Applause at graduation signals approaching apocalypse

The celestial calendar tells us today is the first day of summer but we really don’t need it to know that spring is giving way to a new season; we just have to keep an eye peeled for the complaints about applause at commencement ceremonies.

The Applause Equinox has arrived with this complaint today in the Star Tribune from James Brandt of New Brighton, who sees deeper symbolism in parents who are ecstatic over the accomplishments of their kids:

Recently, I attended my daughter’s high school graduation. As is often the case, the principal asked the families to hold their applause until after all of the graduates’ names were called.

He explained that applauding each graduate is inconsiderate to the other families who may not be able to hear their graduates’ names called. About half of the families ignored the request and loudly and obnoxiously yelled, shouted, hooted and hollered for their graduates.

They were sending a signal to the school administration and to the other families that they could simply not care less about behaving as the principal had requested.

This seems like a small thing. It isn’t breaking the law or physically hurting someone. Nevertheless, I think this type of poor behavior and disrespect for authority figures bodes ill for our society. When people don’t behave properly with regard to small rules, they also tend to ignore more important ones.

Nowadays, authority figures tend to overlook such infractions. They want to be tolerant and inclusive. But it seems to me that the standards of behavior are lower than they were in the past and that tolerating such bad behavior simply leads to worse behavior.