The other day I was surfing the vast seas of the interwebs when I came across an article by Matt Singer of IFC News. It is titled “A Movie Theatre Etiquette Manifesto”, and what a great manifesto it is. Singer lists several items to be agreed to in an online petition, like turning off cell phones, not sitting directly in front of somebody when there are plenty of open seats and other totally agreeable behavioural modifications. Everything was fine and dandy and I was all ready to sign the petition, that is, until I read the eighth and final item in the manfisto:
8. Throw Our Garbage On the Floor. The movie theater is the only public space in the world where it is socially acceptable to act like a pig. That is the way it has always been, that is the way it always shall be. We, the undersigned, vow that no matter how many times multiplexes include “Please Throw Away Your Trash” messages in their pre-show entertainment, we will continue to ignore them.
I’m sorry, Matt. This I cannot abide. It is just plain wrong. Now, I know that Matt subsequently revised the manifesto by adding:
8a. (In Moderation.) We, the undersigned, do enjoy being pigs, and tend to think a clean auditorium is the responsibility of the theater staff, not the customers. But we, the undersigned, also recognize that it’s hypocritical to expect others to change their bad habits and not change our own. So we, the undersigned, will moderate our mess (and, really, if you needed someone to tell you not to pour Coke on the floor of a movie theater, maybe movie theater etiquette isn’t your biggest problem). We, the undersigned, will clean up after ourselves as a concession, with the understanding that movie theater owners have just as much to fix as movie theatergoers, and they should expect their own manifesto/petition in the future.
Granted, if somebody actually uses this manifesto as a guide then the revision clears up the problem in terms of actual patron behaviour, but it fails admit that the original call to be messy pigs is wrong on every level. Click to read more