May 29, 2007

Stop snitching

regalx.jpg USA Today reports on a new device that will easily allow movie audiences to "clamp down on disruptions, including cellphone use, talking and gross littering." Just push a button and you can alert managers to problems with the picture or sound, or to assholes in the row behind you. In New York, of course, alerting the manager won't actually get the assholes to shut up, but at least you'll be able to enjoy the fistfight that breaks out when the attempt is made.

One analyst says theater owners are implementing these measures because the DVD experience is so much better these days, "certain people don't go to the movies anymore." As one of those people, I can tell you one thing that's wrong with this device. It's being given only to "customers in Regal's loyalty points program." I don't even know what that is... because I don't go to the movies anymore. My guess is that anyone enrolled in this program is likely to be someone who either makes noise in the theater, or doesn't care if other people do.

Buried at the end of the article is the real reason these devices exist: one of the buttons is for reporting "piracy." No doubt these are being pushed by studios that don't really care what your moviegoing experience is like, as long as they get the money from it.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Another reason to hate this device:

It is yet another way in which we are removing ourselves from contact with our fellow human beings. It is the same ridiculous concept espoused by nearly all corporate HR departments that values conflict avoidance over any true problem resolution or, god forbid, making people sack up and work out their own problems.

Well, that's a nice thought, but have you ever heard the following conversation at a movie theater?

"Excuse me, your loud conversation is disurbing me."

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I'll be quiet now."

I didn't think so. Either people ask politely and get ignored, or they ask rudely and start a fight, or they don't say anything. I'd be happy to have the device. For maximum problem resolution, I'll take one that opens a trap door to a tiger pit. I go to movies for interaction with cars that turn into robots, not my fellow human beings.

Quote from the Fark comments on this story: "If I got ahold of one of those things, I would go see Pirates of the Caribbean and hold down the "piracy" option the entire film."

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