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NYC Law Aims To Ban Cell Phones In Theatres

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the when-moral-suasion-isn't-enough dept.

United States 1047

LunarFox writes: "This article on Wired says a New York City councilman is trying to ban cellphones in 'places of public performance'. It would be the first legislation of its kind, following the recent state-wide ban on cellphone use while driving. Wired mentions that actor Laurence Fishburne, in the middle of a Broadway performance, yelled to an audience member to "turn your f___ing phone off!" And here I thought I was the only one who didn't like hearing Flight of the Bumblebee as a ringtone."

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FP (-1, Troll)

Loman (545971) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095180)

First post! or at least 2nd or 3rd post.

Thank God! (1)

Shant3030 (414048) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095181)

This law should be inacted everywhere!!! Thats all i have to say about that...

Re:Thank God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095239)

Should outlaw their use by drivers/operators of motor vehicles as well. I can't tell you how many times I've had to use severe defensive measures (swerving off the road, slamming on breaks, etc.) to avoid colliding with someone who is yapping on their phone and decides to change into the lane that I am currently driving in.

Sense of proportion needed (4, Insightful)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095274)

There's a huge difference between enacting a law to preserve public saftey and enacting one to prevent morons from annoying you.

This is a case where "the market" can regulate itself; theatres which strictly enforce bans on audible phones and beepers will do better than ones which don't.

It's also a case where social pressures (such as being yelled at by actors) is probably sufficient without adding even more trivial cases to an overloaded judiciary system.

Re:Thank God! (0)

azzy (86427) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095334)

We _want_ this sort of controlling law to be passed? I don't think so!
Better to leave it to the theatre itself to ban people.

Re:Thank God! (0, Offtopic)

ericdano (113424) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095350)


How comes California doesn't have the law yet? I'm SOOOO sick of the SUV assholes who drive without signaling while talking on the phone........

It's about time (2, Redundant)

fishlet (93611) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095186)

Specificly, those annoying 'tunes' that cell phones play... turn the F#$#$# things off. After all, people pay good money to enjoy such public performances, not listen to your phone. It's a shame that laws have to be passed to enforce what should just be common courtesy

Fourth post? (-1)

Lord High Troll (592664) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095187)

I had to run my mouth before I logged in. Damn your two minute ban! Kiss this! [goatse.cx]

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095189)

What else can I say? It's about time!

Great, more legislation (1, Interesting)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095193)

Will that really solve anything? If people lack "home training" so as to lack consideration of others, what will a new law do to dissuade them?

This rush to legislate morality is the same thing that brought us the DMCA, US PATRIOT, etc.

This is New York for crissakes. It will be upheld as much as the jay-walking laws.

Re:Great, more legislation (1)

beens (96257) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095244)

I don't think this is about legislating morality (ala the prohibition in the 20s and laws regarding prostituion today) as much as it is trying to establish rules which will keep people from each others throats. I still disagree with the enactment of such laws, as social darwinism ought to stamp out those behaviors which society as a whole frowns upon.

Why then, is this cellphone thing still a problem? How many of you have let your phone ring in a public place? More than once? How many of you that kvetch about custom rings have one yourself, but justify it by stating things like "Oh, but mine is quiet" or "I always pick up on the first ring". How many of you stare blithely into space as your friends' phones play the first 64 bars of Fur Elise?

Problems like this will persist as long as individuals attempt to hold others to standards that they themselves don't adhere to. Laws regarding the problems will accomplish nothing (as seen in the case of jaywalking) - the problem ends once everyone who speaks out against a problem in public forums actually follows through with their rhetoric.

A nice stiff $500 fine would be good. (3, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095301)

Nuff said, esp all those stupid kids in the movie theaters who have the gall to ANSWER the phone and TALK for 10 mins! Kick them out and fine them broke as shit so they can't see any more movies.

Re:A nice stiff $500 fine would be good. (2, Interesting)

vipw (228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095320)

Perhaps petition the venue to create a cellphone policy and permanently ban offenders. There are better ways of accomplishing your goals than having the obnoxious oppressed by the police.

Obnoxiously oppressed?? They're the obnoxious! (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095331)

Are you that daft? It's their own damn fault! If they dont have common sense, or cant follow the law, boom! $500 fine! Bet they dont do it again!

Re:Great, more legislation (-1)

evi1b0b (534251) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095310)

I don't know how you make the leap to "legislating morality," as the city is not advocating any specific moral behavior (hint: cell phone use in theaters has nothing to do with morals). It is simply punishing people for being an extraordinary nuisance to others. This is hardly different from noise ordinances. As a bonus, these rules don't infringe on the right to use a cell phone. It's a good law.

