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Thursday, 08 August 2013

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mxyzptlk

I wish I didn't follow those links -- that was rank special pleading. Would Dash have the same cavalier attitude toward casually interrupting other people's lives if every time he tried to tweet someone projected a movie on his screen? If every time he tried to send an email, someone ran up next to him and pumped his fist and yelled "YEAH!"? If every time he tried to make a phone call on his iPhone 42 someone flashed blinking lights in his eyes?

There's a law term for when a hazardous activity endangers not just the individual participating in the act but others not involved in the act as well -- ultrahazardous. A similar term should be applied to mindlessly interrupting others from actually experiencing something they've paid to experience -- ultra-annoyanance, or ultra-assholeness.

SEK

I think "ultra-asshole" will suffice.

Jacob H.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that the movie that you experience is ineluctably created by the shared reaction of the people around you. We're hairless monkeys after all, and the shared "ook ook" we call out in response to a snake or eagle is the ultimate ur-text of contemporary film. But while the yelled "Yeah!" can be a worthy addition to a film (and I confess that both the dreadful Independence Day and the less-dreadful Stargate were superbly enjoyable in the theater because of exactly that kind of vocal reaction among my fellows), there's something totally different about the mid-film tweet-- it seeks to communicate the tweeter's disengagement to those around him, to disrupt the atavistic frisson of pity and of fear that Michael Bay or some other modern Aeschylus is striving to inspire.

mxyzptlk

Jacob H., have you seen the old Bugs Bunny cartoon "8 Ball Bunny"? Throughout the cartoon, Humphrey Bogart keeps showing up as his character Fred Dobbs from Treasure of the Sierra Madre asking Bugs "Hey bud, can you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?" Bogart/Dobbs keeps popping up in the strangest places, interrupting the flow of the cartoon's narrative because he's clearly in the wrong feature. Bugs is visibly annoyed by him because he's trying to get this penguin back to the South Pole, and Dobbs is the only one in the feature who doesn't seem to get that the feature is about Bugs and the penguin, not Dobbs.

That's the same sort of thing you're describing. Everyone else in the feature participates in the plot dealing with the penguin, but Bogart keeps drawing attention away from the feature at hand and to himself -- much to Bugs' irritation. The tweeters, texters and talkers are the ultra-asshole Fred Dobbs's who keep showing up in the wrong feature, thinking they're in Star Bucks of the Sierra Madre, but are actually just in your face.

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