September 15th, 2009
05:42 PM ET

Do celebrities behaving badly say something about us?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

These days it seems like some so-called celebrities are acting more like third graders than the role models they're supposed to be. At the top of the list is hip-hop star Kanye West, who was a grade A jerk at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday when he jumped on stage and ripped the microphone away from teenager Taylor Swift, saying Beyonce should have won.

Kanye West took the microphone from Taylor Swift during her speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

West has since apologized several times - but he ruined a young girl's moment in the spotlight. Even Pres. Obama called him a "jackass."

In sports - Tennis star Serena Williams cursed out a line judge a third her size in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, saying she would "take this ball and shove it down your f--ing throat." This happened after an earlier temper tantrum where Williams slammed her racket on the court and broke it.

In the very same tournament, Roger Federer also swore at the chair umpire, saying: "Don't tell me to be quiet, OK? When I want to talk, I talk. I don't give a _____ what he said."

Meanwhile a recent YouTube video apparently caught golf great Tiger Woods throwing his club into the weeds in anger.

Some of our politicians are acting like pigs as well. Congressman Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar on the floor of the House during the president's address to Congress.

And Democratic Congressman Pete Stark of California told a constituent during a town hall meeting that he wouldn't "waste the urine" to pee on the man's leg.

It's not hard to figure out why some of our children don't respect their parents, their teachers, the police or any other authority figures in society.

Here’s my question to you: Do celebrities behaving badly tell us something about the rest of us?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Nikki from Winston-Salem, North Carolina writes:

Yes, Jack, it shows that as a society, unruly behavior is okay. Gone are the days where our parents taught us manners. Now everyone will act like "jackasses" just to have their 15 minutes of fame on YouTube.

Lee writes:

I never thought I'd see the day when we could draw ethical parallels between rap stars and a U.S. congressman. It appears that the difference between the two is that a rap star (Kanye West) can give an apology in earnest while Congressman Wilson’s unyielding arrogance prevents him from doing so. Wow!

Linda from Laguna Niguel, California writes:

Yes, we are losing the underpinnings of decorum, civility and common courtesy in this country. In essence, we are becoming less civilized. It is pervasive and scary.

Steve from Butte, Montana writes:

Kanye West just proved what a jerk he really is. He did nothing but steal this girl’s limelight. What a racist punk.

Mike writes:

Of course it tells us something about ourselves. In each of these cases, we have, through our dollars (or our vote), supported the infrastructure that puts these people in the position that they're in. Refuse to buy Kanye West for a year and see how his actions change. Don't buy Serena or Federer-endorsed gear for a year. Don't vote for Pete Stark. It's that easy. Yet, as a society, we continue to support it.

N. writes:

Society as a whole is swiftly sliding downhill. At the same time, there are just so many more cameras around, mics are more sensitive and a sound bite can travel the world within seconds of being uttered.

Joan writes:

You keep asking questions like this one and I'll take this blankety-blank mouse and shove it down your blankety-blank throat.

Filed under: Media Coverage
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Cindy M

    I've thought civility in this nation has been going downhill for a long time; I'm 44. Everyone's "entitled" to do whatever they like supposedly; if it makes them look stupid or hurts the other person, they don't care.

    In the case of celebrities like West, he knows it's another instant round of nonstop week-long publicity for him. The media needs to STOP rewarding these behaviors with continued articles and attention to the offender.

    Swift's moment is STILL being taken away from her. Isn't that what West wanted?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  2. Peggy Karas

    I believe we as a society have lost our manners and moral compass. It seems to be he norm to interrupt one another without any regard to them or what they have to say. We have become a nation of RUDDYS!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  3. Mitch

    I hope not! I wasn't raised that way. I think it's all about acountability.
    These days people are not held accountable for their actions so what's to stop them from repeating their bad behavior. This isn't the first time Mr. West has diplayed poor judgment and bad behavior , chances are it won't be the last.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  4. Nancy, Tennessee

    Celebrities are a world apart from the average citizen. Kanye's behavior in no way reflects badly on anyone, but himself. This was outrageous and he was escorted out of the building. I just wish that the producers of the show would have showed that happening on the air. We could have applauded to show our dismay at such disrespect to Taylor as he stole her thunder.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  5. ray

    Conaye West and Joe Willson are products of the same slums and should be placed at the bottom of a trash can and dumped in the same garbage dump sites that they grew up. This nation should not allow pests like them in their neighborhood, in our news and not to mention in our congress.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  6. Pete Watson

    The actions of these high profile individuals are merely consistent with the general behavior of the American public. We say all the right things about rude behavior yet we speed up to pass people waiting patiently to exit a roadway so we can squeeze in and save OUR time. We shake our heads at this behavior, yet we have to install cameras because so many ignore traffic signals and put lives at risk to save a minute of OUR precious time. We use Express lanes with too many items and write checks despite signs to the contrary. No one opens doors for ladies (or anyone) anymore (well, except for me), and you never hear thank you when you do (or at any other time). Manners and a general sense of right and wrong go out the window for Americans when they believe they can benefit at someone elses expense. Then we're shocked at this behavior? Please!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  7. Greg Sivco

    Hey, Jack, loving your stuff, ever since you were a New York City NBC local guy and gave my NBC Page brother really great advice on how to succeed in the biz that is Radio and TV. You are totally honest, and America needs more of that other than “spin.” May you never die.

    Regarding this topic, yup, we Americans have gotten ruder in time than our ancestors, hell, than our parents. Why is that? Does Hollywood factor into this? Just asking.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  8. Catty

    I don't think it speaks to who we are now, but more about who we can become if we keep worshipping these people. Everyone you listed feels some sense of entitlement that led them to throwing tantrums instead of acting like adults. I'm sure their inner dialogue is laced with selfish thoughts and ideals. Hopefully the bulk of this nation sees past this selfish minority and can is open to the big picture.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  9. Adam

    I really think it does. I think it is indicative of the direction the United States as a whole. We have become a complete backwards, spoiled rotten nation. On the subject of celebrities, how do the paparazi get away with what they do? It's harrassment. There are tons of other examples of this country losing sight of what we stand for. I read the article about the 100 year old medal of honor vet and when I looked at the picture of him and his wife in their younger days you can just see the difference. The people of the old United States had something that just isn't there anymore.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  10. david

    Finally you have discussed a smoldering problem and asked a truly relevant question. We as a nation should be ashamed of allowing people to get away with these acts of uncivilness. We allow any behavior and any language and turn our heads the other way we should turn our heads down in embarrasment for what we accept collectively as a group of "civilized people".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  11. Joyce Moore

    I think the country is falling apart. We tend to be very angry and disrespectful of each other. We only think of ourselves with no passion for each other. Race color or creed should not matter, we are all human beings. What can we tell our children when we act worse than they do . We are not setting good examples.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Paul

    It tells us that they are extremely overpaid for what they do. They act like spoiled brats, throw temper tantrums and love to use the F___word as a shock factor. Most actors, actresses and sports celebrities are good decent people. However, some are immature and act like small children who are told they can't have another cookie. It doesn't say much about the rest of us. It says that perhaps their upbringing wasn't what it should have been and their maturity level stalled at about age 4.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  13. Steven

    Jack, celebrities, in many ways, are a very real reflection of the society that bestows fame upon them. We are becoming more and more rude and hateful to one another and, I believe, spiraling down ever closer to violence. It almost seems that many among us are hoping for just that end. Sad, very sad.
    Steve, Taos, New Mexico

    September 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  14. Sally forth

    I think people, in general, are much ruder now than they've been in the past. I don't know exactly what is causing this slip in manners, but it's driving me crazy. I was brought up (in the 50s) to say 'please', 'thank you', 'excuse me', and other words (and actions) that show good manners. Sometimes I swear that I am the only person in the room with any manners. What is wrong with people now days? Civility seems to have flown out the window, replaced by rudeness. Everyone seems to have a sense of entitlement. Whenever I come across someone with actual manners, whether it's a child or an adult, I always make a point of commenting positively on his/her good manners. I think good manners are a rarity. Let's bring back etiquette classes-mandatory for grade schoolers.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  15. Nancy - Colorado

    Celebrities as well as many of us, Jack. It is actually scary that so many seem to have no control over themselves whether they be celebrities, sportsmen, politicians and many who just want attention. I honestly believe that many of our troubles have grown from just plain rudeness and the inability to walk in another's shoes. We have no respect other's feelings or point of view.
    There is an old saying whose author I do not know. "It is better to remain silent and be thought stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" Or, "Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand."

