A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman
While any number of Buzz readers have remarked upon my last column, "Civil Cinema," with most issuing the patented thumbs-up, a surprising several have taken me to task for presuming to know what people who pay good money for a movie ticket should and shouldn't do. "I can't imagine watching a movie without a large box of buttered popcorn on my lap," one woman of my acquaintance told me. "That's how my guy and I courted. Buttered popcorn and syrupy pop still do it for me. And yes, we crunch and slurp …get real!" A nearly anonymous e-mailer berated me for slagging cell phone and pager intrusions. "I'm a busy pro," she/he hotmailed me, "and yes I often get beeped during nights out. Embrace the century!" Funny thing is I didn't write about cell phones or pagers. For the record, I tolerate one discordant bleat and that's it.
Something else I didn't mention was underage kids at an overage movies. Suffering a shortage of adept sitters? Tough call. Maybe that's what videos are really for.
I was also admonished, while lifting a jar down at the old Mallet and Brush, for my cruel words to latecomers and early leavers. "When you're trying to exit a hutchful of kids and have to hurry home a precious few hours later, you don't always have the luxury of arriving on time or of leisurely watching the credits roll by.
Give us a break!" Well, no, Winston, uh-uh. Though I empathize with release-me-from-the-cabin syndrome.
Another concern, one that ended up on my very own cutting-room floor, and addressed to the presenting side, is the big-screen commercial. These're common as crows in much of Europe now, increasingly common here. Perhaps they were inevitable, but I'm inclined to boycott whatever the ads push. Next it'll be insertions throughout the movie itself, just like on TV. Isn't it enough that we already have to tolerate blatant product placement?
Dear Abegweit: Is it okay to buy a ticket to a specific show at the cineplex and then, once inside, hop from movie to movie? By the book, no. (Why ever would you wish to?) But if all projectors are running and you're not incommoding anyone…perhaps.
Only one soul has asked about the haunted parking lot.
The recent University of Michigan study that cites violent cartoons of the Roadrunner variety as harmful to minds in formation (I presume that means children) explains why I, when younger and impressionable, invariably preferred Bugs Bunny's witty repartee with Elmer Fudd, the Genie with the Light Brown Hare, and Yosemite Sam, to Wile E. Coyote's own repetitive-demise syndrome. Mind, I didn't blink at the repeated shotgun-rotation of Daffy Duck's bill by the aforementioned Mr. Fudd, or at Marvin the Martian's attempted depredations upon wabbity earthlings. What does this say about me, I wonder? I grew up munching raw carrots and loving them, marvelling at Tweety's mazel, perusing the Acme tool catalogue, and learning loads about Wagner and Rossini via Looney Tunes.
Post-TV-viewer stress disorder-questions that someone else will have to answer: Whither went the Fabulous Freep? Why would anyone invent a solar-powered vacuum cleaner? Why do PEI's tourist ads rarely depict the most common summer sight on Island roads, that of torn-up pavement and road machines and detour signs? If William Petersen, David Caruso, Vincent D'Onofrio and Nicholas Campbell met for a game of Scrabble, who would win? Why is it important that we know what William Shakespeare looked like? Do people who download music without paying expect musicians to make it for free? When will forehead advertising reach PEI? What's the secret behind the forthcoming (unnamed) reality cartoon show? Why don't we each live to our own theme music, or does that explain the earphones on the street? If there's a Montague, PEI, why isn't there a Capulet? Is it right for a poet to join a golf club? What will we do when the well runs dry? What if they gave a war and nobody came? Who wrote the book of love?