Posted in Culture/Arts, Film, tagged aviation, cinema, civilisation, etiquette, evolution, Film, mobile phones, phones, technology on June 1, 2013 |
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There was an extraordinary moment in the evolution of human consciousness and the sociology of cinema etiquette last week. Perhaps it was the first time it had ever taken place – and I was there as a witness! Like being there in 1903 when the Wright brothers flew their way into history; or sitting in the space capsule as Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the surface of the moon.
So I’m sitting in the Cineworld Fulham Road last week as the trailers take place before the new Start Trek film (disappointing: 6/10). The guy next to me takes out his mobile phone, checks for messages, leaves it on, and then – this is the Close Encounters of the Third Kind moment – he places it in the moulded plastic fizzy drinks holder attached to the front of the arm rest between us. No self-consciousness; no shame. The bottom of the phone comes forward, towards him; the back leans against the upper edge of the drinks holder; so the phone is at a perfect 37 degree tilt from the vertical for him to see. And he’s watching the film as he is glancing up and down at his incoming messages – like a driver with the TomTom in the edge of vision.
I was too awestruck at the audacity of this technological leap to be shocked. It’s the kind of unforseen improvisation that delights and appalls me at the same time. I bet you big money that within two years there will be dedicated and beautifully designed mobile phone holders on the arm of every cinema seat, but this time just above the fizzy drinks holder. What would my friend have done if he had had a 6 litre carton of coke as well? [Just for the record: This is my idea, and I hold the patent...]
Is this the end of civilisation or the beginning? Is this common in London or New York or Shanghai and I’ve just never witnessed if before?
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This is really funny – the latest “Don’t let a mobile phone ruin your movie” spoof from Orange. Take a look if you haven’t been to the cinema in the last few weeks. It’s the introduction of a two-minute ‘phone break’ every fifteen minutes during the showing, so that the film is put on pause and you can check your phone. The gushing responses from the audience as they leave are hysterical.
It’s funny because it is so painfully near to the thoughts we almost think. Maybe your child really does need to hear from you every fifteen minutes when you go to the cinema and leave them in the hands of a trusted babysitter? Maybe your friend will think you have died if you don’t call them back within a couple of minutes?
So I wasn’t surprised, a few minutes into Contagion (4/10 – very disappointing), when the guy in front of me pulled out his mobile to reply to a text. The problem is, with smart phones, that his screen was so ‘Amoled Supercharged’ (or whatever the term is) that it seemed to light up the whole cinema and force the rest of us to join in his own personal phone break.
I’d better stop, before I start sounding like ‘Disgruntled from Tunbridge Wells’.
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Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Science/Technology, tagged communication, computers, digital technology, fasting, internet, keeping the Sabbath, mobile phones, Rumi, Sabbath, sin on February 20, 2011 |
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Fr Ronald Rolheiser writes about our addiction to being digitally connected:
And so we are, daily, becoming more enslaved to and more compulsive in our use of mobile phones and the Internet. For many of us it is now existentially impossible to take off a day, let alone several weeks, and be on a genuine holiday. Rather, the pressure is on us to constantly check for texts, e-mails, phone messages and the like. The expectation from our families, friends, and colleagues is precisely that we are checking these regularly. The sin du jour is to be, at any time, unavailable, unreachable or non-communicative.
He quotes some friends who work in Christian ministry on Sunday mornings, but then begin to celebrate their own digital sabbath in the late afternoon on Sunday:
We start our celebration of the Sabbath at 4 PM on Sunday and we begin it symbolically by unplugging our computers, turning of our mobile phones, disconnecting our hour phone and turning off every information gadget that we own. For the next 29 hours we don’t receive any calls and we don’t make any. We are on a cyber-fast, non-contactable, of the wheel, unavailable.
At 9 PM on Monday night we end our Sabbath as we began it, symbolically. We break our cyber-fast and fire up again our phones and our computers and begin answering our messages. We get back on the wheel for another week.
Sometimes making ourselves unavailable like this irritates our families and friends, but if we are to celebrate Sabbath, given our pressured lives, this pulling away is the most important single thing that we have to do.
He ends the article with this wonderful quotation from the mystic poet Rumi:
I have lived too long where I can be reached!
[The Catholic Herald, 18 Feb, p 20]
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