Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!

Testing, testing, …

Hey, while we’re at it: Let’s ban tall people and folks with big hair, too. I can’t see a damn thing over their noggins. And people who slurp their frozen coke and chew their popcorn with mouths open. And people who find it necessary to chew on ice. In fact, how about small six-person theaters just for single families. Oh, wait … that would be a living room wouldn’t it?

The point is: you’re in public ok? Either a) accept the fact that some people don’t give a flyin’ fuck what you think, see, hear or smell, or **b)**rent a movie, order out, stay home and shut up.


“You’re in public” applies to everyone who is. The people with the screaming kids, and the people who are being annoyed by the screaming kids. So are you saying that being in public means that if you’re intruding on the pleasure of others, it’s ok because you’re in public, and if you are being intruded upon it’s ok because people can do that to you in public and it’s your problem?

It seems to me that when we are in public, it is our burden and our duty to give a little on each end: if I am the one with the intrusive, noisy child I should be considerate of others and remove myself in my child if I am not able to keep said child from being intrusive. And if I am the one being intruded upon, I should exercise a reasonable amount of patience and understanding for the fact that life includes children, and that sometimes they will be loud and annoying.

In other words, a little bit of crying and fussing is ok, I should just get over myself. But if the kid is screaming and inconsolable for any extended length of time, I expect the parent to get the hell out. They chose to be parents, and being parents means YOU are inconvenienced, not everyone around you.


Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons, cuz, like, you’re crunchy
and taste good with ketchup.


I’m not going to argue with you, Stoidela. Of course you are right. On the other hand so am I. The problem is, like I said, some people just don’t care. It’s obviously not a question of “should”. Reasonable folks will always be aware of their actions. But we’re not referring to reasonable folks, are we?

This really hurts me to say, but…

I agree with C#3. Loud children in public places are a pet peeve of mine. I understand that children can’t control themselves, but what’s to stop the parents from (a) leaving as quickly as possible when their child misbehaves, or (b) chosing a type of restaurant geared towards families (like Chuck E. Cheese or the Ground Round)?

This goes especially for movies. Do parents really think their 18 month old wants to see “Shakespeare in Love”? Yes, I know, you couldn’t get a sitter. Does that mean I have to be inconvenienced too?

I think yooz guys are missing my point. Yes, screaming kids in a restaurant are annoying. Yes, people who talk in a theater are obnoxious. Yes, urinating on the floor of the men’s room is disgusting. Yes, farting in the library is offensive. Life goes on. Rudeness is not criminal behaviour. If it were, how many of us would have records?

>>You know, it’s not usually like the parents bring the screaming kids into the restaurant. Or on the airplane. The parents bring the kids, hoping the kids will be well behaved. Some kids are, for the whole meal. Some kids hit their patience quota, and become obnox. But at that point, there’s not much the parent can do. Walk up and leave the restaurant without paying, having ordered the
food? <<

My mother was one of those parents who thought that a smack would shut me up, and of course, it never did. I was many times an obnoxious kid in a restaurant.

Until once when I was four.

I don’t remember why I was so grumpy-- probably because we’d just driven four hours, and my mother was pregnant, and more impatient than usual. So the whole freaking family is at this really nice restaurant somewhere up the coast. My cousins were behaving perfectly, but they’d been running around on the beach all day. My Uncle Jonas is being loud about how terribly inconvienent it is for him not to have the surf’n’turf because SOME people insist on keeping kosher like it’s the Middle Ages.

I chose that moment to throw a temper tantrum.

My mother told me to shut up a couple of times, and I ignored her. She smacked me once, and I started to scream.

My Aunt Chana picked me up without a word to me or anyone, took me to her car, and drove me back to the hotel.

I had dry toast and skim milk for dinner, and then she held me and cuddled me and put me to bed. We didn’t talk about my behavior.

The next day, I had to listen to my cousins talk about how much fun they’d had, and how good the dessert was, and how they went to the beach, and there were some street performers. I started to cry because I’d missed everything.

