A teenager plows into me as I walk through the mall, and keeps right on going without a look or a word of acknowledgement. A lady steps in front of me in the bookstore, and stands there blocking the section I was perusing. The cashier at a local burger joint can't even make eye contact or say "thanks." I have the sense that people are becoming less courteous, but I wonder whether this is necessarily true. There are a number of factors that might contribute to a false impression about this: *Selective memory - In the short term, do we tend to remember unusual experiences and generalize? So a guy who is rude to me today leads me to despair of modern manners, even though the other hundred polite people with whom I interacted are forgotten. *Selective media - I'm sure that "Leave it to Beaver" wasn't an accurate portrayal of society, but many people's impressions are based on mediated "memories." *Change in demographics - Perhaps young people have always been rude, but are now playing more active role in our culture now. * Others - ? And if courtesy IS on the decline are there societal reasons why?