I think I am now officially old. I think this because I was horrified by this article, from HuffPo:
Movie theaters and entertainment venues have long banned the use of smartphones during performances.
But now one venue just outside Seattle is reversing that etiquette by welcoming cellphone and camera use in the theater, according to The New York Times.
With the newly constructed 2,000 seat theater set to open in 2014, the move is intended to attract younger audiences by cultivating a digital-friendly environment where people can update Facebook and send text messages and tweets throughout the performance.
Truly civilization is crashing down around us.
Personally I have always subscribed to George Carlin’s philosophy on this subject:
Many people don’t understand what a phone call should be. Ideally, a phone call is the brief exchange of a few vital pieces of information. … It should not be a two and a half hour harangue from your third cousin describing her mailman’s liposuction.
Yes, that ellipsis represents something that is very funny, but which I cannot quote on account of this being a family blog.
But my students sure have entirely different attitudes in this particular area. It seems like as soon as class ends the phones come out and they are instantly deep in conversation with someone or other. Or they’re texting away with an impressive level of manual dexterity. Walking across the quad it seems like everyone has a phone glued to his/her ear.
I recently had a discussion with one of my classes about cell phone use. They seemed surprised that I thought there was anything wrong with texting during class. They told me that many professors now state in their syllabus that texting during class is prohibited, but since I had not included such a clause they assumed I was OK with it. Frankly, it had never occurred to me that I needed to say such a thing explicitly. Looks like I’ll have to revise my syllabi for next term.
Recently I went to a movie. Someone’s cell phone went off. Was she embarrassed? Did she hastily fumble for her phone, apologizing for forgetting to turn it off? Certainly not! She not only took the call, she also said this: “Hello? … Hi! … Yeah … Yeah … I’m watching a movie.” You know, like she was watching the movie in her living room. Had it been a better movie, I probably would have reacted like this guy:
A man who apparently decided not to silence his cell phone at a movie theater last week was allegedly choked by another moviegoer who was angry over the disruption.
It happened Nov. 21 during the 5 p.m. showing of Tower Heist. The Seattle Police Department redacted the name of the theater in the incident report, but published reports indicate it happened at the Majestic Bay Theaters in Ballard.
According to the responding officer, the victim’s cell phone went off a couple of times near the end of the movie. He checked to see who called him, prompting the suspect who was seated in the same row to yell, “Shut it off.”
Minutes later, the phone rang again. The victim apparently said something to himself. The suspect allegedly said, “Better keep your mouth shut.”
At some point, the suspect left the theater twice, brushing past the victim’s legs.
When the suspect returned a second time, he allegedly walked past the victim then turned and grabbed the victim’s throat.
The victim told police it lasted for about 30 seconds and that he could not breathe.
Obviously I cannot condone violence in any but the most extreme circumstances, But am I the only one who has a problem thinking of the cell phone guy in this story as a “victim&rdquo?
Anyway, skipping ahead in the HuffPo article, it seems that some people, at least, are still talking sense:
Jane Moss, who heads up programming at the Lincoln Center is one artistic director who wants to hold on to that tradition.
Frustrated by digital addiction interrupting the way society experiences art, Moss created The White Light Festival, the classical music showcase designed to help free audiences from the distraction of technology.
“Somebody is going to have to explain to me why you go into a performance at 8 and the first half is over in 45 minutes and you have to check your cellphone again,” Moss told The Huffington Post’s Amy Lee last month. “People are less skilled at sitting through a Beethoven symphony with their attention completely on it.”
Amen. I tell ya, it’s these kids today. No respect at all…