I complain all the time about how absorbed people are in their technology. I bet many of you sat in on your children's Christmas concerts/pageants this year. I am curious, when you looked around, how many of the parents were texting during the performance? Sure, it may not have been little Johnny's class up on stage, but does that give people license to ignore the other children?
It didn't occur to me until I read this article about a veteran stand up comedian who is hanging up the mic because the audiences are turning into zombies, that the performing arts may suffer because of our need for immediacy and validation.
In the comments section of the Toronto Star article, someone offers that they work at a theatre and that this sort of thing happens all the time. Texting, video taping, people letting their kids run in the aisles or taking them to a show that is inappropriate for their age. People just don't seem to care.
Not only is etiquette dwindling, but the performers, like the comedian in the article, are saying enough is enough. They are not being respected.
What will this do to our culture, one that was once rich in artistic creativity? One that at one time appreciated a 90 min performance and showed that appreciation by not speaking nor doing anything but paying attention. I'm not sure if some theatres do this, but one in our city asks people not to unwrap candy during a performance as to not distract the subjects on stage!
Many balk and say simply "it's just the time we live in".
Is it? I happen to know some people that don't even OWN a cellphone. Some that never Tweet, Facebook and some that don't even have an e-mail account.
I am guilty. I text, surf, Tweet, Facebook but a face to face conversation takes precedence. The only exception is an emergency.
So what IS an emergency? I guess it differs with everyone but I'm again curious. If someone yelled "FIRE" in a theatre, would people take them seriously? Would there be an urgency to get everyone outside? Or would people just look around at each other and wonder what they should do? Wait until someone TOLD them what to do?
Certainly an interesting an experiment to conduct. I suspect we've all become sheep and would wait until a leader emerged to shepherd people out.
That's exactly what has happened when it comes to technology taking over our lives. We've become sheep. No one seems to want to stand up and say "enough is enough", reclaiming the respect that people deserve.
Some people have rules for themselves like turning off the smart phone during turkey dinner. Some sadly do not.
Technology may change the culture we live in. Maybe for the better, maybe not.
It's really up to you.