It sends a message (5, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095319)

Sure, the law might not be enforced by cops, but it basically says to cell phone users that the people of this city doesn't sanction the use of cell phones during artistic performances. That's a clear social sanction.

Seems to me this is not legislating morality at all. It's legislating what people can or cannot do in a public place. It has nothing to do with morality, but everything to do with people in large groups being able to get along without wringing each other's necks.

I'm adamantly opposed to DMCA, US Patriot, etc, but comparing those two misguided pieces of legislation to a simple prohibition in one city agains the use of cell phones in theaters is pretty silly.

Re:Great, more legislation (1)

boomer_rehfield (579777) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095328)

Well, as soon as that "home training" cures the murder rate, I'm sure this will be next on the list....

Re:Great, more legislation (5, Insightful)

3583 Bytes Free (599675) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095349)

I think that this problem -- the need to legislate good manners -- is the result of American individualism run amok. "If there's no law against it, then I have the right to do it." Many have pointed out that Europeans are quite at ease with cell phones. Maybe most Americans are pretty good about it, but there are enough who don't give a damn about the people around them that it is a true nuisance.

I wish the government would spend its time and money encouraging people to educate their kids, be responsible for themselves, and to be citizens who take an active part in the betterment of society rather than trying to control people through micromanagment via petty ordinances.

Common Courtesy (5, Funny)

ender81b (520454) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095196)

This isn't exactly something that should be a law. It's like outlawing putting your elbows on the table,farting at the table, etc. It is simple bad manners that people need to realize. Maybe a sign 'please shut off your cell phones.' Alot of people just forget and alot of people just don't care. Fine. Use the ol' peer pressure to get them to realize that it is a damm good idea to turn off there cellphones. How much you want to bet that the person mr. fishbourne yelled at will never leave his/her cellphone on in a movie theater/play/whatever again? Than again, if I have to hear another goddam cellphone go off in a movie I just might have to kill someone. Nothing ruins a nice porn .. er movie flick than a cellphone going off.

Re:Common Courtesy (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095243)

"It's like outlawing putting your elbows on the table,farting at the table, etc."

Not really. If I go to a concert, I'm going -- and more importantly for this discussion, paying -- to hear a concert. Cell phones/pagers going off disrupt the experience. Your examples above would be better ones if you were paying to go somewhere to see people eat. Not just going to the restraunt, because then your main purpose is to eat, and someone else having their elbows on the table doesn't affect your eating.

Re:Common Courtesy (2)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095294)

I can't ever remember wanting to hit someone really hard for putting their elbows on the table. I have wanted to do this in a movie theater.

Re:Common Courtesy (4, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095365)

>> Maybe a sign 'please shut off your cell phones.' Alot of people just forget

I don't know where you go see movies, but I haven't seen one in about five years that hasn't been preceded by some little picture of a dancing tub of popcorn or some such nonsense, reminding me to buy coke, throw away my trash, buy coke, don't talk, buy coke, turn off my cell phone, and buy coke. Point is, the messages are there, people just do not give a damn. And that, you can't legislate. (Although I expect it to soon be mandatory to buy coke.)

A hypothetical future scenario. (4, Funny)

Teknogeek (542311) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095197)

The Time: December 18th, 2002
The Place: A theater in New York City

Gandalf the White: "I come back to you now..."
Some idiot's cell phone: RING RING RING!!!
Usher (to idiot): "You're under arrest."
Patrons: "Whoo-hoo!"

Listen to Laurence Fishburne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095201)

For Morpheus is the light and the way...

Legislating everything under the sun (2, Insightful)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095203)

I can understand wishing to impose penalties on drivers who threaten the safety of others by devoting their attention to a cell phone. I don't think the law should be used to punish what are effectively breaches of etiquette, though. It seems like using a sledgehammer to kill an annoying fly.

Maybe it's time (2, Interesting)

whirred (182193) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095204)

When I went to see Storytelling, the new Todd Solondz movie, this one guy in the theater had his phone ring. He answered. Not in a hushed tone, and not to say anything like "I'm in a movie, can't talk" and hanging up.

He spent several minutes talking at a fairly audible volume saying things like "Nothing much, just watching a movie".

The audience was hissing at him, shushing him, and finally someone shouted "Would you please get off the fucking phone?"

The guy kept talking for another minute, then got off the phone, then took off. Needless to say, it fucked up that part of the movie pretty badly.

Because not enough people have the common courtesy to TURN THEIR PHONE OFF during movies and performances, perhaps a nice stiff fine of around 250 - 500 dollars per incident would keep things under control.

