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?
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.
SATDTFS (Students Against Texting During The Film Series)
Some pertinent literature:
- Movie Texters on Movie Theater Owners’ List of Villains, Too (Washington Post)
- Man Throws Coffee On Texting Teens During Movie (HudsonHubTimes.com)
- The Field Guide for Identifying Douchebags: Texting During Movies (The Awesome Field Guide Series)
- Jam Session: More Text on Texting (The New York Times, Moral of the Story blog)