Aunt Chana said, “You weren’t behaving as though you wanted to be there.”

I NEVER threw a tantrum in public again.

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

How about a compromise? You put up with the first minute or so of fuss, on the theory that I couldn’t know he was going to be fussy. I, in return, will remove him if he keeps being fussy. Taking the child to places a little nicer than McDonald’s is part of training it to be a civilized adult. If you never expect a higher standard of manners from a child, you will assuredly never get it.

I agree with you, LeslieMcd. Children must be taught how to behave. But that’s what McDonald’s is for. You take your kids when they are very young to places like McDonald’s and teach them how to sit through a meal at a restraunt. After they learn not to throw their food, scream, or otherwise behave inappropriately,
AND they can sit through a more lengthly dining experience, THEN you move up to a place like IHOP. Continue in this manner, and by the time the kid is 6 or 7, they will be able to sit through a fine dining experience. Until then, they should not be allowed to ruin the evening of others. I’ll tolerate the beginnings of a fit, but if Mom and Dad can’t shut that kid up within a minute, they need to remove the child.

pldennison, just swear at those people talking at the movies, like you did in the British Accents thread. That will make them quiet down. Use the F-word a lot. Show them what you’re made of, in your own ‘charming’ way. What better way to celebrate a hot 4th of July weekend than cursing out strangers in a theater? America, the Beautiful.

Let’s turn this into a Libertarianism debate thread:

Why don’t the restaurant owners decide, hm? It’s their property. If they want you and your wife to come to their fine dining establishment, and they know you won’t be amused by a screaming kid, then they can say “No kids”. That’s not fair, you may say? Sure it is. It’s his restaurant.

So a different restaurant decides to cater to families and people who don’t have sticks stuck in their asses about how awful it is to hear a baby cry. And some people go there instead. See? No laws passed, the market decides, we respect private property, and everybody gets to eat where they want. And Sly and C#3 will never ever have to eat arounf each other.

See? I can turn anything into a Libertarian issue. If I can’t I talk about kitten arms.


Well, I know since you are Libertarian you figure laws shouldn’t exist on such topics, but at least in some states a restaurant couldn’t have a “no kids” policy. It would be age discrimination. Same thing with places to live, and for good reason, because it was becoming impossible to find decent affordable rental housing, at least in California, in the 80s if you had kids.


I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

I can put up with a baby who begins to cry, and is immediately either soothed, fed or removed. I can also put up with little kids who occasionally talk too loudly, and maybe accidentally drop their forks, and have milk moustaches.

I thought PLD was referring to the children who are really out of control. The one who throw themselves on the floor in a kicking, screaming tamtrum, or run around, crawling under other people’s tables, and bumping into old people and waiters. Or throw food all the way across the room. More than once.

There’s a wide spectrum of behavior, some of which other people should be expected to tolerate, but others which are really unacceptable.

My parents were the kind of people who forced other people to put up with my awful behavior. There were many, many occasions when, for whatever reason, my parents chose not to get a sitter for me. Instead of playing and getting rid of energy after sitting in school, I would be bathed and dressed, then forced to sit on the couch in my good clothes (no playing-- I might get dirty) for an hour or more while my parents got ready. Then we’d go out, and there would be very little at the restaurant that suited my taste-- my parents chose my food, and threatened me if I didn’t eat it. And by the time it was served, it was two hours later than I was used to eating. I was hungry and cranky, and feeling neglected.

Of course I behaved badly. When I look back on these incidents, I can’t understand what my parents were thinking. I’m not talking about when I was nine or ten, either-- these things happened when I was four and five and six.

I have a couple of AUTISTIC children on my caseload, and I can take them to a restaurant, and have them behave perfectly nicely. But it’s a lot of work. I make sure they run themselves ragged first, even if I have to run with them, I get myself ready first, I go before the dinner rush, so the ride and the wait for food are short. I give them a snack in the late afternoon, so they don’t get cranky if the wait happens to be long. And going into these situations, I know better than to count on eating when and where I’d planned. If things don’t work out, we leave early, and the kids know we will. And I make sure going out is something they want to do. We build it up, talk it out before hand, read stories about what a restaurant is like, and how people are expected to behave. Sometimes we drive past the restaurant a couple of times, or get a copy of the menu, and look at it in private.

