Saturday, November 08, 2008

Relief for grumps: the child-free cinema

We've all been there. You're in the cinema and all around are children eating nachos, enjoying the movie and being cheerily sociable rather than immovably silent. Now, a cinema chain is offering relief to grumps: child-free film-going.
"cheerily sociable"? Is that an euphemism for "so loud you can't hear the dialoge" or "screaming during a poignant scene and ruining it"?
Adults only screenings of family films aren't just odd, they're dangerous
But it doesn't really make sense, does it? For a start, the most unruly people I've seen in cinemas in the last few weeks were not teenagers – they were people in their twenties. It's a similar story outside the cinema, too. What sort of people cause the most trouble at football matches, or festivals, or on the beach, or when the pubs shut? Adults.

Unless what you're trying to remedy is movie hooligans brawling in the theatre, that's not really relevant.

But there's another thing to remember here. Think of the very British practice of doing things without your children, and what it actually means. These days, more and more people leave their children behind when they go to restaurants, or parties – the latest phenomenon is child-free weddings.

But this is not helpful in the long run, is it? It's by going to these things, over time, that children learn how to behave properly. And it's by leaving their children behind that adults learn how to behave badly. Having adults around forces kids to behave better, and vice versa. Otherwise you end up with adults snorting coke and being sick while their kids watch X-Factor with a babysitter.
So having to go to the movies only during the many showings that allow children, or at another theatre is somehow going to cripple their development?

But what they are doing can be seen as an affront to multiculturalism. And think of the arguments in favour of multiculturalism. If you start segregating people, so that different groups don't have to put up with each others' customs, what happens is that each group just becomes more extreme, and the process intensifies.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that pooping in a diaper and crying for hours at a stretch was considered a 'culture'. This myopic stretch of logic does a disservice to actual multiculturalism.

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Nursedude said...

I gotta say that most of my cinema experiences lately have not been ruined by little kids (they should not be in R rated films, anyway), but kids in their late teens and early 20's who won't shut the hell up. I think common sense and manners have just gone out the window at movies. For 10 bucks a ticket, who needs that aggravation. My wife and I renting a movie tonight.

Anonymous said...

Can we just kick anyone out who is incapable of being quiet and respectful? I don't care how old you are. I'd rather sit next to a quiet kid than an unruly adult.

I don't think babies and toddlers belong at movies though. For one thing, they can't really appreciate them. And they're likely to start crying. There is no sound that grates on my eardrums more than a crying baby or small child.

But ultimately, the real problem is people (parents, in the case of the kids, who can't really control their crying, after all) who don't respect their fellow movie-watchers. I expect silence when I go to the movies and I expect others to do their best to stay out of my personal space. I don't think this is too much to ask. And I don't think children should get a pass on bad behavior just because they're too young to know better. Their parents should know better.

Nursedude said...

Amen, Anonymous, amen