As is so often the case, my daily regimen of perusing the web for pornography news and professional curiosity led me to a headline (and corresponding news story) that left me irrationally enraged. And no, it wasn't this one. Or this one. Or even this one.

It was this one: Theaters set aside "Tweet Seats" for Twitter users. Assuming that some of you have better things to do than click over to The LA Times, the story is about the growing trend of movie theaters and other venues setting aside specific seating areas (presumably away from everyone else) where those seated would be allowed to text and tweet from mobile phones - a practice that is (supposed to be) forbidden in theaters otherwise.

No. No. No. NO. NO!

This outrage, quite simply, cannot stand. It's been enough of a struggle to convince thoughtless dolts not to talk on their phones during a movie, only to have the age of texting/tweeting/browsing add the extra annoyance of light pollution added to the mix ... and now we're going to tell them it's okay so long as they're in a special seat?

Ugh! It's enough to send me flashing back to the one happy aspect of my onetime career as a movie theater usher (read: non-union janitor) - the sublime pleasure of getting to kick people out of theaters. To this day, few things have filled me with more deliciously wicked glee than being sent to tell unruly drunks, overly talkative groups of teenagers, phone talkers, texters or entire families unwilling to keep their ill-behaved children in their seats that they had to leave the theater - and that, if they didn't, the retired Marine working our security detail (it was a tough neighborhood) was going to make them. To this day, despite the terrible pay and working conditions, I miss that job every single time I'm in a theater and someone simply will not shut the f*** up!

But, then again, it is the holidays, so perhaps I'm being uncharitable to my fellow (very, very stupid) man. After all, it's entirely plausible that in this age of social isolation and interpersonal disconnect - nevermore connected, nevermore alone or whatever trite lament-of-the-digital-age you prefer - what I'm dealing with aren't knowingly rude people, but people who never learned that their behavior is wrong in the first place. After all, with schools too busy teaching kids how to pass the Standardized Aptitude Test to teach them basic life skills (or anything else) and theaters clearly too terrified of drooping ticket sales to enforce their own rules, it's possible that no one ever bothered to tell these phone addicts how to act in a movie theater.

So let's fix that. I present to you, with encouragement to pass it around ...

MovieBob's Eight Commandments for Moviegoers

1. Turn Off The Stupid Phone

I understand. Phones are such a constant presence in our lives we feel like we must have them on all the time. This feeling is incorrect for 99.99% of people.

I have seen thousands of people answer their phones in movie theaters since the cell phone was invented, and not once have I ever seen the person in question respond with, "What? The President's daughter? Kidnapped? I'm on my way!" or even "Tell the nurses to prep him for bypass, I'll be right there!" Never happens.

You are not Batman and Commissioner Gordon is not on the other end of that phone. If your life/job has something going on in it that is so important that you cannot possibly be out of phone contact for an hour or two, you are clearly involved in something too important to take time out to see a movie. Everybody else? Phone goes off when you sit down, and if it rings, lights up, is answered or whatever else, you should be ejected from the theater without any prior warning and without a refund.

Comments on