    September 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  16. John

    I think Jack it shows a lack of control. We have all become what the TV shows and what we read in the tabloids. It is a shame that anyone has to first see this type of action yet be excited about it. I have been reading all the blogs and seeing all the people comment on these 2 issues you are bringing up and the sad thing is it is becoming the norm. We all say we don't want to see yet in the end we watch with our fingers over our face looking through and say "WOW". If we want anything to happen from these action we all need to grow up and it would be a better place. Remember one simple rule "Be Nice".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  17. Elaine

    It shows first, that our people in the public eye are spoiled, and have no respect for authority; not that I expect a lot from celebrities; but, I expect a much more civil behavior from members of Congress rather than acting like ignorant, narrow-minded twerps!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  18. Linda Laguna Niguel, CA

    Yes, we are losing the underpinnings of decorum, civility and common courtesy in this country. In essence we are becoming LESS civilized. It is pervasive and scary.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  19. Lucy, Texas

    Yeah, it tells us a lot.....we like to "watch".

    Bill Maher suggested they we get off the remove the snuggy, get off the couch and start protesting like the "losers" are doing, because their yelling is drowning out the winner's message.

    I guess I should. I bet the health care lobby won't let those that voted for Obama use that nice bus, the electronics and refreshments the tea party does. But, I'll do it at the next opportunity. Do those tea party folks really have jobs and health care?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  20. Dawn

    There are actions we can take to show our disapproval – don't buy their albums, don't vote for them, don't support them as athletes.

    Another big example left out above was Chris Brown's battery of Rihanna. These examples go beyond the 'party image' and really should not be supported. I am no longer a fan as a result and could care less how many times they apologize. When a singer/athlete/congressman is given a gift and they're in the public eye, they have a responsibility to the public. As the public, we have a responsibility to not show our support (not to be fans of) irresponsible destructive people.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    Yes Jack, celebrities and politicians behaving badly tells me that we are on a road making great haste to becoming a third world country that will soon resemble Afghanistan and it is because we are rapidly becoming a less civil society. When the people that are supposed to be the ones we look up to are down here in the trenches with us duking it out, there is no one for us to look up to.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  22. Josh Harbour

    Of couse it does. The American dream is narcism in full swing. Everyone believes they are special and are told so from birth. 1 in 8 billion, yea you're real special.

    Josh in Dallas

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  23. Douglas Walsh

    No, I believe that the people we are electing seem to be of much lower quality than those of the past. I further believe that the major news groups have become so biased favoring one party over the other that to get attention our elected people behave as fools !! Good example is that we hear Democrats and Republicans agree on 80% of Healthcare – why not pass such 80% now and work on the other 20% later – but no – our Congress cannot act in our interests only their own !!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  24. Gene in Tallahassee

    Celebrities, role models? When did that happen?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  25. Laura from Willis

    Yes, it does say a lot about us. We should demand more from these celebrities. We have put them in this limelight, and if we tolerate such behavior, we only encourage more of the same behavior. What kind of example is this to our children? Obviously, from Serena to Wilson, someone's mother forgot to teach them manners. If they had learned as children how to control their anger, our World would be a most different place in which to live.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  26. Valley Joe

    That goes to show you that we're all diva/divo behaving rotten brats!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  27. deon

    All it tells me is that ......they are no different then the rest of us......just most of them make more money.....then most of us....but still they are human just like the rest of us........

    September 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  28. ML from Las Vegas

    How dare you insult pigs-

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  29. Stewart

    You bet Jack, our standards for everything, especially educating our kids, is degrading, even though our Country's future depends on it.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  30. Justin Tokarz

    Yes, that we need new celebrities.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  31. Steve

    Yeah it says we all love drama, and it gives you something interesting to talk about for a change Jack!

    Steve in Charlotte NC

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  32. michael

    No, it says nothing, people arent saying anything they havent said before, the media just took notice because it will get ratingd tonight, but next week you wont even know who kanye west is.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  33. Fritz Hohenheim

    Dear Jack,
    celebrities are sportsmen, singers, actors and so on. They are not Jesus Christ! Their job is not to be a rolemodel. That's the parent's job. If parents are not rolemodels enough to immunize children from bad influence from public figures, it's their fault when the children end up screwed up, not the celebrieties. They are humans and they have their outbursts just like the rest of us. We should like or dislike for what they do professionally and ignore outburst. It has nothing to do with what they pay them for: To entertain us. If we assume that celebrietes are rolemodels, then clearly something is wrong with us not with them
    Fritz, L.A.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  34. Anthony

    IT sucked but I think its more publicty to help sell music in this case.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  35. Clarence

    Hey Jack – is it an American thing, spoiled rotten as usual....

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  36. Steve in Butte Montana

    Kanye West just proved what a jerk he really is. He did nothing but steal this girls limelite. What a racest punk.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  37. Ben from San Diego

    Its the TV generation Jack... with all the over-the-top sitcoms teaching our bleary-eyed kids how to be loud, obnoxious and irreverant... really... there's not much to be proud of here in the USA... our best days a definitely behind us.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  38. Katie

    Absolutely! Nearly everyone today behaves rudely: celebrities, politicians, co-workers, the entire human race. There is an utter lack of respect and a lack of kindness being shown from person to person. Maybe we are too wired-in. Too much TV, internet, Facebook, and too much work may be taking their toll on all of us. Everyone is anxious to be offended but less anxious to be helpful or kind.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  39. Maleka

    They don't represent me. Only I can account for my actions, my parents raised me with respect for myself and others.


    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  40. Kenny (Philadelphia)

    You hit the nail on the head. When our leaders and celebrities behave this way we should not wonder what is wrong with our children. The answer is beamed into our homes through the TV everyday nonstop.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  41. Andy

    Your commentary is ill-conceived. Your decisions are based on people in the lime-light. Those of us outside this sphere are a little more contained. In the lime-light, you're competing for "eyes". In the 'hood, you're not.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  42. Linda in Arizona

    Can't you think of a better word to use to describe this behavior than behaving like "pigs". Pigs behave well in comparison to some of these people. People should be as decent as pigs. It would be a huge step up for humanity.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  43. Bill Davis

    Why we hold celebrities in such high esteem is not apparent to me. Sports figures "play games" the outcomes of which are not crucial to mankind. Entertainers are just that and their actions and views should be taken with a grain of salt. It's the politicians conduct that has me worried.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  44. Pat (Sacramento)

    No! Only spoiled brats act like asses.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  45. Jim in WV

    Yes, particularly when we see that Joe Wilson's fundraising grew beyond his wildest dreams after his bad behavior. The good news is that publicly available list of donors will help insurance companies predict who will likely be institutionalized within a decade and drop them now.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  46. Bala

    momentary outbursts are ok; we are all human; not robots. however, respecting the stage and the audience is important. We need better rolemodels.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  47. Karl from SF, CA

    Celebrities are just a reflection of what we see in schools, shopping centers, at Town Hall meetings, 9/12 protests and Joint Sessions of Congress. Unfortunately, many leaders in this country aren’t any better behaved or disciplined then the ones we call nut jobs. We all tend to follow our favorite leaders and it is beginning to speak a lot for this country’s leadership. In a word, pathetic.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  48. Jasmine in Germany

    Of course. This isn't a country of many of "low class", but rather "no class". Look at what millions in the US call "culture": song lyrics, computer games, films etc. which are unintelligent, violent, lewd, and insulting. And the entertainment industry is proud to sell TV shows where large amounts of food (via food fights, dares) and fuel is wasted. I think they're all making too much money, Jack. Being "rich" has become more important than education and common decency. Lots of native speakers don't even have command of the English Language. What does that say? Achievement , success and wealth are not synonymous, but lots of people don't understand the differences. I can understand why some countries don't want the influx of "American culture".

