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July 28, 2004


No, wait. Apparently they have been, here in Florida.

(Thanks to Trystan Shout)


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At last! A punishment to fit the crime!

Why was the officer there in the first place?

Is 'Catwoman' considered to be a police instructional video, on how to fight crime (and look good doing it)?

Somehow I doubt Officer John Douglas has as good a set of ramparts as Halle Berry.

i never side with cops. not this time. die, crapweasel phone talkers. when your phone rings in a public place, you get up, go to a hallway, or outside or someplace quiet and out of the way . .. and you answer the call. how long will that take, a minute? just dont be talking so that everyone has to hear you! the world is NOT your phone booth! bring out the pepper spray!

Tetsu, I agree. And we have witnesses who agree with the defendents' story.

Overreaction by the police officer. Whatta bully.

I hope they sue. A quick phone call at the beginning of a movie isn't all that disturbing, and from the reviews I've heard for Catwoman noone was missing anything. I see no justification whatsoever for pepper spray. Now, I saw Troy last night and someones infant was crying RIGHT BEHIND ME through over half of it. Where's a cop when you need one?

Oh, and I have to point out that when it comes to 'Officer John Douglas',

'John is a cold ogre, uff'!

Sounds to me it's the accountant's version against the policeman's version. Now, who are you going to believe?

Making them take the call in the theator lobby is one thing, making them leave is another.

The St. Pete Times fills it in more. But there's still differences.

On the market there's a thing called "cell blocker" which prohibits cell phone signals from getting through. Wouldn't this solve alot of these problems?

But then turning off the phone would too.

Oh,Tetsu he was an off-duty cop. Probably moon lighting.

"yelled at the Douglas "

Since when do we refer to ourselves as objects. From now on, I would like to be addressed as "The Brian", as if I was the ONLY one.

Jaxx, are you sure it wasn't the soundtrack from Troy. Watch a piece of garbage. You could always tell when drama was about to happen when they cued the sorrowful, slightly Middle-Eastern sounding moaning woman. Actually made me wish for Celine Dion in the Titanic.

The Brian: "Since when do we refer to ourselves as objects."

Ever since someone came up with 'The Donald', I guess.

For a long time I thought they were talking about the duck.

Do you think people would get in trouble if they ate Faggots in a crowded theatre. Hmmm

Do you think people would get in trouble if they ate Faggots in a crowded theatre? Hmmm

this is why we should automate this process. first, a spike should be placed in every theater seat. When a person sits down, a sound sensor searches for the sound of a cell phone. at the first bleep, a pneumatic piston forces the spike upwards into the brain of the movie goer.

Apparently you cannot stop a post and correct once you hit post. I really thought it worked!

It was a bad night to be Warronica
Her ringtone sounded like a harmonica
A renegade cop she then faced
Who had her thrown out and maced
Leaving her in a state catatonic-a

From what I've read, the pepper spray might have been a better experience than sitting through Catwoman.

LMAO!! You guys are just WAY to funny..haha. Nice poetry.

I have been pepper sprayed, I am military, trust me the cop was WAY overreacting. Pepper spray hurts like hell and you can't breath. My spray was controlled... I held my breath, closed my eyes, etc. I can't imagine being sprayed and having your eyes wide open plus inhaling all of it!

Okay, let's take this factually. She spoke, "so quietly her mother could not hear her," so how could she be disturbing people? She was actually doing a favor for them, by speaking quietly and stopping the ringing. Also, the witnesses say she was causing no trouble, so there's no reason to call her a crapweasel. It was the opening credits too. I know some people that would go like, "SERIOUSLY!?! A FAMILY EMERGENCY! NO WAY! Oh, you didn't hear me?... SERIOUSLY!?! A FAMILY EMERGENCY! NO WAY! Oh, you didn't hear me? I guess I'll yell louder!.. During the middle of the movie. But she whispered in the opening credits. Not to mention, a family crisis is more important than those little factoids telling you about who played who in what stupid movie.

Notice I am LAYwer, not LAWyer!

Laywer Guy - so I guess we can't pool our resources and hire you to defend this gal and her boyfriend?

