You Can Respect The Rules And Still Hate 'Em

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

One of the disturbing trends I noted in the comments to yesterday’s lament about kids not being able to appreciate a movie was this:
“The kids I know are very quiet!  They’re well-behaved at the theater!”
I’m sure they are.  You may note that there was nothing in yesterday’s essay about how children are terribly behaved.  I’m of the opinion that, aside from the fact that kids are kids (which means they’re often squirmy or forgetful of their inside voices), most kids probably are well behaved at the movie theater.  And if they aren’t well behaved, it’s the fault of the parents, not the children (because even if your child has developmental issues, when s/he starts to act disruptively, the least you can do is politely remove the child from the theater).
The problem I had was that there was no distinction made between “Acting well” and “Enjoying it.”
Look, I don’t go to black-tie dinners because there’s an oppressive layer of etiquette there.  I can dress well enough, when the need strikes, and I can tone down my conversation for genteel limits, and I do know shortcuts to tell the difference between forks.  (Work from the outside in, my friend.)  But when I go, I find it stiff and uncomfortable; I’d rather throw a party at my house where everyone shows up in T-shirts and jeans and talks about pubic hair.
Likewise, children may be very well behaved at the movies.  That doesn’t mean that they like it.  They may want to see Despicable Me 2, but instead of seeing it as a treat, endure it as a cost of seeing it now.  And I suspect many – not all – of them do.  I suspect a lot of them are going to view movies as that sort of thing that older people do, much like (as was pointed out) the attendees of live theater are largely graying.
But I want to draw that notice: kids can be well behaved and not like it.  Just because they’re not bothering you doesn’t mean they’re enraptured.  I suspect many of them are quietly kicking their feet, irritated that they have to pee and can’t pause it, wanting to go for Mom’s iPad when the movie turns out to be boring but knowing better.
We’ll see what happens in the future, but I suspect we’ll have a lot of kids with home theater systems.

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