The MPAA bans Google Glass, but I'd rather share a theater with Glassholes than assholes
The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners have updated their policies to force theater-goers to turn off and put away "wearables" at show time. This means products like Google Glass, which have already been banned from some theaters on an individual basis, are no longer allowed to be worn in any theater in the country.
It seems like the ban would be easy to support. Glass makes people uncomfortable, as shown by the number of Glass owners assaulted when they wear the product in public and Glasshole's entrance into the public lexicon. The device also worries copyright owners who fear its itty-bitty camera. But I would rather sit in a theater full of Glassholes than one full of assholes.
There's always at least one person who can't be bothered to silence their phone, and countless screenings have been interrupted by people who actually answer their phones in the middle of a crowded theater. And that's not even the worst behavior I've seen: I once saw a kid play "Cut the Rope" on an iPad in the middle of the theater; another time, someone used their laptop to stream Netflix right in the front row.
I would rather share a theater with someone who might be able to record a small part of a film than someone who's going to shine a light in my eyes every time they get another notification. Besides, the MPAA has said in the past that Google Glass owners don't attempt to pirate movies when they wear them inside a theater. So what will these policies really even do?
Nothing. It won't stop piracy. It won't stop people from wearing the devices in the theater, much like existing policies haven't stopped people from smuggling reasonably-priced snacks into the theater. (I once sat next to a woman who ate an entire foot-long Subway sandwich in the middle of "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug," so those policies are particularly ineffective.) All it will do is convince people that it's better to use devices that interrupt everyone else's experience instead of devices that rest above their eyeballs and buzz every once in a while.
Glass doesn't belong everywhere, and it's clear that society is still learning how to handle the technology. But I stand by what I said above: I'd rather sit in a theater with people wearing Google Glass than one making sure they don't. In this case, at least, the Glassholes have it.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]