Death comes in threes, they say. The ongoing death of public civility also came in threes this past week, as loutish, churlish, boorish behavior reigned.

It started Wednesday, when Rep. Joe Wilson, R.-S.C., shouted out "You lie" at the president. Of. The. United. States.

On Saturday, tennis star Serena Williams shook her racquet and stalked toward a U.S. Open line judge, shouting, "I swear to God I'm gonna take this [bleeping] ball and shove it down your [bleeping] throat" after being called for a foot fault.

Then at Sunday's MTV Video Awards, hip-hop star Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for best video by a female artist. "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'm gonna let you finish," West barked after not letting her finish, "but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time."

Their mothers would be so proud.

West threw down the typical celebrity "I'm sorry to my fans if I let you down" non-apology, and really, after making a fool of himself in front of millions, are a few words on a blog sufficient? Wilson apologized in a hastily released press release last week, and Williams issued an apology Monday afternoon.

"I am glad that it still shocks us," said local etiquette consultant Angelyn Davis. We might be "at the end of a 50-year cycle in which people's tolerance for this kind of behavior is just about tapped."

At the very least, now that we've heard from our three little boors, can we put a hold on belligerent public behavior for at least a day or two?


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