    As early as 1981 in tennis, "super brat" John McEnroe (sorry, John) lowered the image of US American sportsmanship world wide. Serena Williams' recent behavior was unacceptable. Kayne West clearly needs therapy to deal with his self-importance, Pete Stark's comment was unfit for a Congressman, and Joe Wilson gets the blue ribbon for being out of touch in his league.

    Woods has set a bad example to kids, and Federer (who is Swiss, but who's career has been largely influenced by Americanism) should take a good look in the mirror. The list goes on. Heroes are hard to come by these days, Jack. But, you're still my hero.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  49. karin los angeles

    think about it-8 years of bush/cheney running the country as role models. they lied, tortured, condoned corruption and little kids grew up watching this. the repub house and senate ran up the deficit and lied and made up things to ram thru their decisions that would not help us – why should kids believe in truth, justice and the American way when all they see is hate and division and bush/cheney were their mentors.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  50. rob

    Conaye West and Joe Wilson are products of our news media. The more you guys give them recognition the worst they get. Lead these cockroaches back to the same waste disposal site that they grew up.
    They do not desreve wasting time on them.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  51. RC

    Celebrities are people just like anybody else. We ALL as a society are getting coarser and ruder than I can ever remember. Look at the town hall meetings - big mouths and little brains in action. They shout down anyone's opinion if it doesn't agree with our own. We seem to be getting wackier too. The lunatic fringe (birthers, especially) have derailed many town all meetings with their rude and crazy accusations of the President despite concrete evidence that proves them wring.. The vast majority of people agree with me.

    Just look at the results of an ongoing poll on CNN:
    Is society in general becoming less civil?
    Yes 90% 143566
    No 10% 15172
    Total Votes: 158738

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  52. Justin Roane

    Preposterous. Kanye west stole a MINOR'S moment in the sun. I'm surprised there wasn't a race riot – this time on the side of the country music public. Kanye and many other rap 'artists' are simply proving black stereotypes...it's pathetic.

    Not to mention the majority of the rap community considers Kanye both a sellout and a POP artist. He's not even 'gangster'...

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  53. Samantha

    Yes, it tells us that we are human and that when we do something humanly ignorant out of passion we should apologize to ALL proper parties ultimately involved-directly AND indirectly-and suffer the consequences those involved involk on us...then we learn from those humanly ignorant things and hopefully we don't repeat them.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  54. Shirden Prince

    Regarding what you said about Kanye West and 3rd graders,

    I teach 3rd grade and trust me, my students have more respect for others in their small fingers than Mr. West has in his entire body. My students and I agree that he is no role model of ours.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  55. Trineeta Liegey

    Our children are definitely effected by celebrity behavior. Today's children look up to celebrities because they have all of the material things, but what we need to stress to children is that they are human beings just like us.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  56. Johnathan Alvarez

    It shows that they are not role models but people who act like babies cause they do not get their way, or act selfish or self-centered. Who does this sound like? Oh! Sounds like Washington in action everyday!, this goes to the annoying Tea Party protesters. But hey God Bless America!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  57. Andrig Miller

    I think it does say something about society in general, and a lack of respect is a constant, it would seem. As a society we have become so much more self centered that the only logical outcome is what we see in these events that you list. Everything has become about yourself. The myth that "loving yourself, is the greatest love of all", is at the very center of our culture these days.

    People used to talk about the "golden rule", which is treating others the way you want to be treated. This is a secular version of what the Bible teaches, which is "love your neighbor as yourself", and what Jesus said, paraphrasing, The greatest love of all, is someone willing to lay down his life for a friend. Putting others first, over ourselves is the opposite of the "self love" that continues to get propagated in pop culture.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  58. Jim

    No it tell us something about them. With the economy in the tank and congress stuck in an unending squabble, the only thing you can count on is the is the inevitable goodness of the American people, going out of their way to lend a helping hand...

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  59. Andrea Brooks

    If celebrities behaving badly tell us something about about ourselves....

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  60. MSgt., USAF, Retired

    Jack, I can't say much for the rest of them, but from what I saw and heard of the Rep. Stark incident he was responding from a crude comment from an elderly man who was obviously not a gentleman.
    As for the rest of us, we as a whole are rude, crude, and screwed unless we learn that what we say and how we act will come back to bite us.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  61. Manny Whitlock

    Yes Jack, it does. We have been knowing this for a long time. The problem when those entertainers and those who grow up with them become mothers and fathers, they don't teach their children any better. Not all entertainers do this. That is why we got men like Bill Cosby fixing to step up to the plate...

    Tell the Blitzer I said keep up the good work.

    Thank you people for all you do @ CNN and GOD BLESS

    Manny Whitlock

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  62. Wakefield Travers

    I think it says we are human. I think it says we make mistakes. I don't agree with everything every celebrity does but if I was in the public spot light all the time I am sure there would be somethings I would have to apologize for. Lets take these outbursts with a grain of salt and learn to forgive each other.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  63. cjbowen

    just tells us that the spoiled, rich americans are being inconvenienced by the state of the union!!!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  64. Karen

    We and the media should be talking about what Beyonce did instead of West. Report on good things for a change and we just might see more good than bad.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  65. Robin, Westwood, North Carolina

    Of course it does–we've become a society of toddlers in their terrible twos.

    Serena Williams throws a tantrum reminiscent of my kid sister in kindergarten, and Kanye West reminds me of the most popular kid in school whose girlfriend lost out on winning homecoming queen.

    We as adults are constantly telling children that "we can't always get what we want". Maybe we should try practicing what we preach.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  66. Barbara Hooper

    Hi Jack,

    The term "ugly American" seems to be appropriate these days, sadly.

    Ontario, Canada

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  67. Diana

    Just because a celebrity acts inappropriately does not mean that most people do. I tend to believe that celebrities and some authoratative figures sometimes think they are a little bit better than the rest of us. Most Americans, I think, are genuinely kind and believe in doing the right thing. Am I being too positive? Hope not!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  68. Kaley

    Hi Jack-
    I must say that you just won both myself and my husband over with your conclusion that what children see in their media-indulgent lives DIRECTLY relates to the lack of respect children demonstrate towards their elders. As a school teacher in a very small town of northern Ontario, I am not even immune to the rudeness, back talk and overall ignorance children acquire from watching and trying to mimic their "celebrity role models."

