Sep 172009
Authors: Scherer Robyn

I was sitting at a friend’s house on Sunday evening watching the Bears play the Packers (and loving all of Jay Cutler’s picks and mishaps, dirty traitor), when I got a text message from my sister that said, “Did you see what Kanye West just did to Taylor Swift? I hate him!”

So I immediately needed to find out more info. When I got home I set my DVR to record the rerun of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and hit up YouTube to find the infamous clip. I couldn’t believe what I saw.

During Swift’s acceptance speech — she won the “Best Female Video” — West took her microphone and said while he respected Swift’s work, Beyonce should have won the award for her single, “All the Single Ladies.”

West had managed, yet again, to take the spotlight away from someone else and reiterate why he is convinced the world revolves around him. A humiliated Swift stood on stage while Beyonce looked shocked in the audience.

The next day, I watched West appear on the Jay Leno Show as he said how bad he felt for what he did. Really? Is this an isolated incident with you? I think not. I couldn’t help but shout at my TV, “Sit down and keep your trap shut!”

This incident is much bigger than either of these artists. It’s about respect. People today have no respect for each other. We don’t listen and constantly run over what each other are trying to say.

Take for instance, the Republican Congressman Joe Wilson. He interrupted the president’s address to Congress on health care. I don’t care whether you like the president or not, that is disrespectful.

The problem spans across all generations and all social statuses. I have had times in the library or a computer lab when other students have been on their cell phones, apparently shouting at the other person (or so it seems to me). I have actually asked some of them to shut up and take it outside, and they look at me like I’m the one bothering them.

One of the best examples of this problem happened to me this summer. It was the Fourth of July, and I was at Bandimere Speedway for the Jet Car Nationals and Family Fun Day. It had rained, but the sun finally came out and all the young kids became excited about watching the cars.

That’s when it happened. A group of three people, about my age, who were sitting in front of me, pulled out their cigarettes and starting puffing away like chimneys. There was a family with three kids sitting beside them and a family with five kids sitting behind me.

A little girl from the family behind me began to cough and covered her face with her blanket. The kids to the side began whining to their parents. I kindly asked the group to put out their cigarettes because it was bothering everyone, and they ignored me. The dad of one of the families approached the group and asked them to stop with no avail.

Finally the mother of this family got up and yanked a cigarette out of one of the kid’s mouth and threw it on the ground. Things then got very tense and finally the group left. However, the underlying problem was still respect.

This group of people had no respect for anyone around them. They only worried about what they wanted, even though it was harming others.

This trend seems to be especially popular with celebrities who think the rules don’t apply to them. They speak at will and then act like they didn’t do anything wrong when they get called on it.

The problem runs wide and deep, and kids today are growing up thinking this is OK. When I was little, if I back-talked to my mother, I got soap in my mouth.

I’m wondering if that wouldn’t be a good tactic to use on current-day mouthy individuals. I realize you have your freedom of speech but there is a time and a place, and that place isn’t during someone else’s speech. So shut up already.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal sciences major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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