Banning cell phone use in cars is just stupid. Maybe it's because I'm from the bay area, but using a cell phone while driving is a god given right as far as I'm concerned, as long as you remember to pay full attention to the road. If they're going to ban cell phones while driving, they need to ban radios, conversations and other passengers altogether, especially children.

All of these can be more distracting than cell phones.

Re:Maybe it's time (4, Insightful)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095247)

Well, maybe an usher shoulda thrown him
out. That's a job for an usher, not for a cop.

Re:Maybe it's time (2)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095307)

In high school, when I worked in a movie theatre, the ushers were there to let people in, and to clean up afterwards. Unless someone complains, there usually won't be anyone from the theatre staff in there to notice, especially in a multiplex, where they have 5 people trying to manage 10 different crowds coming in and out.

The idea of of the law, I think, is to put limits on the usage of cellphones, especially for the clueless who assume that if there isn't a law against it, they can do whatever they wan't. Well, thanks to them, there's now a law...

Re:Maybe it's time (3, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095259)

I'm surprised that somebody didn't just go up to the guy and beat the shit out of him.

Re:Maybe it's time (5, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095272)

>>it's because I'm from the bay area, but using a cell phone while driving is a god given right as far as I'm concerned, as long as you remember to pay full attention to the road.

Which is nearly impossible for the brain, as numerous scientific studies have shown.

>>If they're going to ban cell phones while driving, they need to ban radios

You listen to a radio only. Unless you're using a cell phone to call in. Listening to music (or even a talk/news show) is far different from carrying on a conversation.

>>conversations and other passengers altogether,

Conversations with other passengers aren't as dangerous, because if you for instance start to swirve, the other person can go "look out" while the guy at the other end of the phone will keep yakking away because he doesn't know any better, and your brain will try - and fail - to both concentrate on the phone call and correct the situation. Pretty much the only exception to this is small children.

Re:Maybe it's time (0, Flamebait)

whirred (182193) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095304)

Sorry kind sir, but you're utterly full of shit on this one.

Talking on a cell phone is in no way anymore dangerous than fiddling with a CD player, changing radio stations, or talking to other passengers. These "numerous studies" you mention either don't exist or are likely quite biased.

Statistics can prove any aspect of any argument, as can "numerous studies".

I think having conversations with passengers is easily more dangerous, as anyone here can agree with me on, because you are more likely to make gestures or attempt eye contact.

As for radios - no one "listen[s] to radio only". They often channel surf whenever commericals come on, or they fast forward or skip songs on their radios.

And don't get me started on kids. I have nothing against kids and obviously they can't be banned, but I have seen more people distracted while driving by their offspring than cell phones at all.

Re:Maybe it's time (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095347)

speaking from personal experience I have seen one too many people swerve from one lane to another, go through stop lines etc, all while holding a phone to their ears.

I think its a coincidence more than anything but there probably is a statistical link to increased bad behaviour with cell phone usage.

One problem people jump at is the accidents. Just because you're a shitty driver doesn't mean you will always get in accidents. It just means you make life for the others around you less enjoyable [e.g. you cut them off, speed or don't go fast enough, etc...]

Also WTF is up with these stupid ringers? Can't a phone either just vibrate or go "beep beep". must it play the 1812 symphony at 300dB???


Re:Maybe it's time (1)

spectral (158121) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095303)

Clarification: In New York State, the cellphones in cars aren't banned, it's holding on to them that is. Conversation in cars happens all the time, so banning a cell phone on the principle that a conversation would be distracting is kind of stupid. We can't drive and hold on to the cell phone at the same time. Use an ear bud and microphone or something, and you're fine.

Re:Maybe it's time (2)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095306)

I don't think the state-wide ban in NY is on using a cell while driving, it's on using the handset. If you use a hands-free, you're fine. It's always the idiots trying to hold the phone to their ear while shifting, eating a doughnut, flipping the radio stations or changing cds, and drinking a coffee that forget to steer the fucking car.

Re:Maybe it's time (3, Insightful)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095329)

Maybe you should have told him to turn off the fucking phone after the first 30 seconds. If you tell him loud enough that he can't hear the conversation, you're doing good. Too many people are sheep and pussies, maybe both.

Re:Maybe it's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095352)

In sweden I noticed that some cinema centers have added something that kills the cellphone waves. So there is noone disturbing you while you watch the movie. Though, still people buy candy bags thats really annoying.

Hopefully more cinemas will adapt this in other countries too, if they havent!

Too many laws are stupid ..... (4, Interesting)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095205)

Some RIAA nut said "DMCA, that law should be enacted everywhere.", now look what happened.

