Sunday, September 25, 2005

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Unruly teens spur bigger police presence at theaters
go to original article ... or email me for article text
"Ken and Eunice Pierce, owners of Picture Show III in Palm Coast, complain that 100 or more raucous teens often gather in front of the theater on Friday nights.

Some never buy tickets. Others buy a ticket then disrupt the film being shown, the couple said."
As one of the people who probably constituted the raucus mobs being complained about here, I have to admit this issue takes on a level of personal significance. I mean, I never threw a drink at another theatergoer or beat down anyone from a rival gang, but I did engage in my share or rowdy and michievous behavior at the multiplex when I was in High school... um... college... ok like last week. But, the point is, I definitely feel for these kids.

When you're too young to be legally allowed to do most of the things you find interesting, and old enough to start thinking for yourself and really exploring the world, there's something irresistable about congregating at the movies, no matter who you are or who you roll with. First of all, everyone goes. Even the kids who can't go out without their parents generally end up at the movies friday night (even if it is with their parents).

And while you don't really think about it at the time, the movies capture your imagination (if you end up buying a ticket :) ) in a way that school and most other things you're doing really can't. They cover all the issues of romance, growth, independence, friendship, etc that are all at their dramatic apex. And being around all that just makes you want to hang out.

But at the same time, I know how intimidated I was by some of the kids that hung around movie theaters (and I'm sure at some point, I must have intimidated someone much older or younger than me), and it can sometimes take you out of what would otherwise be a fantastic time.

Cops are obviously not the solution. Nobody ends up feeling safer around cops, even if they do stop the worst crimes from happening. My first thought would be to embrace the youth (which hollywood already tends to do with its product) and cater to their needs. But I can't really think of good ways to do that without alienating other patrons.

There needs to be an environment that lends itself to self regulation. I feel like if people had better things to do than hit each other, then they'd probably do them. One obvious thing is if kids could afford the movies maybe they wouldn't hang around outside as much. Or if there was some lounge where kids could buy affordable snacks and chat alongside other patrons, they wouldn't alienate so many people.

I haven't thought too much about this, to be honest, but it's so important! The movies mean so much to people who are growing up, theaters need to be a place where they can be introduced to a public world in a productive way. And I don't think the solution needs to involve heavy policing or anti-teen rules. I think we just need to look at the places where younger just naturally interact well with their more mature counterparts. What are those places? Libraries? Apprenticeships? Malls? (probably not malls), Doctor's offices? Nursing homes? Operas?

Just don't give up on the kids while you've got a chance to help them along.


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

<< Home