Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean basically all of the time, this crazy world of ours produces debates and controversies that boggle my mind. I suppose in part because we live in a hyper-connected age where everyone is constantly bombarded with new information disseminated across a wide array of media outlets and services, and also because everyone has the ability to comment on this information and then the commentary becomes part of these stories, which in turn become more about the controversy around the story than about the story itself, and [returning to the point] it seems these dumb debates over non-issues happen more often nowadays. Is that true? Or do we just have a greater ability to read/hear about it through all of the outlets vying for our attention? I have no idea. But sometimes these debates are so pointlessly ridiculous that I cannot help but take a firm stand and state my position without any hesitation. Such as: Texting in movie theaters.
At CinemaCon in Las Vegas, executives from movie theater chains debated whether or not to allow texting in movie theaters. This was an actual discussion, with real people who set policy for movie theaters advocating for or against texting during movies.
It’s actually a very simple conversation.
Q: Should they allow texting in movie theaters?
A: No, of course they shouldn’t.
See how easy that was? Done and done. Because if there is a human being out there who honestly thinks their moviegoing experience would be improved by sending or receiving a text message during a movie, that human being should not be allowed in any theater. (They should also be publicly mocked for this belief, because honestly, it’s a movie, what is the matter with you, fictional person I just made up?)
One reason offered for lifting the ban on texting during movies is to appeal to teenagers. Greg Foster of IMAX said banning cell phones makes a teenager “feel a little handcuffed.” I say this as someone who is much closer in age to the teenagers than to the studio executives, but that is a good thing. It would be wonderful if the ban on texting and cell phone use keeps teenagers out of theaters. Teenagers are terrible. I was a teenager just a few years ago, so I speak from very recent experience. Most teenagers don’t think about other people, and they certainly don’t think about strangers sitting near them in a movie theater. (There’s also the money factor. If you’re a working person, you want to make sure to get your money’s worth in a movie theater. While some teenagers work, the majority of them do not and have no appreciation for money — yours or theirs. A kid who was handed $18 bucks and dropped off at the theater isn’t going to have the same desire to get their money’s worth.)
A teenager who would feel “handcuffed” by not being allowed to text — i.e. a teenager who does not think they can be off of their phone for a mere 100 minutes, and a teenager who certainly does not care that their phone will be instantly noticeable and distracting in a dark theater with stadium seating — is precisely the kind of teenager that theater owners should be keeping out.
And yes, theater owners are just trying to figure out a way to save their business. This isn’t the way to do that. Teenagers who are going to see “The Hunger Games” or whatever are going to see it regardless of the texting rules, or at least the majority of them are, so why ruin the moviegoing experience for many people by catering to the idiotic desires of a few?
I say all of this because going to the movies has become such an ungodly horror over the last few years. I love going to the movies, but I hate actually going to movie theaters. It’s always something in a theater: people talking, people answering their phones, people texting, people changing crying babies, people seeing “The Cabin in the Woods” with a crying baby and refusing to leave their seat even though their infant is clearly distressed (as well as disruptive) and so on. I’ve said something to the transgressors many times, but that can only do so much, and it’s not like you can walk all over a theater during a movie if multiple people are doing it.
The point is, if you know someone who texts during a movie, please steal their phone and throw it into the nearest body of water.