I prefer Laurence's method. Group humiliation of stupid people is always entertaining.

Finally, a somewhat decent law I can agree with... (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095206)

Laws to enfore what should be etiquette? What's next? Laws to enforce morals? Oh wait...

AHH! Puns! (0)

fmita (517041) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095207)

Thats very CELLfish of them!
The film cells have a right to communicate!

Cheers to new york! (0)

Elpacoloco (69306) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095210)

New york, most crowded place on earth, has finally agreed that cell phones can be annoying in certain public places.

Why do you think these places are called "Auditoriums" if you can't hear (Latin "Audium")?

Damn cell phone junkies....

Re:Cheers to new york! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095302)

New York the most crowded place on earth? You obviously haven't been to Asia, e.g. Hong Kong and Tokyo.

And you think you have it bad with the cell phones? Some idiots in Hong Kong have more than one mobile phone (usually for cheating on the wife - she calls one, sex object calls another), and they think it's their god given right to have it on at all times and in all places.

duct-tape people's mouths shut too... (5, Funny)

mitzman (523507) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095211)

I don't know how much this irritates other people, but cell phones in theaters are the worst. I was out seeing Signs a few weeks ago and during some of the most suspensful scenes someone's cell phone would go off. Damnit I hate that. It just ruins the essence of the film.

Now this doesn't stop people from talking. Sitting behind me were 4 people, 3 girls and 1 guy. They wouldn't shut the hell up! I mean, an insightful or sarcastic comment every now and then is ok, but carrying on a conversation (and one that didn't have anything to do with the movie) is just down-right rude. I sure don't pay $9 to hear someone else talk about the itch that appeared after sleeping with a guy, or the test they cheated on in school. The solution: They should have a duct tape dispenser at the ticket-taker booth and every single person should have their mouths taped shut. There we go, a solution to all the problems.

Vote with your feet (2)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095283)

I'd leave the show and demand my money back. I'm paying for an enjoyable movie experience, and if the theatre can't deliver, they should reap the consequences.

Talking during the movies - they should issue cluesticks specifically for beating the crap out of these kinds of people...

Re:Vote with your feet (2)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095333)

The other way to vote with your feet is to bust one of them straight up the ass of anyone rude enough to engage in such chatter in a theatre.

Re:duct-tape people's mouths shut too... (2)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095343)

But you just said a comment every once in a while is okay. I'm not liking the idea that I'm taped up too for what I MIGHT do.

what about people who are oncall? (1)

Desmoden (221564) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095212)

While I agree it's rude to not put it on silent, this is a issues of manners and should NOT be regulated by law.


Re:what about people who are oncall? (1)

mitzman (523507) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095289)

I think they have every right to regulate this. We're not stifling anybody's freedoms here. We're simply saying that for the good of the public, take your inconsiderate butt outside and talk there. Now if you're a doctor or emt or whatnot, yes it's important to have a phone, but keep it on vibrate. Know what I do when I go to the movies? I LEAVE MY PHONE IN THE CAR! There is no reason for me to have a phone inside the theater and no reason for anyone else to have one.

I also think that nobody under 18 should have a cell phone. Can anyone explain why a 13 year old kid needs a cell phone? And not because "everybody else has one." When i was a teenager, I used a payphone to call home!

Re:what about people who are oncall? (1)

reyalsnogard (595701) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095293)



Re:what about people who are oncall? (2)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095325)

Maybe people who are on call should stay out of movie theatres? Is there really a *need* to go to a movie? Is it something you can go see when you're *not* on call? What about the on call sys admin? Should he take his laptop to the theatre so he can work on any problems that my arise? Gah...here comes the clue-by-four...

Another article and misleading poll (1)

TimeTrip (254631) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095215)

Here is an article from Newsday [newsday.com] . The most fascinating part if how the article strictly talks about cell phones at public performances.. but then a poll asks "Should cell phones be banned in educational and recreational venues?"

As would be expected, most people vote yes, because they read the article and don't pay attention to the actual wording of the poll.

Better than cell phone jammers (2, Insightful)

serps (517783) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095219)

Some of the technological solutions offered last time this came up on Slashdot talked about cell phone jammers. If it's a civil offense, you can forget to turn your phone off and the worst you can happen is that you get fined. If you are getting jammed, the worst that can happen is that you can't call 911 when you have to, then your family sues the state government for damages after you die.

If you really need your phone, then your company won't mind sucking up the fines when you're called back to the server farm or hospital or wherever you're needed.