Remember that this was reported as a family emergency during the opening credits. A family emergency could be anything from "We are out of milk, bring some home" to "Uncle Carl died". I hope it was something in between.
I don't see how a person on a cell phone could be louder than opening credits music and thus disturb other people, except by just existing.
It would have been more disruptive for the person to climb over other people to get to the lobby to take the call.
The ads, the opening credits, and the closing credits are not sacrosanct.

you mean those "turn off your cell phone you rude bastard" ads that come on after the 12 goddam car commercials didn't stop them from turning off their phone? Hard to believe...

What's a laywer? We all know lawyers are crapweasels! (kidding)

Also, she should've gone straight to the lobby when it rang.

Catwoman hurts like hell and you can't breath. My movie experience was controlled... I held my breath, closed my eyes, etc. I can't imagine watching this movie and having your eyes wide open plus inhaling all of it!

Ok, where's the LaYwer jokes?

NOTHING's scacred around here!


Ok, is anyone sick of the stuntman "rather your stealing a candy bar from the store or..." commercials? First off.. I think a movie costs a few more dollars than a candy bar. I want some 3 for 99 cent dvds!! UG!

*The Easily Annoyed..*

Good one Roger!

looks like the family has TWO emergencies now.

Does anyone here actually remember when you didn't have a cell phone and you just had to "chance it" when you left your house??
Back when your wife/mom insisted on calling the babysitter before going into the theater to watch the movie. Shoot, I even remember before answering machines (God I feel old), when if someone wanted/had to talk to you, the would have to get lucky to catch you at home and within the sound of the phone (that actually "rang" as in bell). I also remeber when there were phone booths on every corner and they actually worked!! This was because the drug dealers, gang members, pimps, whores and general riff raff depended on the phone booth to do their business and made sure no one screwed with them for petty change. Now they all have cell phones so no one cares if Johnny crackhead rapes the only phone booth in a 3 mile radius. Now I know people who can't live 5 minutes without their cell phones, PDAs and CrackBerrys. Oh and you! Yes you, the guy in front of me at the stoplight! PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND DRIVE! The lights been green for 45 seconds! And another thing..........

thanks kibby, see, now that makes sense. a policeperson is not going to pepper spray someone without cause, well mabe in L.A. but that's another story...

And the award for "Best Use of Pepper Spray" goes to: Officer Douglas!

The World is not your personal phone booth.

Television…Cell Phones…The Mall…SUV’s – Absolute proof that the people of the world are getting dumber at a geometric rate.

This was because the drug dealers, gang members, pimps, whores and general riff raff..

I object to that remark.

Mais Oui!

Bravo, BMX3. Take a bow.

so those of you who are annoyed by cell phones: if i don't like the fact that you snuck sodas and snacks inside the theater, can i get someone to pepper spray you?

Theatres ain't on the phone plan
Not e'en for a Catwoman fan
To Officer Douglass
We raise a high a cold glass
To Waronnica we raise high a Mace can

(If mbgordon81 can do it I can too!)

sure judi, but only if i throw them at you

and i swore, no more blogging today, but i can't resist...

so dj, do they serve Faggots at the Palace?

You seem really obsessed with faggots for some reason, Peter.

All this talk of faggots is making me hungry

ha, that article just really cracked me up! sometimes i'm just easily amused i guess. i do seem a little obsessed, but really no, just beating a dead (but funny) horse. time to go home now and do some work

"A quick phone call at the beginning of a movie isn't all that disturbing"

WRONG, Jaxx. Every movie you go to nowadays tells you BEFORE THE MOVIE STARTS to TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE. If that's too hard to understand you're too dumb or too damn inconsiderate to be in the movies and deserve what you get. If there was an emergency and she was waiting for the call she SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN AT THE MOVIES.

Laywer, not Lawyer: see above.

Right on, BMX3.

All that said, yeah I'd say Officer Douglas probably went way overboard, though when Warronica (and with that name, her mother should have been maced) says that she asked why he maced her boyfriend, she probably phrased it a little differently, as "You motherf#cker, who you f#ckin' mace my motherf#ckin' boyfren'."

Or a reasonable facsimile.

well, i don't like people talking at the theater either, PETER, but the point is, you can't just mace someone because they're annoying.

