Jeremy, I think you are unjustifiably harsh and uncharacteristically impolite. Too bad.
I also think that at such high level of generalization and abstraction, both sides could claim they are right, just like in the debates whether equipment matters. Generalizations require context to be understood properly.
However, it is perfectly human to lament the demise of something specific, like civility, in isolation
from the grand scheme of things. And that is what Rob and Russ are doing, and I can totally identify with that. In other words, allow us to lament something without the immediate need to excuse our "weakness" by admitting that, say, life expectancy today is better than yesterday, or that there is a vaccine for polio.
I lament the demise of newspapers, for instance, although I can not remember when was the last time I took one in my hands, let alone paid for one (probably when I am on the plane, as they give them for free, hehe). I lament the times when my day would start with a newspaper and coffee. The paper I used to read was my trusted source, journalists working there were the best in their profession, building reputation carefully and steadily over the years. You could say: "i know it is true, I read it in..." and people would agree. I get my news on the internet these days. I skim dozens of "news" sites within minutes, and barely read further than the headline or a few introductory paragraphs. TMI (too much information), too little knowledge (I know it must be there, but probably buried under gazillion of other sources). And if I dared to say today: "i know it is true, I read it on the internet", you also know most reasonable people would be ROTFL (at this point, allow me to lament the demise of eloquent writing too, while we resort to those awful acronyms).
I lament the time when sexuality, like other private matters, was indeed that, private, not "proudly" paraded on the streets, in the worst display of public debauchery and decadence since Roman orgies.
I can only admire Ken for his parental skills, but my teenage daughter, and her female classmates, swear like a drunken sailor. There is certainly some guilt of mine in that, but it is so hard to overcome the peer pressure, Internet, media, YouTube, etc., which are much more influential (and omnipresent) source of education these days than parents and schools, and which make it "cool" for girls to swear (or gang beat the crap out of other girls and post it on YouTube, proudly).
Taken in isolation, certain things were
better yesterday (just ask Stamper