Monthly Article Archives: March 2016

Civility and Respect: A Lesson from the Life of Gil HodgesRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Seth (a pseudonym) came up to speak with me privately at the conclusion of a talk I gave recently.  He voiced concern about what had occurred at a high school basketball game in Massachusetts a few days earlier that involved taunts and anti-semitic shouts among spectators.  He also expressed dismay about the “insensitive, crass, and inflammatory” comments expressed during the Republican presidential debates.  He asked, “Where have civility and respect gone?  How do we help our children to be respectful when they witness so many examples of a lack of respect, especially from people running for president?”  A lack of civility in politics, sports, and other situations is not a new phenomenon, but given the presence of the internet and social media, it is now more immediate and far- reaching than ever before.  One example of the absence of civility and respect on the web is readily apparent by reading the hundreds of comments that follow stories posted on sites such as or  Many of the comments might best be described as mean-spirited and vitriolic, replete with demeaning words directed at other responders.  At this point, I rarely go to the Comments section.  Why bother reading insults that

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