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  69. Paul Blake

    Please don't start Twittering.
    It is a fad and contributes to the dumbing down of America.
    Why read a 3,000 word news article when you can see Wolf's 10 word tweet about it?
    The Sci Fi network is now the SyFy network...the movie Idiocracy is playing out in front of us!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  70. Newt

    The kanye incident is more of a comment on MTV and the music industry promoting the selfish culture of "me first".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  71. Ronny Jefferson

    Our leaders come from among us. It may not sound pretty but they are a product of our society at large. Some of them may lie, cheat, or even watch porn.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  72. Todd

    No, celebrities behaving badly doesn't necessarily reflect much on society as a whole because no matter what, you'll have people doing things they shouldn't. What does, however, reflect upon us as a society is that despite these childish antics we continue to fund the celebrities in question by purchasing their products, whether it be music or endorsed products.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  73. Canucks


    This is not a good sign, the freedom of speech is going way too far and people need to learn the difference between manners and abuse of freedom of speech. Regardsless of the freedom of speech manners should always be manners. It shows that people need some anger management courses to learn to think through before you speak especially in public. As for Kanye he is out of control. Clearly

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  74. Quantis Summers

    Don't blame the behavior of society on rich and famous people, that would as irresponsible as a person taking Jack's opinion as a sound logic or fact.

    These celebs are as human as you and I are and they have bad days and melt downs like the rest of us. Kanye was a jerk for what he did, but it is not and should not be front page, breaking news for a week.

    Who said that because you have an exceptional talent or a ton of fame that you have to be perfect and act a certain way?

    People are not coming down on Federer in the same way they are coming down on Serena and Kanye. It seems that if you are rich, famous and black in this country, you have to walk the straight line at all times otherwise some people wil try to destroy you and take away all that you have worked for. Sure people talked about Michael Phelps hitting the bong, but it was not this strong of a reaction.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  75. Adam. A

    No Jack it does not necessarily reflect on us other than to show that everyone is human. Everyone messes up, says something stupid, has a bad attitude sometimes, or gets pissed off, and only to escalate things with celebrities and politicians is the media attention they receive along with the extra pressure on their lives.

    My neighbor says "F*** You!" to the mailman and rest of the world doesnt care, but what if a senator or celebrity said that to someone? It would be a huge news story. I appreciate the attempt you are making at drawing some connections, but I think saying that they reflect on us is kind of silly. They are human, we are human, and the behavior is not surprising.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  76. jB san francisco

    In all honesty, Pete Stark's comment does not belong in the same category. He was responding to an equally crude question from a "teabagger" in the audience of a townhall. The others foisted their monstrous egos on people who were doing what they were supposed to be doing.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  77. Andre

    Dear Jack,
    Celebrities are supposed to be role models. If we follow their behavior it makes us lower than they are.
    Ridge NY

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  78. Kunal

    As my English teacher currently says, "Word Choice, Word Choice, Word Choice!" I know how important this is since if I don't watch my words I get a "C-" in class and on my papers (low grades never help grad school applications). Maybe, the president, house members, singers, and athletes all need to go back to an institution for higher education like High School or College.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  79. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    Yeah. In the age of information, our children are finally learning that the world is not Sesame Street in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. It's almost 2010. The future is here. Information is instant and global. We can't shield them from the way the world works anymore.

    History has proven societies tend to be more violent, stressed, and short-fused during hard economic times, even in financially-solvent people.

    All people are rude at one time or another. What we should teach our children is the importance of common courtesy and the notion "there's a time and a place for everything".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  80. ubong

    I believe true morals are dead. And all people do(even if they believe in it or not) is just to seek approval of the next man. Under extreme condtions of pressure or emotions, then only do you see the animal in man as much as you'll know what they really stand for.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  81. Tim Johnson

    Tim from Denver:
    See, the problem is we in America try to create this false persona that celebs and prominent personalities are super clean and perfect people. Americans are slowly losing touch with the reality of who we truly are. Animals. And thats the instinct that drives us at the end of the day.

    Let us stop pretending and acknowledge the fact that we really are human.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  82. Paul

    Reguardless of how un-professional these sports figures act, and "un civily ' our elected officials act. Our children are still "a product of the enviromnt they are brought up in " Respect is a learned behavior and it has to start at home !

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  83. Doris

    How can the youth of today respect anyone when the very people they're always watching (entertainment idols, government officials and sports pros) are obviously displaying their lack of respect rather proudly. They must of learned it somewhere.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  84. John

    Americans are boorish. We like throwing our weight around

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  85. Joelli

    I dont think is a big deal for celebrity to behave like that if a congessman shouted " You Lie " to the congess meeting to he president of United State of America and a lot of people praised his action.
    Now kids are going to shout to their parents " Dad You a Big Lier" and throw thing like plates away.
    We need to flip the coin to another side as well.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  86. Dave in Houston

    Celebrities behaving badly tells us that mom, dad, grandmom, grandad, schools, churches, indeed all of society has failed to teach the basic lessons of civilized society. Breaking the rules used to bring an instant "correction." Soft punishment and political correctness have forgotten the common good which was the reason for civilized society.

    Sad days for humankind......

    September 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  87. Alexander A.

    Good afternoon Mr. Cafferty,

    Not necessarily ! We cannot make such judgment based on acts of a few bad apples.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  88. Bea

    These incidents by celebrities (West & Williams) and public servants (Wilson) speak volumes about what Americans deem "acceptable" behavior. There is no respect for the rules, etiquette, or just common decency. Oh and by the way, saying "sorry" is just a cop-out. Let's all just do what we want, and then say "Oops, Sorry"! Wake up America – the world is watching!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  89. Adrienne

    From Syracuse, NY

    It's not the acts of the celebrities, but how the public responds to them. It is the backlash faced by Serena Williams and Kanye West from the media, the public and even the president that says something about the rest of us.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  90. PETER

    Yes it says that some of us wern't brought up to respect our peers. Kanye West is a selfish fool. He made a fool of him self by disgracing Taylor Swift and i hope it ruins his career!

    Peter NY

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  91. Noah Stanton

    Hey, if the politicians want to shout out in congress and disrespect obama let them. It will help us make better choices for next time we vote.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  92. Nathaniel

    I would take issue with including Representative Stark's comment to a constituent in this list. if you listened to the question that preceded his comment, the constituent, after a long rambling full of Glenn Beck style uneducated false "facts" told the congressman "not to piss on my leg and say it is raining", the Congressman appropriately used the constituents' metaphor to respond appropriately to the dribble he and others in the room were exposed to. This was not Joe Wilson-angry-dumb-redneck rhetoric. It was sharp wit appropriate for the occasion... and very funny. I didn't laugh when the others in your list did their infractions. I only felt shame for them.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  93. Marsha Scott

    That we would excuse and/or accept this public display of classlessness says we don't care about much of anything. Over time our country has become extremely casual, with dress and with manners (or lack of manners). Has the invisibility of the internet allowed us this freedom? Or do parents, educators, etc. not demand respect? Or does the money these celebrities are paid make them immune or do they think they are above all aspects of honorable and decent behaviors? Sick of it !!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  94. Adrian

    Jack you have a valid point about celebrities acting badly. It's like a bunch of kids in grown up bodies…and what's even worse is that some are in high positions that make decisions for this country! We have let drama take over reason and acting civil. Bottom line: We have let dysfunction run wild.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  95. Charlene

    In my opinion which has been for a while, people shouldn't look up to one of these stars as role models because the only way they are known is because of popularity with singing/dancing/acting. As everyone sees now, they are people just like all of us, and we can see that a person does very stupid things sometimes, as what is the talk on the street these days with Kayne.