[shakes head in disgust at Peter's wrongness]

I find Judi's comment puzzling. Does she own stock in movie concessions?

"Warronica" - wasn't that a song by Elwis Costello?

Yikes. But I'm going to agree with those who say that she should not have had the phone on. How did she know it was an emergency? If it was a planned emergency, then put the phone on "stun" and tell them to text you. You talk and jabber near me, I'll mace you myself (unless you are the stars of MST3000). And NEVER dispute a cop, stooopid! Just calmly take names of witnesses.

you can't just mace someone because they're annoying.


*quickly calls dave on his cell phone*

hey dave, it's me, papabear, hey listen, I need to cancel my previous request concerning john kerry.......I repeat, DO NOT MACE KERRY!

Well Judi, keep in mind the incident in question did happen in St. "Peter"sburg. But it also says she was "charged" with misorderly conduct. And well, we all know how St. Petersburger's simply do not tolerate that kind of mis-behavior.

Officer Douglas was clearly wrong. The Code of Conduct, Section 432, par. 6 indicates that public use of a cell phone in a crowded theater during the opening credits of a very bad movie calls for the use of mace ONLY after a verbal mocking and a warning severance of (1) toe, "preferably the pinkie".

btw, why would anyone voluntarily go to the movies?

I remember Ebert mentioning his personal tactic when someone seated behind him talks or uses their cell phone during a movie... he said he simply stands up. When they ask him to sit down, he responds, "Stop talking and I'll sit down."

That's a great way to handle it!

I've nearly gotten in two fights because of cell phones at a theater. Both times, I said, "If you want to talk and ruin the movie for me, give me what I paid for the ticket."

That doesn't seem to work as well as Ebert's tactic.

All I know is that I'm buying some pepper spray for "The Village" on Friday. :-)

Copy of Officer Douglas' final exam at the Police Acadamy:

Please Indicate How You Would Respond to the Following Events:

Stranded Motorist : Mace him!
Man Wearing Hat : Mace him!
Lost Tourist : Call immi...no! Mace him!
Woman Jaywalker : Mace her!

hey, i sneak food in all the time. and i loathe people who talk on cell phones, or rustle their damn popcorn, or chew really loud, or sit down in front of me with their tall selves when it's 4 seconds into the movie and i can't find another seat. i'm thrilled there are cops in st pete with nothing better to do than to make sure i can hear the movie.

it's just that i draw the line at mace, unless they pee on the toilet seat.

"..the point is, you can't just mace someone because they're annoying."

Why on Earth not?! The world would be a finer and more polite place if more people whipped off a blast of pepper spray at the slightest provocation. Cell phone use in a movie, credits or no, is more than enough. Now macing the way we did back in my day (*Thunk*) might be a bit over the top.

Can someone remind me the date of the MOAT? I know it was the one where Dave/judi were trying to figure out how to set the #@&*?$ clock.

right on BMX! and djtonyb: "Alas, stupid people do not get the hint that they might be being rude, even with something as obvious as everyone around them glaring. These people need to be removed from the theater, maced, have their damn phones confiscated, and be sent to finishing school until such time as they can behave properly in the general public." A-men, and aaa-men!! and i like Ebert's idea too. we've all said it...the world is NOT your personal phone booth... nonetheless, she's probably got a lawsuit. Once more, the stupid and rude win.

"I'll sit here in this semen stained seat and watch 30 minutes of advertising followed by 2 hours of bad film, all the while breathing in the various body odors of 300 strangers and eating popcorn at the same price per pound as lobster, and I'll pay $8 to do it. But don't you dare talk on your cell phone! You'll ruin the experience!"

*cue irritating high-pitched noise*

we interrupt this blog to bring you an important message:

mace and pepper spray are NOT the same thing.

mace does not work on animals because they don't have tear ducts (which really shouldn't be an issue in a movie theatre, but, may be an issue if you're out jogging on a nature trail).

no, pepper spray should be the weapon of choice when going out into this big, bad world.

that is all.

we now return to your regulary scheduled blogging.