If the dining experience is a learning experience for the kids, fine; focus on the kids. Plan around their needs. If it’s a night out for the parents, get a babysitter.

The rest of us will remember that children are children. But their rights end when their food hits our faces, or they knock over our waiter.

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Errrr…yeah. Whatever, Chip. I’m sure it’s perfectly OK with you if people act inconsiderately or rudely to others in public, especially at an event for which people have paid to participate. I know what a big fan you are of rudeness and all.

How’s this work for you: If I pay $10 to see a movie, and you sit behind me and talk loudly through it, I reserve the right to punch you in the fucking nose. Sound fair? You get what you want, I get what I want.

Which, 7 times out of 10, I do, although I’m not sure how my being quiet at movies makes it miserable for others. Maybe on Planet Monty, eh?

More than a little difficult for a vegetarian. Forget your cherished logic, did you? And, of course, there are no children at McDonald’s.

I bet you get invited to parties alot. Please explain why I should defer to those who don’t know how to behave properly or considerately in public? I’m really, really interested.

I had an asshole behind me at Pulp Fiction who intended to sit there and translate the whole damn movie into Russian or something for his date! AND, he had the impertinence (I love that word) to get snotty when I asked him to quiet down. I had to get the manager to talk to him and he still wouldn’t stop. Finally after three trips to the manager, the guy shut up. So it’s not just kids, sometimes it’s them stinkin’ foreigners, too! :wink:

I hesitate to admit it…but I have to agree with Contestant#3 on this one. Below about six years old, it’s not that kids might act up in a restaurant or movie. It’s likely that they will. Sure, it depends on the kid. Sure there are plenty of exceptions. But YOUR KID AIN’T ONE OF 'EM. Being a parent to your little darling was your decision. I have no interest in them. If you can’t find a sitter those first five years or so, don’t take the kid to an inappropriate place. What’s the puzzle?

I will make one concession. When an adult intrudes on my space in a public place I damn well hold that adult responsible. Because I’m more-or-less civilized on my good days, I will usually get the manager, as in the case above, but ultimately I’m not inclined to suffer another’s inconsideration, manager or no. Like it or not, they have to deal with ME at least as much as I have to deal with them. In fact, sometimes I make a point of it. This is why we have rules of civility.
The concession is this: when a kid acts up, I don’t blame the kid. They’re kids, after all. But I sure as hell do blame whoever is responsible for that kid. THEY are the one getting in my face, via their kid, and I feel justified in getting back in theirs. It astounds me how many people are actually surprised that someone would hold them responsible for their kid’s misbehavior! “It’s just a child” excuses the child (sometimes), but NOT the parent. Again, why is this a puzzle? I don’t hate kids, even when they’re being assholes. I hate adults who are assholes through their kids. And whether or not you mean to be one, if your kids are disturbing everyone else at a fancy restaurant, you’re being an asshole.

Whew! Ranting is fun! I like this pit!

How about renting videos or getting HBO? Then you can watch movies in the quiet, comfort of your own home. Won’t have to put up with noisy kids and movie-goers in theaters.

However, I prefer theaters because of the people and atmosphere. Except for the concession prices. I bring my own.

Wow, I really started something, huh?

I would like to note FTR that I didn’t bring up restaurants or airplanes. My wife and I rarely go out to eat, simply because it is so difficult to find decent vegetarian food. The places we do go to, we know the clientele, and there are unlikely to be a lot of children. When there are extremely disruptive children (and I’m talking about exactly the kind of out-of-control children Rowan and ABP mentioned), we either: a) glare at the parents until they get them under control. And we aren’t the only ones glaring; b) finish up quickly and leave; or c) get the rest of our meal to go.