    Yes, I understand people look up to these people, but look , as said little kids, teen...etc will follow in their footsteps. Celebrities acting up tells us we should be as rude and obnoxious as they are.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  96. Kicking Horse

    How politicians act while in public service and the behavior of celebrities are not as closely related as you make them seem. Comparing the asinine actions of Kanye West and the asinine actions of Joe Wilson are worlds apart. Joe Wilson publicly assaulted the highest office in the world as the whole world was watching. Celebrities are not elected officials and, lacking such, are not appointed representatives of the American public. Barring illegal activities–Kanye West, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and other celebrities are entertainers and sports figures whom, while looking up to them, we expect at the very least to merely perform.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  97. Melissa

    Jack, it says that society continually makes a simple mistake on a consistent basis. Society continually gives celebrities an opening to behave badly; why else would any publicity be good publicity? Kanye West's actions were a publicity stunt and we the public gobble it up. We love this stuff Jack! We can't get enough of it!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  98. Charlie Edwards

    Jack, I love what you do and the questions you ask. I suspect Serena Williams was abaolutely correct to be as angry as she was. Somemore racisim I suspect. My question is what do the athletes do when they get the shaft.

    I quit watching professional football more than twenty years ago because of incompetent officials.

    It is terrible and there is a lot of truth in your comments but there are times when one must stand up for one's self.
    Mesquite, NV

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  99. Irv in Arizona

    Our sick society grants celebrities license to speak and act out their basest impulses. It's all part of the unstoppable decline of America

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  100. Jimmy Combs

    Hey, this is the climate that you liberals have fought for, and what you believe in! And its only going to get worse. Openly gay activity thrown all over television, idiot shows like Jon and Kate Plus 8 and The Kardashians with their absolutely stupid displays of bisexuality and language that only a few years ago, would have gotten a show removed from broadcast! You only have yourselves to blame. This country is a joke.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  101. Carolyn, Missouri

    Not only are celebrities and politicians acting badly, the rest of the public is, too. My son worked for a while at a fast food chain and I was appalled at the stories he told me about the rude, crude and totally out of line people he had to talk to in the drive-thru. Though he was always courteous, they would call him names that would make a sailor blush, for no apparent reason other than they were having a bad day and wanted to inflict the pain on others. After he had quit, he saw one of the worst offenders at the grocery store and he told me it was all he could do not to follow the man home and egg his house. And we're supposed to be living in a highly "Christian" area of the country who prides themselves on their courtesy. They should have to do his job for 1 hour and then see how they treat others.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  102. dn

    I am so happy that you brought this issue up. I definetly believe this contribute to a lower moral charachter society. Its dead wrong and there is really not any excuse for what Kanye West did to the poor girl who was suppose to have a happy moment. His appologizes feels empty and ridiciolous. Same thing for the senator whom shouted out at the president – What is that? Show some respect and decensy for heavens sake. /dn

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  103. Esther somewhere over the rainbow Ohio

    all of us are behaving badly tells me my country has Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. Tells me we are Manic Depressives. Tells me we need a psychological evaluation. Tells me that we are not the nation we once were. Use to be that that kind of stuff was not tolerated by anyone. too dam politcally correct too the pendulum has swung over to the other side too far and we are hateful to each other. The Pharmically lobby has us right where they want us SICK IN THE HEAD.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  104. Brandi Jasmine

    Jack I usually love you but on what planet is Kanye West anyone's "role model"? This is a guy whose lyrics are peppered with cussing, violence and the "n" word, right? Being famous doesn't make you a role model. It just means a lot of people know your name.

    Brandi Jasmine
    Niagara Falls Ontario

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  105. Yasmin

    It's disappointing seeing people act in such manners when they are on public television in front of many different audiences. On the Kanye West issue, Kanye is known for creating such ridiculous comments for attention, he did that in 2006 and he did it once again. Why you may ask? He's a sore loser. Since he or whoever he wanted to win [Beyonce] lost he decides to ruin the winner's moment [Taylor Swift]. I personally do not ever want to support someone like Kanye because it's quite obvious that fame has gotten to him and that it's gotten to a point where he's acting like he's in kindergarten, making stupid comments and being the school bully because he is so insecure on the inside. I never ever want to see such a comment towards someone else like this ever happening again.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  106. Maria

    Well, to invoke new age philosophy, it just so happens that the planet Mercury is in retrograde; that means that all forms of communication are twisted, and mis- communication is very common and frequent. Mercury dominates communication. Everything communication will go haywire. Retrograde period: September 7th, before Wilson's outburst, all the way to September 29th. Everyone should avoid all forms of verbal conflict. There are still two and a half weeks left to go! Oh boy!-

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  107. Cassie

    Everyday I watch my partner struggling to survive pancreatic cancer. I am so tired of seeing people who do not get it. You are small and insignificant in the scheme of this world. Be grateful for being alive today and strive to do something good for someone else. You are no bigger than the person that stands next to you.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  108. Tom Clark

    The celebrities behave badly because they watched too much television. The writers and producers of sitcoms over the last 20 to 30 years deserve almost the entire blame for the resultant disrespect shown by today's young people. "The Cosby Show" good; "South Park" bad.

    Tom Clark, Tokyo, Japan

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  109. Josh

    A few mild outbursts from a handful of people in high-stress environments tell us absolutely nothing about society. Serena, Federer, Wilson and the rest do not have a significant impact on the politeness of youth, no matter how many media outlets make that wildly exaggerated claim.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  110. Hadayai Majeed

    We have lost our collective grace and good common sense. Kanye West deserves to be taken to the wood shed. Serena needs to be fined and finded again! Congressman Wilson is getting his in spades (no pun intended), Federer needs to take a break from tennis, his endorsements and a portion of his salary and Tiger needs some of the same. We do not let a two year old get away with tantrums neither should any of them.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  111. Carol Sanger

    It is a gauge to how far we, as a society, have sunk into a mire of incivility. Everytime it seems we can go no lower, some cretin with 15 minutes of "fame" finds a new shovel. Worse, the only effect seems to be to extend their so-called celebrity. Nauseating is what it is.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  112. Jon / New York

    Yes, it does. Our society has no one to look up to, and disrepect has become rampant. Too many people in positions of authority continue to fail us - our teachers, cops, spiritual leaders, and now even our President, who cares way too much about his own re-election in 2012 and way too little about our country.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  113. jim ketchum, port huron, michigan

    When I was 12 years old, my mother asked me to do something, and I stuck out my lower lip at her in defiance. The next thing I remember was my father's large hand landing repeatedly on my backside, teaching me some respect. These clowns missed a good spanking at some point in their lives. They represent a "me" generation out of control with no understanding of what civility or good manners is. Our kids need good role models. This batch of idiot celebrities is not it.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  114. Ginger Correll

    Kanye and Wilson . . . . who is worse?
    The lack of civility in politics spills into our communities, schools, and events. How can people who claim to care about the financial future of their kids care so little about the examples they set for their kids? The Republicans in the House just missed a great opportunity to prove that they don't support the kind of rudeness displayed by Wilson. What is the difference between Kanye and Wilson? Wilson is worse because he is an elected official and has shamed his constituents.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  115. Bill - Bristow, VA

    Sure it does – it tells us that several generations have grown up here without proper parental guidance. When I was a kid (a time that my sons refer to as the Civil War era), parents involved themselves with their children's lives and provided them guidance- kids today (and for many yesterdays) are passed off to nannies, day care, and endless after school activities – where their only role models are what they see on TV and in video games. One of the things I was taught by my parents was that words are like bullets – once you fire them off, you can't call them back.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  116. djsmith ukiah ca

    Celebrities like K West drinking liquor by the slug straight from the bottle are arrogant pigs. Others of the class have crossed outside the boundaries of discipline and good conduct without the swill. It's all relevant to society going uncivilized. There are lots of barbarians out there, with more coming every day.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  117. Buzz

