NY Times' Ethicist Joins the 'Civility' Brigade
Randy Cohen, the New York Times' Ethicist, has a typically thorough examination of the practice of texting in his blog today. He examines when it's okay and when it isn't okay.
When it isn't okay is when you're supposed to be paying attention to someone else: in a meeting, during a conversation, while engaged in intercourse, at a movie, concert or stage show. Writes Cohen:
Even a routine conversation demands continuity and the focus of attention: it cannot, without detriment, be disrupted every few moments while someone deals with a text message. More intimate encounters suffer greater harm. In romantic comedy, when someone breaks a tender embrace to take a phone call, that’s a sure sign of love gone bad. After any interruption, it takes a while to regain concentration, one reason few of us want our surgeon to text while she’s performing a delicate neurological procedure upon us. Here’s a sentence you do not want to hear in the operating room or the bedroom: “Now, where was I?”
Of course, hardcore texters will not be moved by Cohen's arguments. The rudeness of texting during a binary encounter -- two workmates, two friends, two family members -- is (or should be) obvious. The lone stranger who texts in the front row of the movie theater probably doesn't give a rodent's rectum whether others perceive him as being "rude." At best he is unaware of his disruptive behavior; at worst he enjoys irritating other people.
But perhaps the tide is turning. When the New York Times speaks, people listen. And I'm glad to see the Gray Lady's large chorus joining my tiny bleat of outrage.
Posted by: spyderjerusalem | July 14, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jimward21 | July 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mfromalexva1 | July 14, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.