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The Roundtable
WAMC will broadcast a special radio series that will take an in-depth look at civility in public discourse over three consecutive days, June 16th, 17th and 18th, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WAMC’s morning radio program, The Roundtable. This series will ask the questions: What is happening with civil discourse in America? Is incivility in government and in the public square becoming the new norm? Is a breakdown in communication threatening democracy? Are stalemates and political posturing standing in the way of achieving resolutions, problem solving, and finding common ground? Does civility matter? Are name calling and incivility just “sticks and stones” that are part of the process or does the process get hurt by them? Across the U.S., these questions are at the heart of the discussion about the current state of incivility in America, which has risen to crisis level.

Agreeing to Disagree - Mark Caldwell

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    The perceived breakdown of civility has in recent years become a national obsession, and our modern climate of boorishness has cultivated a host of etiquette watchdogs, like Miss Manners and Martha Stewart, who defend us against an onslaught of nastiness.  

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Touching on aspects of both our public and private lives, including work, family, and sex, literary and social critic and Professor of English at Fordham University, Mark Caldwell, has spent many years examining how the rules of behavior inevitably change and explains why, no matter how hard we try, we can never return to a golden era of civilized manners and mores. He is the author of the book: A Short History of Rudeness. He says, through his research, he has ultimately concluded – that this is all cyclical.

Agreeing to Disagree: Civility in Public Discourse is funded in part by MASS Humanities.

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