21 Jun Texting while watching a movie?
OK – I will date myself by saying that when I was a teenager and went to the movies, I was actually interested in what was showing on the big screen in front of me. The only distraction I might have enjoyed was the popcorn on my lap and a cute boy’s arm around my shoulder. Today there is a growth in bad manners and ignorance of the rights of other movie house customers – texting, calling, surfing the Internet – all going on while the movie is playing. According to an article in the June 21, 2011 issue of the Washington Times newspaper written by Christy Lemire of the AP, this increase in rudeness at the movies is international with India, Hong Kong, the UK and China theater owners making special announcements to avert the practices during the shows and keeping the theater dark and quiet. When I shared this information with a friend, he suggested the theater owners jam the cell phone signals. I really like this idea and so did 60% of those who gave feedback to the National Association of Theatre Owners when they suggested the idea. The problem was the 40% who were violent in their reaction.
It is frustrating as a proper etiquette expert to allow the “it’s just the way things are” as the last word on the decline of respect society demonstrates in closed in spaces where everyone has paid their money to be entertained. Just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean that you have to demonstrate how little regard you have for others around you. What did the folks who believe that they are so important as to have to be reachable and reaching out 24/7 do 15 years ago when they didn’t have a small electronic device to carry around to tether them to others?
Have you “shushed” someone at the movies? Did they get huffy and ignore you? Did they keep texting or talking or surfing? Did the light from their phone distract you from the screen in front of you? Did your blood pressure rise a bit from the confrontation and lack of positive resolution? I admit, I have and it did and even I (who knows the proper way to approach someone being selfish and rude) didn’t get the resolution I wanted. I also didn’t get any help from the theatre staff. I would love to hear your story about how this annoying trend has affected your movie-going enjoyment.
Check out Matt Archity, Editor-in-Chief of the Rotten Tomatoes film review website and his “10 Commandments for Movie Audiences“.