    This is evident of today's young self-centered demeanor. Too much fame and money way too fast. All that power without an ounce of sacrifice, experience and some may say talent. Kayne West was the first to forgive Chris Brown, as if it was up to him, for beating Rihanna. Everything and everybody attached to him will suffer for his outrageous stupidity and vanity. Run Rihanna and run fast.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  118. george

    yes and no jack..........if anything it tells us something about rich poular people who in the end dont realy have what it takes. of all the people you mentioned mr. west as of a day ago fits this descrption to a T.
    kanye west never being heard from again couldent come quick enough.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  119. Vickey

    I believe Serena should be suspended from playing for at least 6 months. Three months won't do anything since she only plays the majors basically. If she is allowed to play the Australian open we might as well just tell the world tennis is not a legit sport. The volunteers are just that, volunteers, and should in no way be demoralized by anyone including an athlete who we pay hundreds or dollars to watch. I hate to think the only way to get the point across is to stop paying the outrageous prices to watch. I for one, boycotted the finals and for the first time ever was cheering for a team who was not American. Hate that I feel like that, but as Serena says "It is what it is".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  120. Anthony

    Hi Jack!

    All the ill behavior this last week should remind us that we all only human beings. The fact that you can play, act, sing, or talk, or even lead doesn't make you super-human or divine; and none of these talents should be an invitation to inspect and judge. We could get a great deal accomplished if we could only allow for our human frailties in others.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  121. John in Texas

    In a word, YES, it does. It says some of us have decided that 'Freedom of Speech' goes beyond personal responsibily. It says 'Self-Justification' is really self-entitlement and all the rules of civility are to be ignored. It is saddening and sobering.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  122. Tera

    Isn't it obvious, Jack? In the past, every idiot celebrity's next step after a public faux pas is drug rehab. So who's up next? Kanye, Serena, Wilson or Tiger? Disappear into a 6 or 8 week program and your childish, erratic behavior will be forgotten!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  123. Matt, Washington DC

    It just says that it doesn't matter if you're a Celebrity, Female, Spanish or just the "average" Joe. (no pun intended)

    "Ignorance Has No Prejudice."

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  124. Jean Richards

    The President speech to children was considered wrong, when all he wanted to do was to encourage children to be respectful to self and others and stay in school, but Joe Wilson
    have a different message for the children," If you don't like what your peers and people in authority say, resort to name calling and obscenities".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  125. Terri Williams

    Our country is in chaos right now, and I fear it will get worse until the economy improves. We are seeing people lose their tempers more, especially in long lines, at the grocery store, etc. However, where rock stars are concerned, their is no excuse for rudeness. They do not have financial concerns as the millions of people who are on unemployment. Mesquite, Texas

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  126. Nick

    Yes Jack, It says that some of us were not raised by the same kind of parents that I was. My father would have kicked my spoiled little "you know what" twice. Once on the way home and then again when we got there. As a matter of fact he did, and I am a better person because of it! My kids have not been spared the lessons of "How to act in Public".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  127. Ryan - columbus ohio

    Celebrities are the types of people the ordinary person aspires to be. If acting idiotically in public is the new thing to do for celebrities then I may as well jump on the bandwagon just to have the excuse of "kanye did it first"

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  128. RC

    Celebrities are people just like anybody else. We ALL as a society are getting coarser and ruder than I can ever remember. Look at the town hall meetings - big mouths and little brains in action. They shout down anyone's opinion if it doesn't agree with our own. That's not how they were conducted before. When anyone spoke everyone listened even if we didn't agree. They weren't shouted down and called stupid or unAmerican. We seem to be getting wackier too. The lunatic fringe (birthers, especially) have derailed many town hall meetings with their rude and crazy accusations of the President despite concrete evidence that proves them wrong. The vast majority of people agree with me.

    Just look at the results of an ongoing poll on CNN:
    Is society in general becoming less civil?
    Yes 90% 143566
    No 10% 15172
    Total Votes: 158738

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  129. Izzy

    You are exactly right Jack, everyone wants respect but no one is willing to give it. Im sure we are all making our moms very proud, the behaviors are inexusable, whether its a politician, musician, or sportsman... The problem is running rampid and has spun out of control. Dont have a solution though, I wish I did...

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  130. Stanley, Houston, TX

    It should serve as an example for all of us on what not to do. But we have to remember, these are pampered, egotistical "celebrities" who have let their status, fame and fortune get to their head. So much for "common" decency.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  131. Chris Nunn

    Well Jack from way up here in the frozen North it looks kinda funny .. Could someone explain how the politcian is a racist and a terrible person,whereas the celebs that yell at white refs and steal microphone' from pretty white girls are not racist. Kinda sounds like some black people are trying hard tto start a race war. And come on we all know Americans don't win wars.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  132. Anthony

    No, it just reflects on the indivual confirming that celebrity is a false image and does not equal gracefulness.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  133. Andrew M

    Respect is earned, not given. People put these celebrities on a pedestal for doing nothing that truly benefits society and it's ridiculous... they don't deserve any of our respect until they demonstrate that they've earned it.

    -Eugene, OR

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  134. Kelsey in OKC

    Celebrities, politicians, athletes, police, teachers, parents...it's a sad day when teenagers are the most respectful group of citizens. Something in the water? Something cosmic? Rodney Dangerfield ahead of his time? Whatever it is, it is humiliating to recognize the truly Ugly Americans we've become.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  135. Noah

    Yeah Jack, it tell something about us. It tells us that we don't have enough consequences for people's bad behavior. Kanye can say whatever he wants, people will still buy his albums. Wilson can yell, and still get elected. Serena can threaten, but still be allowed to play. Until society stops tolerating this ridiculous behavior, we'll have to live with it.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  136. Louise Richardson

    Maybe we are all getting worse. I myself have been rude recently. However, I think there is a whole other level of incivility coming out of the Republican Party: heckling the President, shouting down a woman in a wheelchair when she quietly presented her problems with current healcare, plus creating and spreading rumors about death panels, etc. I propose a new simile: "Rude as a Republican".

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  137. sharon crayton

    Jack, it says that we are willing to overlook bad behavior in celebrities that we do not accept from our peers. We don't have to sense to send them a message as our congress did today to one of their own. We feel very removed from that world and act like what they do doesn't matter. It does. Our children are watching.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  138. Marge from Hibbing Minnesota

    I never thought that TV shows had an influence on youth today til I happened to catch one. The teen was rude, out of line and downright childish acting to their parents......I guess that's the way most teens do act or they wouldn't put it in the show.

    OUR parents taught us to have respect for people. I guess some people when they get a little extra bit of money it goes to their head also. You notice tho that everyone is the ME GENERATION AND YOU CAN GO TO HADES. Guess their parents didn't believe in discipline.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  139. ken

    Look at congress. It is called fredom of speech, if not freedom abused.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  140. Carol Hart

    All these high profile individuals acting badly in public say an awful lot about our society today. It seems we've forgotten how to be respectful to one another. Though it is certainly true that life presents frustrating moments and that at times we may passionately disagree with others, it is not a license to be disrespectful. Our grandparents must be rolling over in their graves.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  141. John Hart

    Good Afternoon Jack,
    I believe that it says a lot about us as a society. We have let common courtesy, mutual respect, and any sense of decency, go by the wayside. It is no wonder that morals and family values have slipped by the wayside as well. Why wouldn't the celebrities conduct themselves like animals? We're not going to do anything about it anyway, and guess what? We are still going to watch them play, sing, dance, and yes...sit in Congress. As long as there is tolerance for this behavior and conduct, without consequence; why act like a law abiding, respectful, morally obligated "human being". It's time that people are held accountable for thier behavior and actions, and we as a society should stop supporting them.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  142. Justin Roane

    And yes, it does say something about us. It's a direct mirror image of the way we feel – stressed, confused, angry.

