Celebrities need to learn common courtesy October 28, 2009 — by Emily Williams Permalink As children stumble through their first few words, parents urge their toddlers to say “please” and “thank you.” Regardless of language or location, such examples of basic etiquette permeate the unspoken laws of human culture. These laws seem like common sense to most individuals—things that are on the subconscious level, such as respecting others and being courteous. Despite these clear rules that govern our actions, some people seem to feel that they are above common courtesy and respect. This is not to say that everyone is an angel; in fact, disrespect occurs much too often in this culture, as people are often rude to one another, whether intentionally or not. Americans cut each other off while driving, push in crowds to get to the front, forgetting to say “excuse me” and at times, even seem to feel entitled to make crude remarks. But despite all this, there is still a distinct line between innocent slip-ups and utter disrespect. A recent and infamous example is Kanye West’s outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Needless to say, West crossed a line when he added his own two cents during Taylor Swift’s award acceptance speech, stealing the microphone to announce that Beyonce was the better candidate. West’s actions were not only rude and disrespectful, but utterly reckless. With fame comes responsibility, and West failed to handle himself well. It would seem as if the swarming attention of the press would hinder such behavior as showing up at an award show intoxicated, but attention was West’s fuel as he proceeded to make a fool of himself on national TV. A different, and more disturbing incident happened when House Rep., Joe Wilson, yelled “you lie” during president Obama’s speech on health care reform. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and politicians are known for stepping on people’s toes, but Wilson crossed the line. West managed to steal the spotlight during Swift’s special moment, and she can never get that back. But his lack of judgment and sensibility affected not only her, but thousands of other fans. Celebrities must realize that they have a direct influence on many people and should learn to handle this power well. Of course, some celebrities, athletes and politicians seem unable to accept this responsibility, leading to the conclusion that maybe it’s time for all of us to pay a lot less attention to people we don’t know personally.