Attention preservation notice: This post is mostly about assholes in a cinema. A little bit about the film Warm Bodies, but mostly about the morons who sat beside me. These morons:
The look on his face is one of shock: Why are you photographing me? it seems to ask, even as the answer sits in his own hands, the cheap burger in its crinkly white paper wrapping surely more consumed that it appears. This is forty minutes after he began consuming the thing, it is surely cold, and obviously cheap from the smell of it,the rank vinegar bite of industrial ketchup that fills the air all around me, because I had the digitally-orchestrated misfortune of sitting by the burger boy and his burger queen.
Her expression tends more toward judgement, victimhood: she seems to think this is some kind of invasion of her private space, that her seat in the cinema somehow extends outward as far as the noise of the cup from which she sips her cola, kept wrapped in a similarly crinkly plastic bag for no apparent reason, so that a symphony of crinkling fills the air every time her highness gets a little thirsty.
They crinkle and crinkle and crinkle until I hiss at them that they’re being loud, at which point they pause for a moment, and crinkle some more, because, hey, what the hell else does a cinema need but morons in the middle of the room crinkling bags like there’s no tomorrow?
But perhaps to single them out is unfair. After all, the cinema was actually full of morons texting on their phones, chit-chatting about what’s happening onscreen, about how hungry they are or aren’t. If consideration were the prime signifier sign of humanity, this would be a cinema full of zombies. (It isn’t, but perhaps it ought to be.)
Of course, environment always matters. This is a cinema where people are allowed to walk in with giant bags full of cheap, ketchup-stinking burgers, and nobody says anything at the entrance. (And they sell “grilled squid” at the snack counter, which stinks even worse than cheap burgers.) Nobody but me seemed to be surprised or offended by the behaviour, and the couple themselves, well, look at them:
But then I read what Ta-Nehesi Coates defines as an asshole:
I think what we have here is a working definition of an asshole — a person who demands that all social interaction happen on their terms. Assholes fill our various worlds.
… and I wonder whether, really, if they’re all happy sitting in cinemas in the stink of food from restaurants, texting and chatting and shouting into cell phones while the movie rolls on, the film they paid good money to see, and I wonder if maybe it’s assholery to expect them to be more considerate, more sensible, to actually think about someone else. When “asshole” is basically an accepted mode of behaviour, what does that make the person who objects to it?
No, wait. That’s bullshit. Because Koreans who love movies get pissed off about this shit too. Screw the cultural-relativist argument. Assholes are assholes, and this is just not-okay behaviour.
Or maybe assholes are really just zombies. After all, thoughtlessness is the trademarked sign of the zombie, and these people were eminently thoughtless. Thoughtless, inconsiderate, uncultured… but mainly just thoughtless. I’m not asking for commentaries on imported wine and caviar, and I haven’t even written a word about how ridiculously they were dressed, because things like that don’t really matter: zombies wear suits, track suits, full body armor. Zombies animate with empty bellies just as easily as with guts stuffed with expensive fare.
But if you don’t want to be one, then just shut the hell up in the cinema, and don’t bring bags of stinky food from outside and then eat them noisily for an hour. IT’s not hard to think, if you try. You don’t need to live your life as a frigging zombie.
Speaking of which:
As for Warm Bodies, well, it was certainly a new angle on zombies. It was a little bit Twilight-y, though nowhere near as offensive (except for how “R” looks in the last scene: where are his scars? Come on!).
I suspect that is more a result of Hollywood than the original text, which I haven’t read; either way, it entertained me as much as anything couldgiven the circumstances. In other words, the film was not bad, though I suspect it’s probably the last big-budget zombie movie I’ll really want to see in a while…