    I can't speak for America in general, but I can speak for myself, and the current political, economic, and military climates have most DEFINITELY affected the length of my fuse. Anger and I are pretty good friends these days.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  143. Michael

    I really don't think there's too much difference between some celebrities and some regular people when they experience extreme frustration. Some people throw tantrums while others exercise poise. The real difference now is that people (celebrities or town hall screamers), either because of ratings or a sense of power or a need to be heard, think it's OK to raise their voices instead of their manners. And this is only magnified when everything has the potential to be televised, twittered, youtubed, and Facebooked.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  144. Alex, Escondido, Ca

    Jack, Once upon a time people who behaved like Kanye West, Joe Wilson, and Pete Stark would have been shunned from society. Now instead they are celebrated. Pro forma faux apologies are automatically given but no one believes them. In an era of any publicity is good publicity their behavior is rewarded. Until we as a society impose negative consequences for such behavior it will continue. I find it difficult as a parent to teach my daughter that actions have consequences when she sees that they do not for so-called role models and leaders.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  145. Ryan Benjamin

    Good day Mr Cafferty,

    It´s not surprising that Americans are shocked at the behaviour of their celebrities recently because the rest of the world are way ahead morally. Interupting the President, drinking on the red carpet, talking down to citizens who want information, swearing at linesman/woman, acting foolishly on international TV and worse of all, KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE!!! It makes you wonder why anyone would look up to any american??? Sermerica, please be the world leaders everyone expects from you!

    Kind Regards, South Africa.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  146. Frances

    No, I don't believe their bad behavior speaks for most of us. The people I know are civil to one another, and they agree to disagree politely. I honestly think, though, that if a camera followed us around 24/7, and we were under the pressure of maintaining fortunes not only for ourselves, but for an army of employees, any one of us might slip once or twice in a lifetime.

    At this point, I feel a little sorry for Kanye West. He was acting in the character of a rapper, onstage, putting on a show. He seems truly sorry he didn't consider Tayler Swift's feelings. Now even the president has called him a name. I hope Kanye really does take something positive away from this. And I hope our president, whom I voted for, learns to stop making public, subjective judgments of individuals, like entertainers and cops, who are not in the legislature. Doesn't he have better things to do?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  147. Steven

    We’ve become a nation of spoiled brats.
    Parents, schools, professional sports organization and society in general has to put back standards of behavior.

    Society only exists because of civil behavior. Without it, our nation is just going to sink futher.

    Without these standards were going to stop being a civil society and become a nation of animals.

    Steven – San Francisco

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  148. Bella Mondschein

    Yers, Yes, Yes..I was just emailing a friend about my almost first month of teaching and how unusually disrespectful the kids have been. I am 62 years old and I have a partial pension from New York. When I moved to Florida, I was not ready to retire, so I decided to give back as Obama says and teach high school down here. I was just telling my friend that I am giving a 30 day notice as of tomorrow.

    I just had a parent yell at me over the phone, that her son does not get along with me and she is coming in tomorrow to get him out of my class, and I had better learn my students' names. I totally feel that the all of this anger in the nation is filtering down to the students and I do not want to be a punching bag anymore.
    Bella Mondschein
    Hollywood, Florida

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  149. Kelly

    Yes, this does say something about the rest of us. The fact that Kanya West's blowhard opinion on who has the best video at the VMA awards makes every news and talk show numerous times jsut shows the real intelligence and caring priorities of the population. Who cares? Stop playing and continuing this pointless drivel when there are greater issues facing our country. Best video or best healthcare plan. Which is more likely to affect me?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  150. Elise

    The behavior of celebrities does not necessarily tell us something about the rest of us, but how we react to that behavior certainly does. Congressman Wilson's outburst during a joint session of Congress says a lot less about the rest of us than the support he gained and lost after that incident.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  151. Virgil Cottongim

    Yes, it's called 'evolution,' taking our eyes off those in power or of celebrity status...
    Dumbing down education, electing/retaining crooks in power.
    These people feel immune to prosecution, couldn't care less what we think.
    The Kenyan in the White House is trying to ruin the country...
    Just like the Roman Empire, we shall also fall because of it...

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  152. Jon

    Of course it does, the US is one of the most voyeristic societies in the world. It's a well known fact that we learn how to act watcing those before us and every generation of American's has had a pop culture idol they tried to immitate. The problem seems to be that each year there are fewer an fewer people worth immitating and more and more that need a good hard dose of reality

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  153. raptor

    Seems that the more money these people get paid, the further they revert to infancy. I think we over pay our congress members, how many of us get paid to act like 2nd or 3rd graders. Just think these people are our leaders,uhhhh!!!

    Bismarck, Arkansas

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  154. Patricia/Georgia

    Yes, we have become a nation without any rules. People feel they have the right to say whatever they feel and do whatever they want and should not be criticized. They should have had the nuns like a lot of us had and they would know where to speak and when. The younger generation think it is cute if a child speaks up no matter who the person is. They think it is a sign of intelligence. Wrong,,,,it is a sign that you did not discipline your child or teach them manners.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  155. Karen


    We love to watch celebrities do and say outrageous things, and then we love to profess our outrage. Meanwhile, these celebrities get more famous than ever and make more money than ever. You know, Jack, that asking this question will get us all clammoring to comment and throw in our two cents. Shame on you and shame on me too.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  156. Bella Mondschein

    We are past the economic meltdown, now it is an emotional meltdown!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  157. Frank BonTempo

    who us ? the ugly American . Loud , Pushy , and very opinionated.....and this is not just about celebrities. A little common courtesy from a lot of powerful and regular people could go a long way. This has been going on for quite a while now..... think before speaking. Aren't we actually equal in reality?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  158. Dean (San Diego)

    Celebrity behavior has nothing to do with the American public. As far as I'm concerned, Hollywood drama can stay in Hollywood.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  159. Joan in Canada

    I firmly believe that the Republican's began this abysmal attitude now being demonstrated by both Politicians and Celebraties.

    The actions of the Republoican party does not show any respect for people's views. If the GOP disagrees with policies they use fear and aggression to basically get their own way. Unfortunately, this is teaching our youth to do the same thing.

    Adults are supposed to show the youth of today how to act respectfully and how to listen to other people's opinions without losing one's temper. We all can disagree but we also should discuss and come to an amicable conclusion.

    Unfortunately, the GOP party does not understand the word amicable nor do they understand the word "discuss" They only know the words "I want it my way or no way!!"

