Born: Circa 2000 BC.
Died: Jan. 10, 2012.
The latter is the date good manners in North Carolina officially perished, killed when some UNC Tar Heel fans and alumni thought it would be a hoot to rain boos down upon Gov. Bev Perdue as she stood at center court of the Dean Dome.
They cared not a whit that she was there for the most innocuous reason imaginable - to bestow the Order of the Long Leaf Pine upon longtime play-by-play announcer Woody Durham, who next to Dean Smith, may be the most beloved Heel.
Perdue, the former school teacher, should've taken that long leaf pine and switched their impolite fannies.
It's debatable whether the egregious etiquette breach by some uncouth fans led Perdue to shock the state later by announcing she wasn't going to seek re-election. But there's no doubt the incident has hastened the decline of decorum.
UNC alumni have the reputation of being classy fans - if you doubt it, just ask them - who know how to behave while strutting around the Dean Dome in their Carolina blue V-neck cardigans, pressed tan khakis and pre-scuffed Bass Weejuns.
It took them years, remember, to live down the appellation of "a cheese and wine crowd," with which they were tarred by a visiting player who must've been shocked that no one in the stands questioned his parentage each time he shot a free throw.
Being known as too polite, though, beats being known as crass and classless.
Oh sure, anyone with a hint of good breeding recoiled at news clips of First Lady Michelle Obama being booed at a NASCAR race at which she'd been invited to serve as a grand marshal last year. But, c'mon, that's NASCAR. At an event where the unofficial motto seems to be "if you ain't rowdy, you ain't drankin' enough," what can you expect?
For goodness' sake, though: Even the mafia declares women and civilians off limits to attack. When Rush Limbaugh tried to defend the NASCAR fans, he said Mrs. Obama deserved it because she and her husband are "uppity." I swear, he said uppity.
A case could be made that many of the people who booed the governor did so for the same reason: How dare she, a - egads! - woman, think she can run a state?
A cynical public
UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp - he was booed at the same event - never returned any of my calls or written questions asking about the boobish behavior, but I asked Andy Taylor, a professor at N.C. State University, if booing a pol at a non-political event was a new low or the new norm.
"We do live in a time when politicians need a thick skin. The public is extremely cynical and upset with the way things are going," he said. "We've seen eras like this before, when there were fights on the House floor and newspapers printed the most awful things" about politicians who were not in their favor.
"But the country is very polarized right now, with people thinking in very tribal terms, Us vs. Them," Taylor said.
There was a period, he added, right after World War II, when it seemed "gentlemanly discourse" prevailed and certain rules of political propriety were observed. "Of course, that was an era when there weren't that many women and minorities in politics."
Taylor, though, thinks the bad behavior "is not necessarily a bad thing. It is indicative of an activist populace that is very concerned with what is going on," he said.
Cool, but what about women pols? Shouldn't they be treated a bit differently, less harshly, especially when appearing at an ostensibly non-political event, I asked?
"It does grate on our sensibilities, not least because she is a woman," Taylor said of Bev's boo birds. "Many people believe there should also be some reverence for the office."
And for just plain old good breeding. If you don't like what a politician stands for, there'll be ample appropriate opportunities to make known your displeasure - like political rallies. Or the voting booth. Or in line at the Piggly Wiggly. But not at a basketball game. Oy.
Don't cry for Perdue though, Argentina. You don't have to be superstitious to think that she took a measure of satisfaction last week when the kid from Duke drained that 3-pointer at the buzzer to sink the Heels on the same court where she was so poorly treated.
I'm not saying the court has been affixed with a mojo, the Perdue Voodoo, that will kick in each time the Blue Devils come to town. But do Heels fans want to take that chance?
If not, they'd be well-advised to do what the wife of a not-too-distant Tar Heel football coach did at Kenan Stadium: burn incense and sprinkle goober dust on the court to remove any hoop hex.
Better yet, they could apologize to the governor. Now, that'd be classy.
That won't revive Perdue's political career, but it might bring good manners back to life.
The Dean Smith Center should be a de-politicized, demilitarized zone where Heel fans' boos are reserved for nearsighted referees and Coach K.
Reach Barry at 919-836-2811 or email@example.com