Re:Better than cell phone jammers (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095285)

>>If you are getting jammed, the worst that can happen is that you can't call 911 when you have to

We went over this when that conversation was on. Theaters have pay phones; 911 is a free call. If the time it takes someone to get to the pay phone makes a difference in your survival, the chance you would have made it anyway is very, very slim. In fact, until they get that location locator system set up, using a pay phone very well could be quicker than making a cell phone call.

waste of time (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095220)

This law is unenforceable so why waste the time? A better law may be to force manufactures to only offer vibrate on cell phones.

Today's dilbert... (2, Funny)

thelinuxking (574760) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095221)

Today's dilbert [dilbert.com] sums this whole thing up nicely :)

Bah (5, Insightful)

GrumpyYoYoHead (602135) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095223)

Ban those whining, crying babies, those are more annoying.

Only in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095224)

Only in America would good manners be supplanted by a legal statute...

Yelling (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095227)

"Wired mentions that actor Laurence Fishburne, in the middle of a Broadway performance, yelled to an audience member to 'turn your f___ing phone off!'"

I wish I was there for that...

Re:Yelling (2)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095288)

Can anyone think of something more publically embarassing than this? Could you imagine the trip home with your friends after getting chewed out by Morpheus himself? "Free your mind, but not your weekend minutes"

Re:Yelling (2)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095336)

Yea, did anyone sneak a video camera in and bootleg it?

...fuck that's illegal too, huh...

Rights (4, Funny)

rat7307 (218353) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095228)

Sign in theatre:

Patrons have the right to have their mobile telephones/pagers on in this theater as long as they agree that other patron have the right to pour Coke (or similar) over the phone users head

Happy all round!!

Re:Rights (3, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095300)

That would be fine with me. Or perhaps "Patrons have the right to have their mobile telephones/pagers on in this theater as long as they agree that other patrons may grab said phone and hurl it across the room as hard as they can and want."


penginkun (585807) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095231)

Now if we could just get the things banned while driving... Whatever happened to that in NY, anyway? I heard Limbaugh piss and moan about how it would kill the entertainment industry (in NY? How's THAT supposed to work?) and then I didn't hear one way or the other if it'd passed.

I want a law passed in California making it illegal not to shoot the assholes who drive and talk at the same time.

The Gov't should not need to be involved (2)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095232)

Very simple way to fix this without wasting a legislators (read MY TAX $) time.

You own a theater. You make a rule (not a law) that says.: NO CELL PHONES, BEEPERS, ET AL ALLOWED.

I really don't see why the government needs to be involved here. Cell phones in cars, dangerous, cell phones in theaters annoying. Let the theater owners deal with this.

Or have Vin Diesel act in a B'Way show and have him beat the shit out of the first hickory assed scumbag who gets a phone call. Suddenly cell phone useage in a Theater will seem like a bad idea.

Then again.... (1, Insightful)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095233)

... FAA regulations prohibit the use of cell phones while in flight.

"Let's Roll", anyone?

What's next? (1)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095234)

A law forbidding talking during

The lawmakers have nothing better to do?

This is not even second-hand smoking - so
if I, hypothetically, want to open
a theatre where you are allowed to talk
on the cellphone?


Two Words (1)

djaxl (543958) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095236)

Faraday cage [google.com] .

Timothy, you are teh ghey cock5uxor! (-1)

Lord High Troll (592664) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095245)

What is a "similar Microsoft"?


Obnoxious Jews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095248)

Have you ever noticed how it is always a loud mouth obnoxious pushy Jew who is yacking on a cell phone in a theatre or a restaurant? The selfishness of Jews knows no bounds. The Jew does not care if he ruins an evenings entertainment for others. Something should be done.

I wonder what they'd do if (1)

danitor (600348) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095251)

This [flong.com] ever came to New York----- "Hey! Turn your f____ing phone ON!!!!"

Performances ban cameras, etc- why not cellphones? (1)

finnatic (105191) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095252)

I've been to performances (typically music concerts) where the ticket has has small print regarding the prohibition of cameras, recording devices etc. I've always presumed that those caught with them get bounced by the security personnel...

It strikes me that the venues could ban cellphones in a similar way. Have a cellphone with you that you've left on and somebody rings you on? Fine, meet the bouncers - Mr XXY and Mr XXXY, who will now proceed to take you and your cellphone outside so you can take your call. Want to go back in again? Sir, didn't you read the smallprint on your ticket/ticket holder?

Story Time (5, Funny)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095256)

Few years ago during "the college years", I was taking Math 46, Differentials. For some reason cell phones would ring EVERY day in class, sometimes two or three times. The teacher was *quite* annoyed but he was being far too polite about the whole mess.