By the way, I am totally against the use of pepper spray in this situation. No one was in any real danger, and pepper spray has a way of drifting and the smell can be hard to clear out of an enclosed room. This could cause the person filling your $20.00 waxed cardboard trashcan full of popcorn to put on too much butter, which for some reason is free. No, I would have definetly used the Tazer! Fast, effective, can be used more than once, and no colateral effects. Yes, I say TAZ 'EM, TAZ 'EM ALL!!!!!!

well, i don't like people talking at the theater either, PETER, but the point is, you can't just mace someone because they're annoying.

judi, you're wrong. this is what giving police officers several options of non-lethal force is all about. you would be right if you were talking about shooting. but mace, rubber bullets, choke-holds, tire flattening strips, EMF disruptors, tazers, etc. -- those are all cool since nobody gets killed.

I am going to start this by saying that I work for a small midwestern cell phone company.

I am ALL for macing, beating, or otherwise hurting anyone who cannot figure out how to TURN OFF THEIR D*MN PHONES when they are in a movie theater, restaurant, house of worship, etc. If you are having a family emergency stay home!!! I had to listen to part of cell phone a conversation about someone's hemmeroids (no I am NOT kidding) during Stepford Wives and I just about did beat them with my purse.

Anyways - you all have completely misread judi's comment "you can't just mace someone because they're annoying."

The emphasis (and correct me if I'm wrong, judi) goes on the word "just". She's implying that the offence calls for mace AND something more - scuffing their shoes, perhaps.


but you can't mace them if they're cute, either. (men, i mean. you can mace women if you want.) or pEpper spray, if you wanna get technical.

The proper restraint weapon would have been a small thermonuclear device. Then there would have been no further complaint regarding cell phone use or police over-reaction.

Christobol- you are a genius! Thank you so much for pointing that out to me. And I also agree with Pogo- nuclear weapons are certainly acceptable when annoying cell phone use is the crime.

But what if it's Dave Barry sitting at that table taking calls from Judi - important calls regarding the punchlines to booger jokes and lyrics to Troggs songs?

Mind you, in this scenerio, Judi is sitting at the table too, and they're also inadvertantly text messaging and beaming meaty hunk pictures all over the place.

Hey djtonyb -

Another option for you is to look at these situations as golden opportunities for life's most precious gift - humor (esp at the expense of a bastard).

I used to hate telemarketers until I realized how much fun it could be to mess with them until they hang up.

So - next time you visit that restaurant and Trump Jr. answers his phone, pick up a fork or piece of bread, slap it to your ear, and say "Blah! Blah blah blah...blah blah" very loudly. Try to time it with each word he speaks.


Way too funny. My mental image of your "bla bla bla" scene almost put me in tears. Gonna have to try that sometime.

Christobol's idea about saying, "Blah, blah, blah, blah" with every word the person speaks is great!

And djtonyb, I totally agree about wishing theater's would install the blocking equipment.

In the end...

...the theater can flash, "please turn your cell phones off" ads before the trailers...

...people in the theater can glare at people who are talking on cell phones during the movie...

...people can tell them, "Hey, turn off your phone."...

...off-duty cops can escort folks out...

...but that doesn't CHANGE anything.

People will continue to do those things they can get away with. If you, as a movie viewer, have a problem with that, you can't expect rude people to care. They won't. Anyone who can talk on a cell phone in a movie where others have paid hard-earned money to be there is already sending a message that says, "I realize I'm being rude, but I don't have to suffer any consequences for it and I don't know you, so screw you."

Sure, there are some people who will say, "Oh, I'm sorry" and hang up.

Really? Are they sorry? As in, "I know what I did is wrong and I promise I won't do it again. Ever."

I doubt it. Instead, I imagine that's merely a way for a non-confrontational person to placate those who they annoy.

In the end, we pay our $10 for a movie and ultimately rely upon each other to be considerate. That doesn't work. I used to go to the movies with a guy who would throw a fist as soon as look at you. He looked formidable. When someone would talk, he would move his face within inches of theirs and say, "Shut the f*ck up. Now."

That works if you're willing to get into a fight (and possibly go to jail).

