Monday, October 19, 2009

Should Cell Phone Interrupters Be Escorted Off Property?

As technology aids us in everyday work and chores, it also is increasingly intrusive in our lives and the cause of eroding manners.

There's always the person who forgets to turn off or silence their cell phone ringer in a movie theater, in church, at a dinner or special event with guests, etc.

At my church, the reverend will stop in mid sentence and stare down the section or person with such unGodly contempt you're frightened that person's soul will go straight to hell. But his laser stare followed by lecture on respect and manners leaves you sweating out of embarassment for the culprit and serves as painful reminder to turn off the cell phone at the next service. Later the reverend apologizes to the congregation explaining he's deep in thought when sharing the sermon and the cell phones interrupts his train of thought and pierces the post gospel message and momentum. I don't blame him.

This past September, Hugh Jackman was performing on Broadway, A Steady Rain, and at the height of his dramatic performance a cell phone rings in the audience. Jackman breaks character to tell the owner of the ringing cell phone, "You want to get that?" as the audience erupts in cheers. As the ringing persists, Jackman pleads: "Come on, just turn it off." He then paces the stage of the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, waits about a minute for the ringing to stop and the play resumes.

The interruption occurred during an intense moment in the play, when Jackman's character, a Chicago policeman, reveals haunting memories.

A customary loudspeaker announcement reminds theatergoers to turn off their phones. Since the incident, ushers who seat patrons and pass out playbills at Schoenfeld are also instructing patrons to silence their phones.

Should cell phone offenders be asked to leave the theater or church? Maybe that's taking it too far and the harsh glares from those sitting around the culprit is punishment enough. What do you think?

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