Sunday, July 22, 2007

What are kids suppsed to do to have a good time?

The following is a letter that was sent to our local newspaper. I was compelled to respond which you will find our town there's NO malt shop or burger joint for the kids to gather at, there's NO youth center, there's NO pool hall, there's NOTHING! We have 1 theater with 1 big screen and 1 little screen. It's pretty much the ONLY place that they can group together. And now someone want's to take the fun of the MIDNIGHT show away...I had to the first article, then my response below! Do you feel differently? Please email me.

Letter to the Editor: Insistent cell phone use almost ruins Potter premiere
By Li bby Bou cher, Crookston
Published: Monday, July 16, 2007 2:06 PM CDT
Crook ston Dail y Time s

I attended the midnight show of "Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix" in Crookston the other evening, the first run of a highly anticipated movie. The movie was great, the place was packed, the crowd was excited, the popcorn was hot and fresh and the cell phone screens were glowing like unwelcome beacons in the night.

Between the flashes of pictures being snapped and the constant beams of light erupting every few seconds, I have to say my pleasure in the event was dimmed, unlike the cell phone lights.

I have to wonder, you're in a movie, it's well past midnight...who could you POSSIBLY have an overwhelming need to communicate with at that particular time? Unless your pants are on fire or you are being abducted by aliens during the course of the movie, don't use your phone! The only light in the theater should be coming from the screen and the gentle glow of an exit sign...please utilize those signs if you absolutely must use your cell phone right this minute.

I made the suggestion to the owner of the theater that frisking people as they came in would be a heck of a good idea. I don't think he took me seriously. The idea of having a "phone check" area, just a like a coat check would be wonderful, if a bit difficult to execute.

I was told that night that theaters in Canada have jamming devices that render your cell phone inoperable while you're inside the theater, I have to say...way to go! I'm sure someone would get sued in the U. S. of A. if we tried that, something about our inalienable right to annoy others while in a movie or our constitutional right to text message the guy sitting two seats away.

It all comes down to manners, I suppose. I know freedom of speech does not allow us to shout "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater, can't we extend that to texting?
By the way, the movie was great.
Here's my Response...
Dear Ms. Bou cher,
I read with great interest your letter to the Crooks ton Times about your disappointment with the cell phone usage of others in the theater. I think you missed the two key words regarding your situation. "Midnight Show!" I'm sorry you didn't have the experience that you expected, but you see for most of the people there, THEY DID! For many years I've been attending Midnight Shows in California, Nevada, Tennessee and North Dakota. The whole concept revolved around a different set of socially accepted norms. Several of them include behaviors that would be totally unacceptable during regular screenings of films. They often include loud and sometimes rude exchanges with what's going on on the screen. Being boisterous with your friends, talking from section to section, using cell phones, getting in your mile of walking, these are all not only acceptable, but expected and encouraged! OFTEN (depending on the theater, the moving being shown and the average age of the viewers) adult beverages are included in the midnight festivities.

As for your suggestion about blocking cell frequencies as they do in some theaters in Canada, you're forgetting that some of us can only be away from home or work because we are reachable by that marvelous little device. If a theater was blocking my ability to receive cell calls, they would not be getting ANY of my money. Both because of the responsibility of an elderly parent AND that my little service company provides 24 hour access to some customers, is it required that my cell phone is on and working ANYTIME/ANYPLACE/ANYWHERE. It's my experience that most folks have their phone set to vibrate, sit in a place where they can make a dash to the lobby, and return without even their neighbor noticing what happened. All around you there are emergency workers, firemen, and service people like me who get to experience life a little better because of cell phones.

When it comes to midnight shows the rules are different. Hit the afternoon matinee and enjoy the movie in the manner that you expect, but if you come to a midnight show please leave your expectations at the door, where you want me to leave my cell phone. Let the kids (and those of us that want to act like kids for just a couple of hours) have a little fun, please.
John (if it's midnight who cares what the movie is) Reitmeier