Here's what WOULD work for most of us... everyone should write their respective theaters. Not e-mails. Real letters. Complain. Tell them to install the blocking equipment to ensure their audience doesn't have these problems. Send a copy of the letter to the corporate office. Don't send it to a customer service rep. Find the name of the top people. It's easy to do (just call Corporate and ask who is the V.P. of customer service or something similar). Then, send THAT person the letters. They DO read them. Trust me.

The trick is having a LOT of people do it. Over and over and over and over.

I DO think you are 110% right Tim. However, right now purchasing cell phone blocking/ jamming devices is illegal in the US. So, we would need to start a by having a campaign to legalize that, and that would be a hole with no bottom.....

DJT, just this once I'm gonna have to disagree with you. EVEN IF the girl and her BF were being annoying, that cop SO overstepped his authority, and witnesses quoted do not appear to support his story at all. Sounds like a cop with an attitude problem to me. If I were a cop, macing all of the people I find annoying, I'd be out of Mace in no time at all (and wrong every time).

Christobol: good one on Officer Douglas. It reminds me of the classic Saturday Night Live skit with Anthony Perkins doing the "Norman Bates School of Motel Management".

Question 1: a guest forgets her key. Do you:
1. Give her a replacement
2. Let her in with your passkey
3. Hack her to death with a kitchen knife

Looney girl is right too. I was at a mall in Washington and a guy was trying to take a private crap when his kid, feeling he needed dad's attention and he needed it NOW, called him on his damn cell phone from outside the men's room! Dad shouldn't have answered, but he did. "I'm in the bathroom! Give me a damn minute!" Actually, he was more polite, but he should have dropped his phone down the toilet.

Vol: here is the MOAT, and the date was April 14.

Christobol: LOVED the bla-bla-bla! WIll have to try it!

I agree with djtonyb.

There are only facts and lies.

If we can believe that the girl whacked the officer on the head with her drink...

If we can believe that her boyfriend was yelling at the officer and said he would "beat his ass"...

If we can believe that the girl said she was going to "hit this cracker upside his head" before hitting him (thereby eliminating any chance that it was an accident)...

If we can believe that her boyfriend has a criminal record which includes an assault on school employee and battery on a police officer...

... isn't it at least POSSIBLE that the officer was being appropriate in applying pepper spray?

Look, if the eyewitness accounts are true, then great. I agree that the officer acted inappropriately and should be reprimanded.

But, remember...

...the witnesses who were questioned knew the boyfriend. Of course, that doesn't mean they lack credibility, but wouldn't it be silly for us not to at least question their honesty? I mean, the joke in jail is that "everyone's innocent. Their lawyers screwed 'em."

...also, remember that the officer has served for 14 YEARS without even ONE formal discplinary action in his personnel file.

...also, it's been a few days. No complaint has been made. If there were so many credible witnesses who would say the officer was unprovoked when he acted, wouldn't the girl and her boyfriend file some complaint?!

Like I said, there are only facts and lies. And we can't be absolutely sure of anything. But, rather than discussing whether the officer acted appropriately or not, shouldn't we first figure out if we're all talking about the same circumstances?

If we can believe the details of the story at the link posted by djtonyb, then it seems the officer acted properly. If the witnesses' accounts are entirely true, then the office acted inappropriately.

Sounds reasonable, no?

I say, "mace 'em all"....

I'll be home watching it on DVD....

I agree, Higgy. Or at least I'll be on the Premier Level at the Palace, a few dollars poorer but safe in the knowledge that I can eat, drink, and be (quietly) merry during the movie without the rudeness of general seating.

I'm with Tim and djtonyb on this. There's also that Ray Weil, an usher and presumably impartial, agrees with Douglas (the cop).

Worse yet:

Harris and Tolson, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, said Monday that Harris' cell phone conversation ended before Douglas arrived...

If that is true, then how did Douglas know they'd been doing anything wrong? ESP?

I think the cop just peppered a couple of rude people who assaulted him.

