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Monday, July 27, 2009


If the audiotorium is on fire, women with children come first. That audiorium was not on fire.

And so, to the woman who would not shut up through the entire film, a few pointers.

1. 'I'm with my children' does not equal 'I'm in my house.' The thing in front of you? That was a cinema screen, not your television. The thing under your backside? That was a seat, not your sofa. Those objects around you? Those were other human beings, not stray cushions. Maybe you are your children's home in the world and that's all very lovely, but it doesn't mean everywhere you take the little brats is your private dwelling.

2. 'I paid for my ticket' does not equal 'I bought the cinema.' Understaffed though the cinema was, it did at least have a ticket checker - from which you might possibly have deduced, if you'd been interested in anyone who carried less than fifty per cent of your own precious genetic material, that we'd all paid for our tickets too.

3. 'Ssssh' does not equal 'Please talk louder to assert yourself.'

4. 'Ssssh' is not a swear word. You know when you started saying 'I am not a dog!' because people shushed you? They were not doing it to disrespect you. They were doing it because they had some respect for everyone else in the auditorium - you know, the other human beings who weren't you or your children, I'm sure you notice them sometimes - and 'sh' is less distracting than a long conversation. We all knew you weren't a dog. Dogs stop yapping when you tell them.

5. It should not have taken several shushings, then that lovely man two rows back who shouted at you, then me fetching the usher, then that other guy who was far more polite than you deserved, before you finally got the point and left.

6. The world is full of places you can have a conversation for free. If what you really wanted was a non-stop gossip with your kids, you could have done it cheaper at home. It would have been a win-win.

In conclusion: having children does not automatically entitle you to deference. It's really not that impressive. You have sex and then the rest pretty much happens by itself. I don't know what you think it makes you the queen of, but procreation and diplomatic immunity are two separate things, and other people failing to put your kids first in a non-crisis situation is not a sign of bad character. Sure, if you have some stairs to get a buggy up or a lifeboat to board, I'll be right there putting their interests before mine and so will everyone else in the cinema, but on a Sunday afternoon where the only objective is to try to extract a degree of enjoyment from the finite leisure hours of everyone's working week, good parenting means teaching your children to consider others, not demanding special status from others. If you'd been teaching them some manners, that would have been impressive, but 'Anyone who criticises your bad behaviour is your enemy' is not a good lesson to impart. Some day your kids will have to learn that the world does not revolve around them. It's seriously important that they learn this, because if they don't, the consequences will be dire. They'll end up like you.

Was the film any good? I have no fucking idea. By the time Ms These-Are-My-Jewels finally got the point and pissed off, my ability to concentrate was utterly broken.

Don't talk to me about falling cinema figures. Until ushers are present in every auditorium and armed with cattle prods, I'm not going back.


Where were you on Friday night, when the couple next to me kept texting each other and taking pictures of the screen and giggling?
Ooh, taking pictures of the screen? You could have reported them for copyright theft!
Ah, Kit. I do love the way you can be furious and eloquent at the same time. "Ms These-Are-My-Jewels" - wonderful.
More than once, I've seen and heard people actually on the phone during a film. Unbelievable - take it outside!
"That lovely man two rows back who shouted at you".
My heart almost burst with affection for that man, reading your post. (I wish I dared do things like that!)

I have to agree with other speakers, I love your descriptions and I wholeheartedly agree with your point.
More than once, I've seen and heard people actually on the phone during a film.

Oh, she did that too. With a very resentful air about being expected to keep her voice down.
Any appreciation I might have had for Fellowship of the Ring died in a similar manner, thanks tot he dolt several rows back who thought he was taking his four-year-old son to see The Hobbit II or something...
I actually had One Of Those Conversations with a group of (early-) teens in a theater. They were standing at the top of the steps, about two rows behind me, and talking. After a minute or so of being distracted by this, I went back and said, "You. Out. Now."

The kid in front looked back at me and said, "Hey, we have tickets. We have a right to be here."

While I seriously doubted that such was the case, I said: "Then sit down, shut up, and watch the film. 'Cause right now, you're keeping me from watching it." I don't think that was the response he was expecting.

Oddly enough, it actually worked. They found seats and were quiet for the remaining two-thirds of the film.

I'm not generally a very confrontational person, but apparently if you annoy me enough, I can be.

Verification word: "ousal" As in, that person is a real ousal.
I suppose Mika is saying that this is a good argument to set up a home theatre. Besides, you'll be at the same time performing the infinitely more important task of giving her regular fish treats while watching the film.
Damn straight, Kit!

My one experience of shushing a fellow audience member was during a performance of Handel's Messiah. It just sort of... happened. One second I was thinking "I wish those two would be quiet..." the next I'd turned around and done the "sssh!" thing with a librarian finger on my lips and everything. Apparently my brain doesn't get much of a say in such things. It worked though, and then I felt self-concious for the rest of evening.
I was actually in the cinema once and two people a couple of rows ahead were, ahem, enjoying themselves on the floor. Not the place I'd choose. People were a little too shocked to do anything. Then, halfway through, the girl answered her phone! Not a good sign for the young man's prowess. "No, I don't know what film it is," She said, "I think it's Ghost Ship."
(It was Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Good Film too.)
Oh God, amen, Kit! Every time I've been to see a film in the past year, I've had to put up with this. Ice Age 3 - brat in front of us talking at the top of his lungs constantly while his parents made no attempt to silence him.

Indiana Jones 4 - pack of screeching teenage girls who clearly only went to the cinema so they could giggle loudly, throw popcorn, run up and down the aisle and generally make complete asses of themselves.

10,000 BC - couple who thought it was a good idea to speak aloud with the dialogue all the way through the film.

I could go on. Where do these people come from and why do they go to the cinema?
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