Friday, November 18, 2005

Civility

So I heard something stupid on the radio today.

I know, it's almost impossible to believe.

See, there's been a lot of discussion lately about why it's become so unpleasant to go to the movies. A valid discussion, since it really is often a chore. Long lines, remote parking, rude audiences, uncomfortable chairs and Fanta commercials are among the many reasons I don't go as much as I used to.

But today I heard this host on the radio ask his guest, who has written a book on the death of civility, whether Hollywood is to blame for the way people behave in theatres. After all, it was Hollywood that got people in the habit of watching movies at home, went his theory, so isn't Hollywood to blame for people acting in theatres the way they do at home?

His guest, an expert in civility, politely said, "That's an interesting theory." She was being very kind.

I would have quoted the great Inspector Sidney Wang:

"Very interesting theory. However leave out one important point: Is stupid. Is stupidest theory I ever heard."

People have eaten at home for a very long time, haven't they? And as far as I know, we still expect them to act differently when they eat in restaurants than they do at home. And when people are boorish in restaurants, we don't blame Swanson's or Campbell's or Dinty Moore, do we?

People go to the bathroom at home, people sleep at home, people scratch themselves at home, people tend to the interior of their noses at home, people kiss at home... but when they do those things away from home, they're expected to act with more consideration to others, and they generally -- thank goodness -- do.

And when they don't, it's nobody's fault but their own.

To blame Hollywood for people's lack of manners is... well, rude.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

ABSOLUTELY! How about we blame the fact that no one bothers to teach their kids manners anymore? If I was EVER noisy or rude in public, I'd see the back of my dad's hand. But, I never saw the back of his hand because I knew not to test the theory. Besides, all it took was one look or one, "I'm dissapointed", for me to behave. Anyway, I grew up to be a fairly polite person. All those people being assholes in theaters need to get into a souped-up Delorean, go back in time, and learn some freaking manners from their folks. Until then, stop blaming Hollywood!

Michael Markowitz said...

It's so easy to find culprits everywhere but in the mirror. And so convenient to blame an unpopular industry.