I'm reminded of Scary Movie (The first one). For those that haven't seen it, this lady is watching the movie eating fried chicken (wrapped in noisy tin foil) that she snuck in, talking to the screen "Mmmm-mmm, mmm-mm, don't go in there!". She gets up and yells at the people telling her to shut up, then answers her cell phone, at which point the crazed killer brutally murders her with a butcher knife, and gets a standing ovation.

where is officer douglas when i need to go to the bathroom? that's what i wanna know.

yeah, i have a one track mind. so sue me.

I'm with Tim and djtonyb also. And I nominate Officer John Douglas to be Dave's running mate to bring a law and order plank to the platform.

I watch movies from the first frame to the last. I *hate* to be disturbed. I usually go to the first show during the middle of the week. The theatres are usually empty. Besides, I like foreign and independent films best.

If someone is talking as the film starts I turn around and in my best stage whisper (read: LOUD VOICE) state: "Excuse me! This is NOT your living room. This is the MOVIES. You do NOT talk at the MOVIES. THANK you."

99.9% of the time everyone is stunned into complete silence for the entire film. Really.

The fact that I look like Woody Harrelson in "Natural Born Killers" helps a lot too. I've got the shaved head, earrings, tattoos and so on look going on. People don't know if I've just escaped from the nearest mental institution or not.

If that doesn't work I go to management - even though I hate to miss even one second of the movie. Since I am at the Gateway once a week on average everyone who works there knows me and will throw out the noisemakers after only one warning.

I always thought that militant anti-cell-phone people were crazy and latently violent. Thanks guys, for just coming out and admitting it.
I don't like people who talk on their phones in the movie theater, either. But hurting them is not the answer. If you claim that you weren't serious, well, then many of you still seem to have some anger issues to work out.
I will admit I'm a bit biased. After all, I live in Austin, where the police use pepper spray like air freshener. I can't believe there's so many people who think that a police officer would never use pepper spray unless he was in physical danger.
(BTW, I have been hit by it before. I was standing quite aways back from a scuffle on 6th street. The spray hit my hands and the side of my face. The burn was incredible. And it remained for at least an hour, even after I had washed my hands and face several times. I hope I'm never in the direct line of fire.)

I said it before--and I'll say it here:

Why must we always communicate?

Barbi - many of us own cellphones, but we do not use them in inappropriate situations. Your most basic cellphone comes with a function to silence it and automated voicemail. Back in the olden days you went into a phone booth, closed the door, and had a private conversation. You did not sit in the middle of a large group of people who had paid good money to see a movie and instead have to hear you converse with someone on the telephone. It does make me crazy that people are starting to think that this behavior is acceptable and should not be discouraged. I am not anti-cellphone, I am anti-rude. If it takes a police officer and a hit of pepper spray to convince these people to shut the hell up and get off the phone in an inappropriate situation, they need more than a refresher course in etiquette.

What about the lady with the crying baby? (There's usually at least one)? I equate a crying baby somewhere just a little worse than nails scratching on a chalkboard (I'm supersensative to certain things, i can't write with a pencil either because of the scratching). I believe, should Dave be elected president, that he should enact the "two swat law" which would blindfold the offending party and allow everyone that was annoyed by said infants crys to slap said offender twice, once with each hand.


The baby-lovers are worse than the cell-phone haters... good luck with your comment! LOL. And I think it's important to remember the cop did not spray the Rude Dude and Duderess for using a cell phone as they were in the lobby when that happened. Perhaps garrotting is the preferred method? Quiet, minimal fuss, can leave the bodies in place until after the film...
Trystan Shout, this was your submission, wasn't it? Wow... print and post at your theater! *smile*

Thanks to djt for the update, confirming my theory that Warronnica and her ex-con boyfriend did not go gently into the night.

"I'm with Tim and djtonyb also. And I nominate Officer John Douglas to be Dave's running mate to bring a law and order plank to the platform."

Trystan, if you really look like Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers maybe it's your appearance and not your frequent visits to their theater that makes the management so accommodating to you? ;)

DJT - thanks for the other link. Like Reasonable Tim, my opinion would of course change with the facts of the matter, if the couple were belligerant and assaultive that changes everything. Those of us who were not there will probably never know... I'm releived, was afraid I was discovering after all these months that you were a "closet" Fascist.
(Note the oh-so-subtle closet joke ;) )

St Pete sucks.

