At the time of writing there are 7,075,013,000 people living, breathing, working, sleeping, farting, fighting and fucking on this planet SO, as Tyler Durden famously remarked in Fight Club, “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” Deep down, I think everyone recognises this…until they get their hands on a mobile phone at which point they come to think of themselves as a cross between Jack Bauer, Bono and Batman; the world simply cannot survive without them!
Call me old fashioned but I still think dinner and a movie is a pretty unbeatable way to spend an evening with your loved one so last Saturday I took Mrs Lore off for a bite and a Bruce Willis sci-fi-actioner called Looper. The film was unusually excellent thanks to both Bruce and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s convincing portrayals of each other but also because it dared to be a little complex asking the audience to at least leave their brains ticking over rather than turning them off completely. Apparently this was still too much for some and one middle-aged mook in front of me got about 90% of the way through the movie before deciding it was all a bit beyond him and took out his mobile phone. Now, I’ll forgive someone a single message; who knows, maybe they’re a doctor on call…or actually Batman. But when I see that Facebook blue, glowing like a cheap neon sign in the gloom I lose it!
I leant forward until I was sure he could feel my breath gently rustling his ear hair then, in my deepest and most manly voice, said “If you’re too stupid to understand the film I suggest you go outside and post an update asking someone to explain it to you.” He tried to look offended but could only look down to find he had no legs to stand on. At the beginning of the bill we were all told, in no uncertain terms, by the cartoon bouncer on the screen that mobile phones were to remain off for the comfort of all audience members – but didn’t we already know that?!
Continuing our cultural odyssey Mrs Lore and I also visited the local Playhouse for a Sunday matinee performance of Pangdemonium’s Swimming With Sharks; a biting satire about Hollywood. The play was well acted and smartly staged and opened with a brief film commissioned especially for this production. The film; elaborately scripted and starring the peerless Adrian Pang, was essentially a begging note to the audience pleading with them to please, please, please turn off their damn phones! Nevermind the fact that the occasionally obscene nature of the play meant this was an audience consisting entirely of adults who, by the way, had paid around S$70 each for the privilege of being there – the producers still felt compelled to spend a good portion of their production budget on a film reminding punters not to disturb actors or fellow audience members by using their phones. My question is why?
WHY PEOPLE, WHY?! What’s so important that you HAVE to pick up your phone regardless of where you are or what you’re doing but NOT so important that you could leave your house to do it? Who are you? What do you do? Are you the Prime Minister or President of an unknown country in a state of national emergency? In all probability NO! You are a schmuck! But that’s okay because I am a schmuck and there is nothing wrong with being a schmuck but that means the world can live without your input for a couple of hours. And you can live without it’s. You are not missing anything. Actually, scratch that, you are missing something. You are missing the film/play/intimidate-moment-with-your-partner that, for a small investment of your time and attention, would provide far more satisfaction than a fucking text message finished off with an emoticon masquerading as real affection! I frequently recommend films, performances, galleries, and restaurants to friends who report back that their experience was underwhelming only to find out that they spent half the time with their face buried in the glow of their mobile phones. THIS IS NOT LIVING PEOPLE! So do yourself a favour and choose life. Choose experiences, intimacy and enlightenment. Choose to turn OFF your mobile phone, don’t wait to be told.