I don't like this latest incivility spree any more than you do. As many have pointed out, this week served as something of a nationwide case study in just how rude we've become. First House member Joe Wilson heckles the president during a major speech to Congress, then Kanye stages an impromptu protest over what he views as a snub of Beyonce during an awards show, then the tennis players weigh in at the U.S. Open*: Serena melts down, threatening in a profanity-laced tirade-for-the-ages to force an intimate relationship between a tennis ball and a tiny cowering official, which prompts frustrated men's favorite Roger Federer to show that he knows all the nasty words, too. (Speaking of frustration and not knowing how to be gracious, I got a kick out of the way Federer later framed his young opponent's victory, and I wonder how many tennis fans caught it. "Maybe I look back and have some regrets," said Federer during the usual post-mortems, "but, you know, you can't have them all and you can't always play your best [emphasis added]." Which of course implies that 20-year-old Argentinian pituitary case Juan Martin del Potro** could not have won unless he happened to catch Roger on a bad day.)
Getting back to Wilson, though, we may be losing a bit of perspective here. The Brits, after all, have a reputation for being almost surreally polite and circumspect in their use of language...but Jesus, have you ever watched a meeting of Parliament? This one is pretty mild and relatively good-natured—I didn't have a lot of time to scour YouTube—but it gives you some idea. Makes the goings-on in Congress seem syrupy-sweet.
* These are not necessarily listed in sequential/chronological order, for those of you who obsess over sequential/chronological accuracy.
** He appears freakishly tall on TV, even at six-foot-six.