5/31/09

Missing Modesty

Modesty. It’s a word that evokes thoughts of shrewdness, Victorian era thinking, and your grandma! Modesty has slowly been removed from society as we continue to peel back layers of words that cannot be said, things that cannot be done, and images that should not be seen. This is why many a live TV show will have a network sensor to beep or screen out any image or word deemed inappropriate. But when we remove modesty we expose ourselves to humility. I’m tired of seeing and hearing so many things that are just brought to our attention to “shock and awe” us. Does information and advertising really need to constantly grab our attention by revealing more or trying to shock us? I don’t think so. Sex is easy to sell…what’s hard to sell is an actual message or product. What I would like to see is advertising and marketing firms really using their talent to be creative, rather than using scantily clad bodies as a default. Modesty is something that is rare and under-appreciated in our society. In part, I believe that this may have to with our growing struggle with narcissism. We want attention, we want control, and rather than having anything good to say or do we resort to attention grabbing behavior. Many an adult has never learned to grow out of toddler-hood; they still think that kicking and screaming will get you anything you want. Only as adults they resort to other actions that either bring them money or attention. Some people seem to think that by using obscene language, revealing or no clothing, and crazy actions that they’re proving a point or having fun by making others laugh. But by not referencing modesty in our lives we are in fact no different than a toddler. I don’t know what it was, but in High School I seemed to always be the sane one. The voice of reason in a forest of immature psychobabble, I was always the one that said, “maybe we shouldn’t do that,” or, “what if we get caught.” I ruined many a good time because of my willingness to think about our actions. No murderer or vigilante has a plan for the day after. They get so caught up in themselves, their desires, their feelings, their needs, and their violence or revenge that they never think about the day after. I wonder if our lack of modesty is a direct reflection on our inability to think about the repercussions of our actions. The age old scientific law still holds true today…for every action there is an equal and often times opposing reaction. I recently looked up modesty in the dictionary and found that a part of the modesty definition is humility. Humility the word that says it all! Not being selfish, not being narcissistic, placing others before you, and always showing constraint and reserve. As we grow older, we obviously become more modest as we cast off childish ways and childish thinking (which is partially why so many people think that I’m actually older than what I am). What I am NOT saying is that you should not have any fun. I love having fun and especially at someone else’s expense! Fun though has boundaries. Public speaking 101 says that you need to know your audience and your setting; otherwise you might be the village idiot rather than a comedian. What I AM saying to you is, “When was the last time that you chose modesty?”

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