What a way to go, death by text…
That’s how a Florida father bit the dust – on “Senior Monday” at a Cobb movie-plex in Tampa. Retired cop Curtis Reeves shot and killed 43 year-old Chad Oulson after complaining to him about Oulson texting his 31/2 year-old daughter. The shooting went down during the previews prior to an afternoon screening of the movie “Lone Survivor.”
“Well, it had to happen,” says fierce anti-text movie critic Jack Poessiger. “Yes, I am down on texting but obviously it’s over-the-top to shoot somebody over it.”
In Poessiger’s world – and other dead serious movie critics and fanatics like Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League – there are no valid excuses for texting or looking at texts on your phone during movies.
Not even for people with young children, seriously ailing relatives or pending personal issues?
“You can’t tell me you can’t go two hours without having a text,” Poessiger quips. “What did you do eight or ten years ago? You would probably text at a damn funeral or at church.”
He’s right, not only would I text at a funeral or church, I probably have.
“Occasionally I text at a movie but I do it discreetly,” echoes 30-something Hairpins stylist Lauren Euston. “I would say, it’s circumstantial – if you have the space and you keep it low – you can turn your screen all the way down so it’s not a distraction. I wouldn’t be like, just chatting or something, because I’d rather watch the movie. But if there was a reason to answer, I’d find a way to do it discreetly. I wouldn’t just be waving it around full blast.”
“I don’t agree, I just don’t believe in doing it in the theater,” Poessiger says. “It’s rude, rude, rude.”
“A lot of old school people just don’t like the cellphone culture,” Euston explains. “There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, but in this day and age it’s something people have to tolerate. There’s just no reason for something like this. The story should be about whether or not somebody got kicked out of the theater, not whether or not he died. No one needs to die because they texted, but people should be considerate.”
As for Poessiger’s contention that years ago people got by without cellphones and texting, people got by without a lot of things in the past – indoor bathrooms, air travel and movies to name three – but times change and customs and behavior change as well.
“It’s not that big a deal,” says my 16 year-old daughter Savannah Christopher. “Because in my generation, I’m used to texing, I’ve grown up texting. Just don’t have your brightness up when you text or your sound on.”
“This incident certainly highlights a problem the motion picture industry has,” Poessiger says. “It puts it right back in the spotlight.”