Today's rant: cell phones in movie theaters.
This past weekend, Laura and I went to see a movie. Before the show they flashed the standard "please silence your cell phone" message. And yet, throughout the movie, people kept using their cell phones, distracting the rest of the audience. Apparently it's time for a new message, because "silence your cell phone" hasn't eliminated the cell phone scourge. Oh sure, there weren't any phones ringing, which was nice. But the people texting is almost an even worse problem.
Apparently people can't understand this, so here's the skinny, for those who're too stupid to figure it out for themselves:
Movie theaters are dark, except for the screen. Cell phones, particularly when used for texting, emit light. In the middle of a dark theater, any other bright light is going to be a tremendous distraction from the screen. It draws the eye. It's a painful annoyance. If you've ever sat anywhere other than the first row, and had someone in front of you start playing with their phone/PDA, you'd presumably have figured this out by now.
And yet, there we were, second row from the back, with at least 5 people in front of us flashing their bright cell phone lights all over the theater, and the girl sitting next to us still hadn't figured out that when she turned on her phone it would be a distraction to those around her.
Good gravy, how dumb do you have to be not realize that you've become a massive irritation to 95% of people in the theater? And what the hell are you doing texting during a movie anyway? If there is something so important in your life that you need to be checking your PDA/text messages every 15 minutes, then what the heck are you doing at Superbad?
Of course, we all know that these peons, idiots too dumb to figure out how annoying their behavior is, don't really have anything so important in their lives. The real reason they're distracting the audience is to find out from their friends "WU?" Probably from the same exact person they were texting an hour ago while they were cutting you off on the way to the theater. And of course, that person's response is the same now as it was an hour ago: "nothin, WU w/ U?"
Cut the freaking tether people! Wake up! Put down the phone! Live your life! Or at least watch the movie and quit interfering with mine.
This is exactly the kind of thing we obviously need laws to control, because too many people can't figure it out on their own. I propose the "Popcorn for Texting" statute. Anyone caught texting during a movie must immediately leave the theater and purchase everyone at the screening a bag of popcorn. It punishes the offender, seems roughly proportional to the offense, pays back the victims, and incentivizes people to GET OFF THEIR FREAKING PHONES!
And while I'm on the subject, who are all these parents that think allowing cell phones in schools is a good thing? They constantly cite that cell phones will allow their children to communicate with them during an emergency. First, what emergencies? With rare exception, high schoolers don't actually face emergencies. Unless you count the rumor mill, and they sure as heck aren't going to call their parents for that. Second, what are you, as a parent, going to do about that emergency? Let's imagine Columbine all over again. How does a bunch of students with cell phones actually solve any problems? It doesn't!
At best, a bunch of self-important parents will probably interfere with the actual solution to the problems. The biggest benefit of cell phones in schools is that in the absolutely rare circumstance of some sort of disaster parents will know a little earlier that their kids are/are not alright. And admit, that does have some value.
But it's off set by the constant distraction that cell phones pose. They increase students' ability to cheat, increase their ability to mess around when they should be learning, and increase their ability to undermine teachers and staff. Most parents acknowledge that there should be some limits on student cell phone use, but once you introduce them to schools, all limits are off. Of course, most parents who support cell phones in schools are completely oblivious to the problems, or are convinced that their precious children wouldn't abuse their cell in class. Wake up people! Of course your children aren't using their cell phones responsibly. After all, they learned from their parents that rules don't apply to them - that it's OK to do whatever you want, whenever you want - no matter how many people it affects. Better that they know "WU" with their friends at every minute than geography or algebra.
There's not a lot of things that she'll take back