Texting During Film Series: A Public Service Announcement

texting

Dear Wezzleyin,

Like many of you, I love film. I particularly love experiencing classic (and not-so-classic) cinema in original 35mm prints for free. That’s why I go to the Film Series most weeks.

That’s also why I was profoundly moved this week by a certain ACB thread suggesting that Film Series Texters (hereby referred to as FST) be “flogged and banned forever from the CFS.” (There is also the question raised as to whether or not God has officially designated drinking whiskey in the Goldsmith Family Cinema a God-given right. I’ll leave that one to the Religion department.)

The point? Texting, sexting, or otherwise phone-opening during the Film Series is a problem. It’s  bad. Distracting. Annoying. Wicked, depraved, and unforgivable. There seems to be a common sentiment lately that texting during movies is somehow less offensive than talking on the phone in the theater. After all, there’s no noise. You can still hear the dialogue. You can still follow the plot. It’s not bothering anyone. It’s not like film is predominantly a visual medium or anything. It’s not like there are rows of people behind you disturbed by the sudden appearance of a second (or third, or fourth) screen of bright, glowing light in a darkened theater. It’s not like they’re trying to watch the film free from obnoxious, wholly unnecessary distraction. Right?

WRONG.

The Awesome Field Guide Series, in their “Field Guide for Identifying Douchebags,” identifies texting during movies as a distinctly douchebag behavior. They even suggest two possible explanations for this complete momentary neglect of public courtesy:

A) They [FST] don’t understand how light works.
B) They understand how light works so well that they’ve theorized that the gravitational force created by their inflated heads is so powerful it actually absorbs any light that hits it.

I think they’re on to something. As for the ACB commenter, I’m sure there are more appropriate discipline measures than flogging. Like being dragged out by Professor Basinger herself. Or being required to declare full public responsibility every time the print breaks down—especially if it’s during the last five minutes of Inglourious Basterds. Suggests Randy Cohen, a.k.a The Ethicist, of New York Times Magazine:

Perhaps during the transition to a more courteous age, we can all carry powerful flashlights—Maglite makes a particularly good one marketed under the sinister slogan ‘‘It’s never dark in America’’—and shine it in the eyes of texters, a bit of Old Testament eye-for-an-eye justice, a response the texter will no doubt greet with a quiet, gentle apology.

But better yet, the issue should be avoided altogether. If ur txting convo lolz are more important than Wild Strawberries, simply take it to the lobby. Do the rest of us a favor. Readmission is free.

It’s what Goldsmith would have wanted.

Sincerely,

SATDTFS (Students Against Texting During The Film Series)

Some pertinent literature:

27 thoughts on “Texting During Film Series: A Public Service Announcement

  1. Pingback: WESLEYING: A retrospective/recruitment – Wesleying

  2. wow again again

    Anyone in a higher university such as our fine establishment should probably have established for themselves at least a small sense of sarcasm

  3. wow again again

    Anyone in a higher university such as our fine establishment should probably have established for themselves at least a small sense of sarcasm

  4. anon

    Can’t all just agree that if at least one glass beer bottle is not knocked over during a film that film is a failure?

  5. anon

    Can’t all just agree that if at least one glass beer bottle is not knocked over during a film that film is a failure?

  6. A

    I find the texting distracting and discourteous, but this blog post is really a very nasty way of trying to get people to change their behavior and will likely have no effect.

  7. A

    I find the texting distracting and discourteous, but this blog post is really a very nasty way of trying to get people to change their behavior and will likely have no effect.

  8. wow again

    p.s. sorry you don’t have any friends that you need to get in touch with while you’re watching a three fucking hour long movie

  9. wow again

    p.s. sorry you don’t have any friends that you need to get in touch with while you’re watching a three fucking hour long movie

  10. wow

    quit fucking bitching
    here’s how to really identify a douchebag: someone who cares about stupid shit like this
    you seriously need to re-prioritize your life and how you spend your fucking time

  11. wow

    quit fucking bitching
    here’s how to really identify a douchebag: someone who cares about stupid shit like this
    you seriously need to re-prioritize your life and how you spend your fucking time

  12. anon

    In a completely not-sarcastic manner, I don’t understand how people walking up/down the aisle and in/out the theater is less distracting than a 2″x2″ screen light up screen.

  13. anon

    In a completely not-sarcastic manner, I don’t understand how people walking up/down the aisle and in/out the theater is less distracting than a 2″x2″ screen light up screen.

  14. Kanye

    #3, you do make a good point, but i would not call people who are bothered by texting in theaters “paranoid.” That doesn’t make sense.

  15. Kanye

    #3, you do make a good point, but i would not call people who are bothered by texting in theaters “paranoid.” That doesn’t make sense.

  16. LALA

    I know this can be a problem…

    However, I also know that people here are extremely paranoid when it comes to watching movies. Not a sound can be heard, not a light can be seen when one of you is watching something. This can get annoying for those of us who do not share your culture; like Higgins himself mentioned, in some areas of the world people consider going to the movies as a leisurely, community activity.

    I know that respect should be given to everyone equally, and that people who are planning to do something other than watching the movie when they go to the cinema should try to sit in a place where they won’t bother others-

    however, I also find it incredibly paranoid of people to complain about a few cellphones lighting up during a movie. I’m really sorry if a little 2 inch by 2 inch screen is enough of a distraction to pull your eyes away from the gigantic projection in front of you… because THAT is just paranoid.

  17. LALA

    I know this can be a problem…

    However, I also know that people here are extremely paranoid when it comes to watching movies. Not a sound can be heard, not a light can be seen when one of you is watching something. This can get annoying for those of us who do not share your culture; like Higgins himself mentioned, in some areas of the world people consider going to the movies as a leisurely, community activity.

    I know that respect should be given to everyone equally, and that people who are planning to do something other than watching the movie when they go to the cinema should try to sit in a place where they won’t bother others-

    however, I also find it incredibly paranoid of people to complain about a few cellphones lighting up during a movie. I’m really sorry if a little 2 inch by 2 inch screen is enough of a distraction to pull your eyes away from the gigantic projection in front of you… because THAT is just paranoid.

  18. Noah

    backlight? if you can read your text, you’re seeing light, which others behind you see as well (and no, as much as you may believe your hand is blocking the light from those behind you, it is not. wait, was that a rhetorical/joke question? honestly?

  19. Noah

    backlight? if you can read your text, you’re seeing light, which others behind you see as well (and no, as much as you may believe your hand is blocking the light from those behind you, it is not. wait, was that a rhetorical/joke question? honestly?

  20. Alex

    w/r/t “Or being required to declare full public responsibility every time the print breaks down—especially if it’s during the last five minutes of Inglourious Basterds”:

    how does texting cause the film to break down? obviously it can be distracting, but i don’t see how discreetly texting, especially without any backlight, is a big problem.

  21. Alex

    w/r/t “Or being required to declare full public responsibility every time the print breaks down—especially if it’s during the last five minutes of Inglourious Basterds”:

    how does texting cause the film to break down? obviously it can be distracting, but i don’t see how discreetly texting, especially without any backlight, is a big problem.

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