A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
People seem to be getting much, much ruder at the moment. Not only in what they say, but the things that they do, but some of this rudeness is the way that people say it and the outraged responses back from people who had never considered themselves rude.
It feels like a race to the race to the bottom at the moment.
All started with what Wallace calls the Hot Dog Incident though. His five-year-old son was hungry, as most small boys are, and they had spotted somewhere for lunch. Being asked to pay up front was a bit off and it was expensive for what is a simple food item, but needs must, and they took their seats. Twenty-five minutes later and there was nothing forthcoming, so he headed back to the counter to be fobbed off with some sort of an excuse and a promise of ten minutes more. After one hour still nothing so he headed back again to be given curt and what he considered frankly rude excuses, but still no food or a time when it would be available. It reached the point where they were arguing and he was rude back to her, something that he never thought he’d ever do.
To try and understand why, Danny Wallace starts talking (nicely) to all sorts of people who are looking at why society keeps getting worse, travels to the states to talk to scientists and psychologists, persuades a friend to join a Radical Honesty group with him and even confronts a guy in a pub who trolled him online once. He contemplates the effects of the ASBO, learns about the naked rambler, discusses cultural differences where one man’s wave would be considered quite rude elsewhere. He even goes as far as commissioning his own survey to gain further insight into how rude people are.
There are not as many laugh out loud moments in this book as there are in others, but this is an important and actually really serious book about the way that society is changing. Some of the blame can be firmly attributed to social media, where a certain amount on anonymity means that people can let rip with all sorts of threats and feel that it won’t come back to haunt them, yet… This is not a book for the answers though, those need to be addressed by society on a wider scale, and this is well worth reading about this worrying trend.