Rude drivers (was Re: tad williams (was Re: : fantasy monarchies))

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sat Feb 8 21:34:50 EST 2003

On Sat, 08 Feb 2003 19:09:24 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>>That, to me, is what makes someone's actions rude: to know you're
>>doing harm, and not to care.  Something that's almost impossible to
>>determine when it comes to drivers on the road.  (This is a different
>>concept of "rude" than is expressed in etiquette, but never mind.)
>I would have agreed with this definition until I lived with my appalling 
>stepsister for 10 months. She is incredibly rude, because she is oblivious. 
>We had a series of massive fights about how inconsiderate she was over 
>everything. Her response was that she didn't realise that her actions (eg. 
>breaking the shower and not telling anyone and not fixing it) would have 
>any effect on anyone, and therefore she wasn't being rude. 

I would say that once she'd had her inconsiderate ways pointed out, and
continued to act that way, she *was* being rude.

>My take on this 
>was that her oblivion was a matter of choice - she chooses to think that 
>considering other people is somehow a drain on her psyche. So now she lives 
>alone, and everyone is much happier. The point is, she always claimed she 
>had no idea she was doing harm, but I think she had to work really hard to 
>maintain this illusion.

But in that case, she isn't really oblivious, is she?  Because on some level
she knows that she's being deliberately rude to others and she's just lying
about it.  Or, to look at it another way, the decision to deliberately
disregard others is what makes a person rude, and pretending that you're
just not aware of your surroundings is just a way of covering it up.

And don't think (by the way) that all this means I don't get annoyed with
people even when I know they're not trying to annoy me.  For me, the whole
point of my distinction between rude/not rude is to determine how I'm going
to respond--not to determine culpability or pass judgement on their
character, neither of which is my duty.  (Usually.)  If I think their
obliviousness is unintentional, I'm probably either going to ignore it or
nicely point it out.  If I think someone's going out of her way to be
rude...well, I've mentioned that deep down I am not a very nice person.

Melissa Proffitt
not really a good philosopher, I know

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