Our less repressive world tolerates empty vessels and their noise
When Jerry Buttimer spoke poignantly in the Dail last week about the verbal abuse that he has been subjected to, as a gay man – "beaten, spat on, chased, harassed and mocked" – I wondered how much of this odious behaviour was down to a decline in manners.
I met a woman at the weekend who had just returned to Britain after more than 20 years in Japan. She spoke about the "culture shock" of readjusting to English life after two decades away. What was most shocking? "People are much ruder. Much more brusque."
Has this also happened in Ireland? Are people simply ruder, quicker to resort to name-calling, verbal abuse and generally unkind language than they used to be? Perhaps any such judgment has to be subjective and dependent on individual experience.