other hand, it’s great fodder for creating characters. Hehee.
    .-= Melissa Donovan´s last blog ..Writing Resources: Stephen King On Writing =-.

  4. --Deb

    It seems to me that all children are born egotists. (“Look at me, Mom! Look at me! Are you watching?”) It’s as you grow that you learn to think about other people (“Let your friend have the big half”), to think about their feelings, to realize that they are (almost) as important as you. It’s a learning process. I don’t think many people are born considerate … but it’s certainly true that it comes more easily to some people than to others, just like the flipside of ongoing egotism comes more easily to some. That doesn’t make it any less annoying, though! (grin)
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Gold Star Cop Out =-.

  5. Kate

    Lots of people calling Joe Wilson rude these days. But I’d rather have Joe Wilson be rude to a liar than have the liar get away with it. And make no mistake, the president is a liar, and the sooner a liar is challenged, the better. Civility, in this case, be damned.

  6. --Deb

    Kate, I entirely disagree. Politics aside, there is a time and place for expressing dissenting opinions and that is not one of them. It doesn’t matter if the president speaking is President Obama, President Bush, President Nixon, or President Washington … calling out in that time and place was nothing other than rude.

    In my mind, boorish behavior is, if anything, going to turn me against the argument of the ill-behaved person, rather than against the victim of the rudeness. Did Kanye West’s outburst make me feel any more inclined to believe Beyonce was gypped or Taylor Swift unjustly rewarded? Not in the least–it just made me think that he knows less about, well, everything than I thought he did.

    Rudeness reflects back on the mannerless person, no matter how just or unjust their reason for rudeness. That’s the way it should be.
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Gold Star Cop Out =-.

  7. Michaele

    With a kid in college, one in high school and one in junior high, I am proud to say that their schools are not in the “new” categoy where there are no longer any wrong answers because “if a child knew he got the answer wrong, he would feel bad.” Yes, but he would learn! The Gold Star thing is true to a point…my kids did receive a lot of praise, but only when they legitimately earned it.

  8. --Deb

    Don’t get me wrong–I think praise is important for kids. Encouragement to grow, to learn, to gain confidence–all good things. But they also need to learn how to fail once in a while. If you always win at everything, are never “wrong,” adulthood is going to be very, very hard to handle! (grin)
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Gold Star Cop Out =-.