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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 28, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Yet another reason to silence your cellphone . . .

The Seattle Times news blog The Today File points me today to a local story that illustrates why cellphones and movie theaters do not mix. The Ballard News Tribune reports that last week, at the Majestic Bay Theater, a man was attacked during a screening of “Tower Heist” by a fellow patron angered by the first man’s cellphone, which had rung twice. The victim suffered no apparent injuries, but was held in a choke hold for “about 30 seconds.” Let us be clear: violence in the movie theater (as opposed to violence on the movie screen) is wrong, wrong, wrong, no matter what provokes it. It’s never OK, and it’s also illegal. However. If the victim had silenced his phone after the first ring (or, even better, silenced it before the movie started), none of this would have happened, would it? (And, if he’d been at the Alamo Drafthouse, he’d have been thrown out at the first ring anyway.)
Meanwhile, an apparently clueless executive director of a yet-to-be-constructed performance hall in Bellevue (the Tateuchi Center, set to open in 2014 with programs of classical music, theater, jazz and pop) says his theater will encourage patrons to text, twitter and update Facebook at any time, saying “This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting,” Um . . . is this an April Fool’s joke in November? Really? Seems to me that such a policy would repel many of the people who would buy tickets for such events, while attracting few who otherwise wouldn’t. (Young people don’t stay away from classical music/theater/etc. events because they can’t use their cellphones — they stay away because the ticket prices are too expensive, and/or because they’re not interested. This problem existed well before cellphones, and won’t go away with the promise of free-for-all tweeting.)
I’d write more, but my phone’s ringing. Just kidding.

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