Apr 152003
Authors: Ken Hamner

The New York City Council has just passed a law, overriding the mayor’s veto, that bans cell phones in any “indoor theater, library, museum, gallery, motion picture theater, concert hall or building in which theatrical, musical, dance, motion picture, lecture or other similar performances are exhibited.”

Anyone who violates the law is subject to a $50 fine. Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the law quite simply because he believed that it wasn’t enforceable. Apparently New York has a lot of theaters (go figure?) and there can’t possibly be a police office in every performance to issue cell phone tickets. However, there should be. The people have spoken and the mayor must somehow deal with the law. That’s his problem. My problem is that I don’t think the law went far enough.

Cell phones are a nuisance that cannot be denied. But what of other nuisances? There are other things that go on during movie and other theater performances that are just as, if not more, frequent as a cell phone ring and just as annoying.

How about laser pointer use? The “comical” application of using laser pointers by some to circle something humorous on screen during a performance or a work of art in a museum is very irritating. I give that a $120 fine.

Then there are the sick people who just “have” to go to a show. You know the type – always sneezing or coughing or blowing their nose. First of all, it’s loud and annoying. Second of all, these people are spreading all manners of harmful pathogens all over the wonderful theater. For being loud and for being a health risk, I say any sick person caught sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose should be fined $300.

But why stop there? Hungry people definitely detract from my enjoyment of a theater performance. Take, for example, those popcorn eaters. If the sound of the rustling and crunching wasn’t detracting enough, consider the aroma from these bags that permeates every nook of the theater establishment. How can anyone concentrate on a movie when they are salivating uncontrollably? For this reason, anyone caught eating popcorn or other foods during a theater presentation should be fined at least $35. In the same vein, soda drinkers, particularly those who use straws, should be fined at least $25. Who wants to hear slurping during a show?

Oh, and let us not forget about the talkers and the whisperers. These people are always making some comment or other about what’s going on up on stage or on the screen. They just won’t shut up! They should get fined $100.

Likewise, those people that have uncontrollable emotional outburst during a show, be it laughing or crying, must be stopped because they detract from the audio portion of a theater show. They should be fined at least $50.

People who bring young children to the theater should beware as well, for youthful question asking, giggling or crying severely detract from important things being shown on stage. They should be fined $75 for daring to bring family to a family event.

With these and other laws in place, the theaters, libraries and museums of our country may soon be distraction free. With a policeman in every theater, I pity anyone who tries to detract from any performance, quite moment or work of art. Yay for America!

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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