One day, a phone rings and it was the scooby doo theme, my buddy next to me says "FAAAAG!!!" and the whole class bursts out laughing. The next day another phone rings and I yell "FAAAAAAG!!!". This went on for about two weeks until everyone got the picture: Turn your phone off or the entire class is going to laugh at you and call you a fag.

Social pressure really worked in this case, people started using vibrate mode, and it was a good thing.

So to Laurence Fishburne: way to go!

(now I know someone is going to attack with some PC crap about the word fag -- get over yourself, that was what really happened, and it was funny, and I dont wanna hear it :)

Stop using the word fag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095271)

A fag is a stick that is burnt, not a person whose cell phone goes off. FAG.

Re:Stop using the word fag, dumbass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095292)

Look at this link [wordsmyth.net] and NO its not goatse.cx!

Re:Story Time (0, Insightful)

Betelgeuse (35904) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095314)

(now I know someone is going to attack with some PC crap about the word fag -- get over yourself, that was what really happened, and it was funny, and I dont wanna hear it :)

The point is, regardless of whether or not it happened, it was still an incredibly offensive thing to say and you have admitted that you took part in this. The point is not that someone being a "fag" is a bad thing (as the word has come to mean in popular usage); the point is that it is used (and continues to be used) in an incredibly vicious way attacking people who are gay.

And I'm really sick of people accusing other people who speak out about these things as being wrapped up in some "PC crap." For me, this is exactly the same as the people who would get labeled as "too sensitive" when, about 40 years ago, they would object to people using the word "nigger." Now, there certainly are cases where people get upset for the sake of being upset (and are overly politically correct), but this just is not one of them. It's incredibly offensive and you shouldn't take pride in the fact that you joined in with it.

Re:Story Time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095342)

Shut up, queer.

Yacking In Theaters (1)

hackerc (461641) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095257)

In PA the drivers are bad enough without cell phones if their going to do this kind of legislation it should be that you can drive with a hands free set. I can't even recall how many times I've had a near miss cause some moron lost control of his vehicle or tried to merge into me while driving and talking with a phone. As for public theaters the last several movies I went to there were at least one couple talking to each other and one ring. If were going to ban phone in theaters we need to make a law aginst talking. Theres nothing more annoying than two elderly people going back in forth "What did he say!" "Whats going on, I'm lost?" "Who is that I haven't seen them in any movies before"

vigilantism is better (1)

SlugLord (130081) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095258)

I mean really, wouldn't it be much better if we had some sort of secret vigilante organization. They could have like orbital rail guns or uzi-toting children as their instruments of fear.

In all seriousness, though, it's certainly better than putting your theater in a faraday cage [slashdot.org] .

Re:vigilantism is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095299)

One great way to have revenge is if you know the offender's car, cut off the valve stems to his tires with nippers. Cut at least two valve stems, then he can't use his spare. This is a quick, quiet way to get someone. I always carry a pair of nippers in my glove box. I usually use them on someone who has hogged me out of a parking space.

A law?! What's next? (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095260)

I had to sit through a showing of "Cast Away" where 3 families brought their kids, 2 of them would take turns crying through the movie, and the 3rd proceeded to run up and down the aisles.
Ushers were called in twice, chastised the families, but refused to bounce them.

Or how about being in an audience with a buncha rowdy teens who like to talk back to the screen?

So tell me... will the US Government protect me from screaming children by allowing me to call the police on them during the show?

What's next, is the US Government going to force me to watch the show? Will a quiz be given afterwards to confirm that I followed the letter of the theaters EULA?

Geez people... They've already got cellphone jammers, if the theater has such a problem with it, buy them and use them... if they're afraid that they'll accidentally jam a doctor's pager from getting a message about a heart attack patient, then DON'T USE THEM and pay more for your ushers to kick them out... But stop with the stupid laws already!

Valid reasons for leaving your phone on.. (1)

fadeaway (531137) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095262)

What some people don't understand is that sometimes people NEED to leave their cellphone on. For example, my mother, who cares for the handicapped, has her cellphone on WHEREVER she goes. It's programmed so that even if the ringer is turned off, a call identified as being from her work will still ring. This is so that in case of emergency at her work, she will be always available to respond.

This came up a few months ago while she was at the theatre. When one of the residents at the home she works at pitched a fit and seriously injured one of the employees, and she was needed to come in to replace the employee and secure the residence. When she was called, the people in the theatre started giving her a lot of grief, and after a few quick attempts to explain the situation and apologize, she had to leave. She was totally embarassed, and slightly frightened for her safety, but it's a necissary evil.

For those who might ask "What about vibrate mode?", it doesn't work very well well you're female and the phone is in your purse.

