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Radical Civility: First We Kill All the Wireless Providers

RadCivlittle.jpgWhose fault is it that people use cellphones inappropriately, yacking in restaurants, texting during movies? I always thought it was the person's fault, but now I'm not so sure.

I saw a movie Saturday night ("Ponyo," the new Miyazaki). The Majestic in Silver Spring has Sprint-sponsored signs posted outside the theaters asking people not to talk on their cellphones. No mention of not texting. Sprint also ran an ad before the film. I forget the exact wording. It was something along the lines of "Right now 375,000 people are waiting for a movie to begin. 400 are using their phones as a flashlight...." And so on.

"Using their phones as a flashlight"? Well maybe if you're in anaphylactic shock and you dropped your Epipen on the floor and you're trying to find it, okay. But cheerily announcing that people in movie theaters are using their cellphones as flashlights, and not following that up with "800 fellow movie patrons are preparing to garrote them with their Twizzlers," seems to me to be condoning in-theater cellphone use.

Sprint is not a friend to Radical Civility.

Neither, I'm afraid, is AT&T. A recent AT&T Mobile Connection on-line newsletter lists six etiquette tips for cellphone use. Here's the last one:

If you’re at a play, a restaurant, a concert or any other kind of public entertainment venue, be sure to shut off your phone, or send a text message or email instead of talking. “The people around you may feel like they just paid to be disturbed,” says Felix Lee, 28, a technician. “There’s a reason pay phones were never located table-side. Why should cell phones be any different?” [Emphasis added.]

Send a text message or e-mail? No! No no no no no!

I realize I have been naive. I thought the cellphone companies were blameless. I thought people were capable of modulating their own mobile phone use. I realize now that the cellphone industrial complex wants us to be using our cellphones as often as possible, 24 hours a day. When we're not talking, we should be texting.

Refusing to send or receive a text during a movie is an ideal way to fight corporate power. If you continue to "send a text message instead of talking"--or use your cellphone as a flashlight--you're just a capitalist stooge.

By John Kelly  |  September 8, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Radical Civility  
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"garrote them with their Twizzlers"?? Funniest thing I've read all day.

Posted by: Akinoluna | September 8, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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