    Wake up America before it is too late.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  160. Skye, Eastern OR

    Yes, it definitely says something about the rest of us, and Jack–I think we all need to consider mass media's role in this. We're raising a generation of kids on scream & yell media, from music TV to the likes of Maury Povich to the baloney on many cable news shows. CNN does a bit better job at fairness than others, but the media might take a good look at the price our country pays for their short-term ratings goals. It's no different than Wall Street not caring about the financial health of the nation when it games everyone for short term earnings. Cable TV in particular needs to own its piece of this shift in national behavior. So what do you think mass media can do to effect positive change? Personally, I wouldn't miss the scream & yell programs one bit.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  161. Lonnie

    Well celebtities and sports players do not seem to be held to the same standards as the rest of us. Example, if i had a fellony charge for electricuting dogs and fighting them i would still be in prison not have a 5 million dollar a year salary. I have recently been layed off and all the applications i have filled out ask if i've had a fellony charge.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  162. Rick O

    They sure do Jack and it truly is setting a negative tone with our youth and our society as a whole. It also doesn't help that parents refuse to be parents.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  163. Jon in Denver

    What all of this boils down to is the venting of anger, it's as simple as that. What it says about our society is that the majority of people take into their senses too many things that spawn and foster anger. Violent films, TV shows, video games, music, etc. People don't realize how much taking these negative "mediums" into their brains is affecting their behavior. The fact that Kanye West is a hip-hop artist should tell you someting - and I wouldn't be surprised if Serena Williams listens to the "brain candy" that West his colleauges produce. You rarely see people who watch PBS and listen to Mozart behaving like these clowns.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  164. Susan from Long Island

    Celebrities behaving badly says a whole lot about us for we are the ones that made them the celebrities in the first place…which means that a good majority of us have little class and are just not that bright!! Oh and by the way this is the same majority that elects our government officials also some not too bright and of little class!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  165. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's comment is:

    We are as a society slipping away, each year we have more and more
    people in different levels of power saying and doing things that most
    of us would never think of doing or saying, really bad things.

    I say to all that live in positions of power or celebrities in positions of
    power should be held accountable by the people that manage them
    or the people that put them in their place of power, or those that pay
    their salarys to stop paying or placing them in power. Most of us are
    held accountable for our actions and so should celebrities and people
    in power.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  166. CDE Blake

    Jack - some things are so egregious that an apoligy is not sufficient. Comes to mind . . . death by drunk driver, murder, child molestation, drug sellers, poor and bad behaviour by celebrities, smart mouth teens, politicians, media people, Madoffs and others too numerous to name - who gain our attention - cannot lessen our disgust, our loss, our fear with their feeble, "Sorry" gestures. What the hell ever happened to decorum and forehought? An inch wide neon purple stripe that glows in the dark, tattooed from nose to chin, gets my vote. Put a lot of tatooers to work, too.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  167. Susan Hash

    I feel things are way out of hand. Our children see celebrities, politicians, sports figures and other irresponsible adults acting like idoits and they think "this is cool", but it's not. There is a difference in standing up for what is right and just being a bully because you can. When socieity can even show respect for the president of the United States, how do we expect the world to. What happened during the president's speech last week was uncalled for. There is the right place and right time to express you thoughts and feelings and believe me it was not then. Just like what happened to Taylor Swift. Yes he apoligized, but the damage is already done, you can't take it back. How do you expect parents, churches and schools to teach morals and respect when the other responsible adults are setting such a bad example. Let's face it the children are going to most likely identify with the rebels because that is where they are at in their array of hormonal confusion.

    We need to stand up for what is right. If you behave badly there should be natural conquences, not rewards. Yes I will boycott West's records, ects and I will call for the resignation of the senator who so most blantly disrupted the president and our nation.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  168. Rina from San Diego

    This is irony Jack. I just got back from a vacation In Dana Pt and my husband, toddler, and I had lunch in Laguna and stopped to take some pictures in a PUBLIC park. A Laguna woman and her husband stepped in our picture and after then proceeded say that WE were the ones who felt "entitled" because WE didn't live there. Neither money nor fame "entitles" people to act badly. Grow up people – my two year old has better manners than two adults who live in Laguna – because HER mother teaches her manners.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  169. Jim, Nicholson, PA

    Apparently there's been a misunderstanding of our countrys' founders. When they said they wanted a classless society they meant having no classes, not no class. I don't know how this, or any culture can collectively climb back out of the gutter of crudeness, selfishness and disrespectfullness, once it has slipped down into it. Maybe this is what happens when cultures grow old and and die, having collapsed under the weight of its excesses and corruption. We could however try ostracizing any of the boors and jerks who offend us, and not reward their bad behavior. It'd be a start.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  170. Deedee

    It's NOT right to compare screaming at a chair umpire over a call with screaming personal physical threats to a linesperson. It's a huge disservice to McEnroe to show clips of him "doing essentially the same thing" to quote your on-air talent... John McEnroe never threatened a linesperson in his entire career... what a ridiculous and unfair comparison!

    When we stop demanding respectful behavior, we get something less. People pretty much live up to the expectations placed upon them and Americans aren't allowed to demand good behavior anymore... doing so even behind closed doors can result in social services carting off your kids... things have been going downhill ever since spanking was virtually outlawed in this country... just sayin`!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  171. Diane, Quebec City

    These people are narcissistic freaks! Jack, you're giving them exactly what they want: attention! Peeing on their legs would be a waste of urine!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  172. Lucy

    For the record, this "rudeness" really is profoundly American. I just came back from Germany, everyone looks everyone in the eye, and is truly truly polite. At least in Munich.
    SF, CA

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  173. Susan from Long Island

    Celebrities behaving badly says a whole lot about us for we are the ones that made the celebrities in the first place…which means that a good majority of us have little class and are just not that bright!! Oh and by the way this is the same majority that elects our government officials also some not too bright and of little class!!

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    House act on congressman who called pres. a liar?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  174. Jason from Hollywood CA

    I think it's great, we need to know how we are acting and being received globally. All of the hubbub and outrage will cause a change. If there's one thing I've learned since January – I like change.

    Kanye, Serena, Wilson, Federer; these are our new reverse role models on how not to act. I will say that at least Serena and Federer have actual ability unlike the repeated offender Mr. West. This is his third strike and should be stripped of his celebrity, the only reason i know him is from his tired outbursts. Sinhead O'Connor had his problem and where is she now?

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  175. Scott from Phoenix

    simple solution, turn off the TV and stop paying attention to the overpaid undertalented people that call themselves celeBRATies. I have no idea who either of these performers are and do not wish to know but clearly neither has much talent ( I caught the Swift girl on TV this morning and was less than underwhelmed)

    Oh well more publiicity for them both, they are making $$$ off our appetite for what passes as news.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  176. Nancy

    People seem to have lost civility and respect toward others. Calling the president a lier is way over the top. I enjoy your segments on the Situation Room.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  177. Renee

    Overblown ego maniacs and dirty, self satisfying politicians.. both are convinced they are entitled to behave any way they want to with no thought to their accountability or consequence of their actions
    This is what happens when the extreme is handed to idiots, either by the casting couch or by misguided voters.
    Vote them out or boycott their productions.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  178. Steve

    If the press quits giving people who behave poorly air time they will stop behaving like children. And with the current situation in this country what makes congress believe they can admonish anyone for poor behavior. It is time for that particular group of folks to sit down and remember that they work for the american people as a whole regardless of politics.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  179. Whitney

    Celebrities and politicians behaving badly should most certainly bring a call to every parent out there. You can't censor everything, but when instances like this occur it's up to you as a mother or father to explain why it was wrong. Lead by example. Take this oppurtunity to do what their parents obviously didn't and teach your children manners and the "Golden Rule". Maybe they'll grow up not to make the same mistake these public figures have.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  180. John Griffin Carlsbad, CA

    It speaks volumes about us, I personally could care less about celeberties, I watch very little TV and go to the movies about once a year. I have a life with my wife & kids, we do a ton of stuff together. They are my celeberties!!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  181. Justin

    How can "the rest of us" even possibly relate to a group of people who make money off of the consumption of the socially conditioned?

    Look, these people are paid to do exactly what was witnessed here. They're paid to make you keep watching; to keep coming back. Kayne succeeded in that department with his drunken display of arrogance and lack of respect for a women who he deemed "less a celebrity than he".

    Want this to go away? Then stop watching this crap!

    September 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm |