Movies, The Internet

A Thousand Points of Light

ImchatmillerscrossingIt’s a time-honored rule that for any headline that asks a question, the answer is always “No.” That doesn’t apply to “Is It Time To Let Movie-Goers Send Texts During a Film?”, where the answer is “Oh hell no.”

Actually, in this case, the old rule about New Yorker cartoons applies even more. “Christ, what an asshole.”

It’s fun for those of us prone to internet rage to get tossed a slow pitch every once in a while. Occasionally a response can knock it out of the park. Instead of having to think about actual issues that really are controversial and require a careful deliberation of the merits of both sides, we can all stand behind the idea that you’re a selfish jackass if you insist on turning on a bright light in a dark room full of people who paid to be there and aren’t cursed with your own irreparably shattered attention span.

In my day, we understood how light works!

Well, most of us can stand behind that, anyway. The only thing that’s worth commenting on at all is the lengths people will go to in order to rationalize bad behavior. Here’s an article about a similar proposal, this time in regards to the legitimate theatertheatre, that tries to pin the blame on the invention of the electric light and then make the claim that being an inconsiderate asshole is a time-honored tradition stretching back to the earliest days of live performance.

I remain disappointed that they didn’t take this to its logical conclusion, and propose that all concessions be replaced with maggot-laden legs of roast mutton.

After all, aren’t we being awfully short-sighted? How can we possibly expect a 17-year-old raised in the age of interactive entertainment to stay focused on the ponderous, Terence Malick-esque existential ramblings of the 21 Jump Street remake? In a world where teens and young adults have constant access to social media, isn’t it just selfish of us in the less-lucrative demographics to just demand that we can escape that for 90 minutes? When people have instant, personalized access to virtually every movie ever made, with the ability to start and stop it at will, while simultaneously updating IM, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, doesn’t it just make good financial sense for theaters to remove the only remaining aspect of their experience that makes them unique?

We’ve already learned that in the brave new world of digital distribution, the whole notion of “being paid enough money to keep producing content that people want to watch” is laughably outdated. As soon as all of us old farts still clinging to 20th century notions of propriety will die off already, the old concepts of “stealing” and “not behaving like an over-entitled shit stain” and “showing a basic level of respect for your fellow humans” will be revealed as the anachronistic, imaginary fantasies that they are. The one surviving multi-national media conglomerate will show $500 million productions free of charge, and audiences of the New Generation will talk to each other and send text messages to people not in the theater as a beautiful display of communal engagement and interactivity. And it will be glorious.

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