Following up on last week’s Boiling Point, we again return to the subject of movie theater etiquette. While last we talked I verbally abused those who would leave behind their trash, soiling the stadium seating of our cinemas, I turn now to a different villain. An often ignored villain.
Everyone knows that talking during the movies makes you an asshole. So does using your cell phone in literally any capacity. But there is an unknown ass amongst us, one that would think himself a hero. I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with two such deviants at a screening of Attack the Block in Los Angeles some nights ago.
This villain is known as the shusher.
The Shusher thinks he’s doing us a service. He has taken on the role of silence security guard. There is a role for the shusher to play – when someone talks, sometimes they need to be told to shut up. After all, they’re committing a sin in the theater. It’s not considered impolite to smack a talker right in the nutsack and pour soda on him, as long as you take that trash out when you leave the theater.
Like the guy who initiates the slow clap, the shusher has a very specific job that occurs rarely and only at a very specific time. His job is to put talkers in their place.
So why hate on him?
Because power corrupts. The shusher grows too big for his britches. He wants the recognition that comes with silencing a jerk. Or maybe just because some shusher types are assholes themselves. The litmus test is this: who is making more of a disturbance? Shusher or shushee?
During the before mentioned screening, I could barely hear the guys who were apparently talking behind me – I’m pretty certain most people in the theater couldn’t hear them. Regardless, they were bothering someone, and that person shushed them. Loudly. And repeatedly.
Throughout the movie, the shusher kept escalating his shushing technique to bothersome and annoying levels. Now, on the surface, this may seem like it’s appropriate – after all, the talker is talking. He needs to be silenced. Though, what the shusher was doing was responding to punk kids on his yard with a shotgun blast – it was too much.
There is a time and a place and, most importantly, a volume for shushing. If you yell at a yeller, you’re both yellers. Sure, you had just cause to silence him, but you’re also becoming a distraction. We appreciate your help in the matter and sometimes, Mr. Shusher, you save the day. You silence a jerk. But on some days, you are the jerk, taking your policing actions a bit too far.
I like a quiet movie theater. I love it. When people talk, they need to be silenced, but silenced appropriately. If, for some reason, you’re feeling the need to repeatedly and loudly try to silence someone, you should try a different approach. Say, like going out and telling the manager. And then staying out there, because you’re a loud asshole too.
All we want to do at the movies is get along and watch in peace, but just as excessive force can be used in the police world, there is a line that can be crossed when shushing. So please, for my sanity and the atmosphere in the theater – keep your shushing to a minimum. We don’t need two loud assholes in the theater, after all. And yes, hearing a talker in a theater drives me past my boiling point, but so does hearing a shusher going a little too shush happy.
What happens when the shusher starts being shushed? Read more Boiling Point to find out