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Keller @ Large: Manners, Civility In Decline… Again

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Matt Cassel is examined after being helped off the field on October 7, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Matt Cassel is examined after being helped off the field on October 7, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – If I had five bucks for every time I’ve discussed the ongoing decline of even the most basic civility in our culture over the years, I’d be able to buy myself a ticket to a place where people still think good manners are important – if there is such a place.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

And I think it’s fair to blame the Internet for both the acceleration of this trend and our heightened awareness of it.

Anonymous comment threads have enabled scores of losers, who once had to wait on hold to vent their bile on radio talk shows, to instantly share their self-loathing with the universe.

Drunken college kids who used to have to come up with stupid, dangerous pranks on their own can now share their inspiration for other knuckleheads to imitate.

And everyone posts everything online so those of us still clinging to civilization can look on in horror.

So maybe in the grand scheme of things, the dim-bulb Kansas City football fans who cheered the sight of their quarterback, former Patriot Matt Cassel, lying injured on the field on Sunday after a jarring tackle, may just be the passing outrage of the day.

But it’s still worth noting as a cautionary tale of how badly we seem to be skidding out of control.

I have nothing against booing. That’s part of the fun of being an avid fan.

But I don’t cheer injuries. That’s serious business, and basic human decency should override all other considerations.

One of Cassel’s teammates has called the cheering “sickening,” and I agree. Then again, it’s no more sickening than the injury bounty system that some of his peers in New Orleans got caught engaging in.

And that suggests we can’t just write off the injury celebration as an aberration, the work of drunks who got carried away.

Dehumanization has become a common currency of sports, politics, pop culture, and daily life. And if that doesn’t worry and disgust you, it should.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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