George Will starts out this stupid stupid column by saying "let's be good cosmopolitans and offer sociological explanations rather than moral judgments..." and then offers up moral judgements in the guise of sociological explanations. Tricky.
A numbered list of the problems I have with the column:
1. He argues that having rules simply for the sake of having rules is a good thing, instead of a totally arbitrary constraint on entirely value-neutral forms of culture.
2. Turns out that one specific form of culture that is destroying politeness is black culture. How convenient for Will that he happens to be white and catholic and rich. Also, he puts scare-quotes around "street" and "gangsta" and "edgy." George, just because you have no idea what those concepts are doesn't mean the concepts don't exist.
3. Using the iPod as an explanation for any (non-musical) cultural trend is so two-years-ago. He needs to go read Steven Johnson.
I think the (supposed) decline of manners might have more to do with a growing realization that moralists like George Will are full of crap.