Let's not forget about the doctors and nurses and emergency workers when we're about to lay into users of these ringing cell phones.

Re:Valid reasons for leaving your phone on.. (3, Insightful)

smoondog (85133) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095326)

Fine. I agree that cell phones are important to many people. BUT, that said, those people shouldn't be going to the theatre, opera or anything else when they think they *might* receive a call. Why on earth should we suffer because some doctor wants to see a movie? I work in the dept of medicine at a major university (as a PhD scientist) and I think many of us realize this exact dilema and deal with it appropriately. Don't complain about the importance of cell phones until we ban them from your homes and the streets.


Re:Valid reasons for leaving your phone on.. (1)

fadeaway (531137) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095355)

Why should a doctor not go to see a movie because it might result in 30 seconds of annoyance? They're people, they require entertainment.

Just because they're on call 24 hours a day in order to save lives, does that mean they should sit indoors in an effort not to offend you with their ringing phone?

Re:Valid reasons for leaving your phone on.. (2, Insightful)

shird (566377) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095335)

For those who might ask "What about vibrate mode?", it doesn't work very well well you're female and the phone is in your purse.

Then don't keep it in your purse. Why should others have to suffer the implications of your phone ringing in the middle of the movie just so you can be 'fashionable' or more comfortable or whatever. If you expect that you might be contacted in the middle of a movie, then it is up to you to make sure it doesn't affect anyone else. If you can't manage that, then you shouldn't be entering a public place where there are social norms in place which discourage this behaviour.

Re:Valid reasons for leaving your phone on.. (2)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095344)

Perhaps she needs a bluetooth earpiece to receive pages/calls without bothering other people? Somebody, hurry up and put this sucker into production so we needn't worry about accidentally beating the crap out some poor schlob who forgot to turn his/her cellphone/pager off during a movie.

Geez, wrong law! (2)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095263)

They should ban fat people first who block out the whole theater's view. Cell phones are just a momentary distraction, whereas that fat lady in front of you blocks out the whole movie the whole time! And don't even get me started on those girls who, like, talk, like the whole time, ya know?, and ... get the picture? what-ever.

Timothy/Slashdot offended by F word? (0)

weeerdo (267629) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095265)

although the word "fucking" was spelled out in the Wired article, it was edited out in the Slashdot post.


I already heard about this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095266)

yeah, all yall HOAZ!!

Well, I NEVER... (5, Funny)

willith (218835) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095278)

You know what I think we should do about cellular phones in public...


Oh, excuse me for a second.

Hey, what's up?

Naw, I'm just posting on Slashdot.

Slashdot. You know. It's like, a big web site thingy. People post comments and stuff. It's kind of like the Roman senate if the Roman senate had been populated by thirty thousand incensed midgets.

Yeah, I know. I TOTALLY get that all the time.

Cell phones. We're talking about cellular phones in public places.

I *KNOW*! That TOTALLY drives me insane. Like, when you're talking to someone and their phone rings and they start talking on their phone instead of to you?

Totally. So, what's up with you? How's it going....

Why not just block cell phone signals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095279)

That seems like a better idea to me than legislation. People will always forget to turn off their cells.

And another point: I have no more sympathy for cell-using moviegoers than the next Slashdotter. But art galleries and libraries? If quiet conversation with a *live* person is acceptable there, why can't you talk with a *distant* person quietly? For people who are too loud (over cell phone or not) these places should already have rules.

Re:Why not just block cell phone signals? (2)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095357)

Blocking won't work because of liability issues. The first time someone misses an emergency call because blocking/jamming technology is used wherever they are, it'll be multimillion-dollar lawsuit time.

Just throwing the ignorant or forgetful asswipes out of the theater won't work well, either. But if they get fined one or two hundred bucks, that will most likely give their memory and courtesy a little boost the next time.

IMHO, a fine won't work as well as a healthy dose of Angry Mob Justice, but the fine is much more likely to be legislated into existence. :-)


Vibrate function (1, Insightful)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095282)

Its funny how many people have vibrate functions on their cellphone and STILL have it ringing like a banshee in the most inopportune times. I only have my cellphone on ring when I'm in the car. All other times, I let it buzz me.

Thinking ahead... (4, Interesting)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095284)

While they're at it, they should pass a law banning the expansion of cellular service to subway tunnels.

One of the saving graces of the NYC subway is that, for the most part, people pretty much shut the fuck up. Unfortunately, cellular companies are currently researching the economical benefits of expanding service to the underground. Combine cramped quarters with non-stop blabber and I fear everybody might turn into Colin Furgeson.