100 and FIRST

Anyone who ever takes or makes a cell phone call in any public place and does not immediately attempt to remove him or herself into a more private location is an unforgivable jerk. No excuses. If you are in a situation that does not allow for privacy, don't answer the phone. Let it go to voice mail and listen to it later. If you think the message is important, you can go somewhere private and listen to it within seconds.

As Chef Tell used to say, "Very simple, very easy."

Personally I would prefer cell phones to be reserved for emergency situations only, but hey, I'm just a courteous considerate person.

djtony: I saw a lot of people at the Jimmy Buffett concert holding up their cells so friends elsewhere could "hear" the concert. How much they heard is rather debatable.

Jeff, my sister once called me from a Ringo Starr concert. I couldn't hear her, but I could hear the song. We've called our other sister during an Eagles' concert so she could listen to "Hotel California".

But we did NOT talk loudly--just held the phone!

I forgot--yes, she could hear the song.

This story is similar...from the Washington Post (not Robert MacMillan).

OK, dangit, somehow the wrong story got linked there.


this story

OK Rita, good to know. No, they weren't talking, just holding the phones up. But since the entire audience was singing along at the time, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Something is very wrong with this thread... 100+ and still on topic.

If we were to "pull back the lens" and look at this entire incident as a case study, this is how it appears to me (it will require a bit of imagination and patience with me)...

First, picture a small tribe. Maybe 30 people, including children, adults and elders. They have no contact with those outside the tribe. They are, in essence, a closed community.

Second, picture most of the tribe inhabitants attending a tribal meeting. The main elder stands and begins speaking. Everyone is completely silent in order to hear his waning voice. Silence is expected.

Suddenly, two of the young adults begin talking loudly, "Hey, man. Did you see what Shiba is wearing tonight? Damn! She looks goooood, dahg. But, did you see Moog's hair?! He looks like an ape!!" They both guffaw loudly.

This interrupts the meeting. Others cannot hear. They become annoyed with the offenders.

In a movie theater, this type of situation happens often. But, there are seldom consequences for the offenders. As a result, the offenders don't care about being rude. They are desensitized to the consideration of others because they have never had to suffer any repercussion for their actions.

Flip back to the small tribal meeting.

The two young adult offenders are continuing to talk and laugh while others around them become increasingly annoyed.

This is a small tribe. They discipline their own. I imagine the elder would stop. Those who are trying to listen to the elder would swiftly "encourage" the offenders to be silent.

In short, there would likely be strong pressure from the small and close-knit community to never talk, joke and laugh loudly again while the elder is speaking. Again, silence is expected. It is demanded at these meetings.

If these same two offenders choose to do it again (thereby sending the message, "I don't care if I'm being rude because you aren't gonna do anything anyway, so screw you"), other measures would likely be taken by the community.

Okay, flip back to present day (and thanks for being patient with me as I describe this hypothetical tribal meeting).

A small tribe can control its own populace. It must. In a way, its survival depends upon it.

But, let's expand that small tribe into a village. More people. Less individual responsibility. Less likelihood for consequences to be suffered because a larger populace grants a greater level of anonymity.

Now, let's expand that village into a small city. The anonymity grows. The likelihood for consequences lessens.

Now, let's look at our society today.

We don't know our own neighbors. Often, we don't really want to know our own neighbors. The level of anonymity is higher than it has ever been in history. And the likelihood for consequences being suffered for rude behavior is at an all-time low.

So, what is the answer? I don't know.

I mentioned before that we cannot expect rude people to police themselves. They simply won't. It is against their nature. And we cannot confront every rude person we meet. That is not realistic.

But, wouldn't it be great if our communities could act like that small tribe? Wouldn't it be wonderful if our respective communities could unite in vilifying rude folks who use their cell phones during the movies?

I imagine with that kind of social pressure, we would seldom even hear a cell phone ring during the movies, much less hear someone answer it.

Sorry Tim...what were you saying? I was on the phone.

Okay, okay. I realize I'm long-winded sometimes.

Sorry. :-)

If you thought the Floridians were rude (whether they deserved peppering or not), check out this blog entry. It appears to be Philadelphia that is referred to within.

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