As far as movies, I rarely do go the the movies anymore, which hurts, because I am a real cinephile. I stopped going very much specifically because I was sick and tired of dealing with cretins who don’t understand the difference between a movie theater and their family room, and I think it’s sad that those kind of people are more the exception than the rule. And, yep, I won’t hesitate either to have them thrown out, or to get my money back.

I’m amazed that any person on Earth, or from Earth, would think it a bad thing to expect people to behave politely at a movie theater, or a live theater, for that matter. Monty, I’m especially baffled by, since I know he will not hesitate to jump down the online throat of someone he thinks is being impolite, and I also don’t understand how my being considerate at movies and expecting others to be considerate causes a problem.

Yes, but the question is WHO should stay home and rent movies or get HBO? Should it be the people who don’t want to be disturbed or the people who are most likely to disturb others?

Personally, I think the people who should stay home should be the people who are most likely to disturb everyone else. In one scenario, a couple of parents are “put out” because they have to stay home with their kids or eat at a cheaper restaurant. In the other scenario, a whole theater or restaurant of people are “put out” because they have to listen to a screaming child. It’s rather like freedom of the individual (to take their child anywhere they please) vs freedom of the whole group (to be able to eat or watch a movie in public in peace)."

Here’s are a couple of my experiences:

-Couple brings toddler into little Mexican restaurant and place toddler between their table and the table of other couple beside them. Toddler proceeds to scream and, several times, turns around and grabs food off table of other couple and throws it. Parents do nothing. Couples end up in nasty fight.

-Family brings toddler to see “Phantom Menace” at 10 at night when toddler should probably be in bed. Toddler is allowed to run up and down aisle. Screams so much that other moviegoers finally exclaim,“Will you PLEASE quiet your child!” Toddler also occassionally is distracted by the film, stops running up and down the aisle, turns towards the movie to watch, and grabs the hair of the person in front of him (this happened to me).

This debate prompted me to ask my parents what they did since I was a screamer. Anyway, they said that they just passed on the movies and such unless they could get a babysitter. If they did take me out and I got fussy, one of them, if possible, would take me outside or they would just go home since I probably needed a nap anyway. My sister, on the other hand, could pretty much be taken anywhere without hassel.

This same argument can be adapted to fit the pro-moshing vs anti-moshing debate.

Thought I’d interject a little comic relief here with a true story:

When I was in college, I ran the projector for an art house. When the fifteenth anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show came around, we got it for one weekend, and ran midnight showings.

During one show, someone knocked on the projection room door, and asked (with an accent, it’s only fair to note; she wasn’t American) if I could please ask the people in front of her to quiet down, because they keep talking all through the movie, and she can’t hear what the actors are saying.

On another note, I have a good friend with Tourette’s Syndrome. He luckily doesn’t shout obscenities, the way some people with Tourette’s do, but he does make a lot of random vocalizations.

He loves to go to movies, but always tries to make a point of going either to “family matinees”-- ie, the first Sunday show of one of the theatres in town, where parents are encouraged to bring their kids, and everyone understands that there will be a lot of kids, and some may not be very well behaved (and kids are cordially not invited to other showings), or the end of the run, when the theatre is sparsely populated.

He also takes one of his meds early-- it makes him sleepy, but cuts down on the tics.

All in all, I’m inclined to cut him a lot of slack, because he’s really trying.

Maybe more restaurants should have “family hour,” and theatres “family shows.” During these times, all the patrons understand that there may be some pretty active little kids, and the ones who don’t want to put up with that can stay away. And if kids disrupt at other times, the managers will be more apt to ask them to leave, by suggesting they return the next day during “family hour,” and maybe hand them a free dessert coupon or something.

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Is it fair to assume that everybody here dreams of the day when they can go to a movie theater, and enjoy absolute silence? That’s my dream, but it’ll never happen. All it takes is one fool running his mouth off in the last row to aggravate an entire theater.
If you’ve got kids, isn’t it better to go when everyone else brings their kids? There’s nothing worse than going to the theater on a Friday night, thinking there’s not going to be any little kiddies, then getting stuck with one giggling, and kicking the back of your chair the whole time.