It's retarded (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095291)

Legislating laws like this will be impossible to enforce and are just plainly stupid. One simple way to prevent people from ruining the experience of shows is just get the management more involved in making sure that the patrons enjoy their show. They should have employees either watching the movie in different locations or just basically be more accessible to the audience so they can remove the ones that ruin the experience for others.

I've been to too many a movie where a bunch of idiots kept on talking throughout the whole show and were talking on the phone. Would they do the same if they were thrown out of the theater once or twice?.. maybe if they were banned from entering that would be nice too. Legislation on this topic will just give another excuse for cops to waste their time while on "patrol". Yeah, I'd love to see police watching a movie while on duty.

Their next step should be to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095318)

Ban Muslims from living. Fucking Towelheads.

What about doctors and such? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4095322)

I'm curious would it allow doctors who go to performances to have their cell phone in case of an emergency?

I used to get annoyed about cell phones until I read an article about a couple of parents who interuppted an opera with a cell phone to learn that their son's liver transplant had failed, since then I have gotten a lot more patient.

Re:What about doctors and such? (5, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095351)

I used to get annoyed about cell phones until I read an article about a couple of parents who interuppted an opera with a cell phone to learn that their son's liver transplant had failed
  • Their son is getting a liver transplant, and they're at the opera? Reading things like this make me appreciate my parents more and more.

Not just in theatres. (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095339)

It's pretty simple actually. There are perhaps eleven thousand people in the U.S.A. that are important enough to have to take a call whereever and whenever. But the rest of people don't rate and have no business taking a call in a theatre, a resturaunt, or even in the grocery. It's funny but it used to be that the ones who carried pagers in the 80's were either physicians, corporate captains or drug dealers. Then when I was an undergrad everyone had pagers. Now when I walk through campus on the way to the hospital or my lab EVERYONE is talking on cell phones constantly. Who are they talking to? Even in a history class I was sitting in on recently had a student who actually took a call while in class! I was flabbergasted as you would be crucified if that happened in any of my medical school classes or in any of my PhD coursework. But my friend teaching the history class says it happens from time to time.

We have become amazingly selfish as a nation and it is being reflected in everything from speeding through neighborhoods, to taking phone calls in inappropriate places to feeling justified in taking that extra half hour for lunch on company time. (Don't forget all of those "first post" punks. Nobody cares. You are just noise to be filtered through.) Because of this general societal disregard that some folks have, we have to start enforcing certain issues that should be checked due to a sense of shame that seems to be lacking. Ergo, speedbumps in neighborhoods to slow people down and because our hospital had problems with employees who were billing the hospital for extra time around lunch and in the mornings and evenings, time clocks that check you in and out were implemented. As for cell phones? We also have problems with cell phones in hospitals as they can disrupt certain electronic equipment being used for patient care. But do people care? No. We have signs up all over the place saying please do not use your cell phone, but folks simply ignore it. Therefore, could the solution here simply be cell free zones that are electronically enforced? They have them in resturaunts in Japan after all. This way no new laws need to be created or enforced and it would probably be cheaper to proactively block the signals.

The world is their living room (2)

Wag (102501) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095341)

While I agree with the law about not talking while driving (it's already been proven a hazard many times over), this other law is just plain stupid.

If multiplexes are too damn cheap to pay for their own security, then what the hell are they going to do? Call the NYPD every time some jackass who's talking on their phone refuses to leave?

I think the NYPD is a bit too busy to be bothering with this, but then again, they went and collected a mis-shipped prototype WebTV for MS, so maybe they wouldn't mind...

[Slightly OT] Laurence Fishburne (1)

bovril (260284) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095346)

I work at a video store that Laurence Fishburne used to come to when he was filming Matrix 2+3 here in Sydney. One time he came in and hired... The Matrix [imdb.com] !! Does that make Warner Bros the cheapest distributor on the planet?? Y'reckon they would've given him his own copy. Sheesh.

He also had over $100 in late fees which he paid off in one go and without complaint. An example to you fee-dodging scumbags everywhere...

And hats off to him for having a go at the guy who didn't turn off his mobile phone. Not turning your phone off/down in the movies/theatre/lecture is the kind of thing that needs to be recognised as socially unacceptable, not illegal.

Horrible idea (4, Insightful)

donutello (88309) | more than 12 years ago | (#4095364)

I don't think the city should be making laws about this. Theaters are private property and it should be up to the property owners to make rules about cellphone usage, etc. If the owners of the theater are ok with people using cellphones, it is none of the city's business.

Personally, I hate idiots using cellphones during performances and would make an effort to support theaters which ban their use over other theaters. However, I just don't see this as being part of the governments jursidiction.
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