Good Media Manners – Movie Theater Etiquette Revisited

Forgive me if this is something of a retread, there are things in this world which upset me to no end. I can’t imagine a better forum for discussing them when they relate to this blog’s overall theme (media).

I am convinced that we do not treat one another with enough consideration. We are all very big into our rights, our privileges, what we want, what we think we need.

For some inexplicable reason, texting at the movie theater is one of these things. It is not.

“But,” you begin, “my [insert relationship here] is having a tough day and I want to make sure to be there for them if they need me.”

I can understand that. Go, be there for the person who needs you. Don’t be at the movie. And certainly, when you keep responding to texts throughout the movie, don’t discuss what’s happening with the people you came with to the movie.

Your desire to be there for the person who needs you is admirable. But you’re not really trying to be there for the person when you’re still at the movie theater. What you’re trying to do is have it all, and to do so at the expense of those around you.

You can’t always have it all. If someone in the world at large needs you, go be there for that person. If the friend(s) with which you were going to the movie don’t understand that, perhaps you need to reconsider the relationship(s).

What you certainly shouldn’t do, and what the woman sitting next to me at the 6:55pm show of “American Sniper” at the Greenburgh Multiplex Cinemas did on Saturday January 17th, was explain to her companions, following the fifth or sixth text to which she responded, how the person on the other end of the conversation was being selfish.

Pot, meet the kettle. You should know that you are both the same color.

Here I come back to my main point once more (and I will keep hammering this home as many times and in as many posts as needed) – if the person on the other end of the conversation needs you, and you want to be there for them, be there for them, don’t be at the movie with other people. If you feel like they’re being selfish and wrong, stop responding to their texts and disturbing everyone around you.

I feel like the next bit is the hard part for folks to grasp in the self-centric world in which we live – your rights end where someone else’s begin (this goes for just about everyone and in multiple scenarios). Your conversation is not more important than the hundreds of people around you watching the movie.

I won’t suggest that the distress of the person on the other end of the conversation wasn’t more important than the movie, because I don’t know what was happening in their lives. What I do know is that if their issue was more important than the hundreds of folks at the theater trying to watch the movie, you shouldn’t have been at the theater, you should have been with them or somewhere where you could have carried on a conversation.

And yes, this does all matter in the larger scheme of things. I think that’s really what so many people fail to grasp.

Treating others with respect matters. It is important. Saying “please” and “thank you” aren’t antiquated notions, and the cost of doing these sorts of things is small, it’s just that many of us regularly don’t think about them.

Good Media Manners is all about just that – picking our heads up from our devices, seeing the people around us, and wondering if maybe we’re out of line. I know that from time to time I am.

Categories: Uncategorized


3 replies

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