Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Cinema lets audience members alert staff with discreet pagers

June 25, 2007

Five cinemas in New York that belong to the Regal Entertainment Group have been giving some audience members small black pagers. These pagers can be used to alert staff whenever this is a ‘disturbance’ during the showing of the movie. What kind of disturbance? Well, one moviegoer says he would use the device when people started answering cellphones during movies, or talking out loud so that others were disturbed. For now, only audience members that participate in Regal’s customer loyalty program are given the chance to wield the pager, which apparently looks like a child’s toy.

I guess that the intentions of this move are good, I don’t like the way it places some audience members above the rest. It’s basically like choosing a couple of people at random and empowering them to be custodians of the audience during the film, without them having qualifications whatsoever. Heather DeMatteis, the manager of a cinema using this pager, said “[the audience] love it”. Well of-course they love it, whoever holds the pager has the power to call down the wrath of the staff on a target of their choice.

Ah, there’s a problem. A target of their choice – what if they don’t like a member of the audience and use the pager against them? Staff will hardly know who is telling the truth, and they’ll probably believe the person with the pager over the innocent victim – why? Because he has the pager. Heck, this could even become a marketing tactic: people want a chance with the pager, so they’ll sign up for Regal’s loyalty program.

This blog post has more details on the pager, which apparently has four buttons labelled ‘Sound’, ‘Picture’, ‘Piracy’, and ‘Other Disturbance’.

Actually, hang on – the pager is being offered in 114 cinemas. This website has a list of all the participating theatres.

Hopefully I won’t be visiting any of those in the future.

– Nishant

Destructive SWAT team gets away with burning down a house

June 23, 2007

In late 2006, a SWAT team, (again in Arizona – maybe this is why that woman had ‘snitch’ burnt into her face) tracked a suspect for a home invasion case to the wrong house; of-course, they didn’t know that it was the wrong house at the time. Precisely 47 seconds after announcing themselves outside the house they threw a ‘diversionary canister’ into the house, where 73 year old Salvador Celaya lives with his wife and a few other relatives. Their son heard the noise and went to wake them up, whilst their grandson fled the house.

Unfortunately for the couple and their house, the ‘diversionary canister’ landed on a mattress, set fire to it, and proceeded to burn down the house.

What’s worse is that internal affairs investigators have cleared the SWAT team in question of ‘wrongdoing’.

What kind of policy is this where police teams set fire to buildings 47 seconds after announcing their presence? Certainly not a civilised one. Maybe this Arizonian police force has been taking lessons from the ‘pre-emptive defense’ doctrine of America’s present – I shudder to think of what else this could result in.

Oh, and the evidence that led them there? The daughter of the senior couple had lent her car to a woman who then lent it to the suspect that the police team was after. Sounds like something I’d see on a soap opera; ‘my brother’s wife’s mother’s cousin…’.

– Nishant

Barbaric people burn the word ‘snitch’ into a woman’s face

June 23, 2007

A 38 year old woman in Arizona has had the word ‘snitch’ burnt into her face. Why? Because she helped the police with a domestic violence case. The brand is four to six inches long, and stretches across her cheek from her lip to her earlobe.

Now come on folks. This is the damn 21st century, we don’t go around burning words into people’s faces. Freud might say that these people were punished in kindergarten for calling names.

Apparently they never grew out of the name-calling, just took it to a whole new level. Cruel acts like this don’t give the mid-western US states a good name. ‘White trash’ indeed, as this blog says.

Another thing that bugs me is that this isn’t even ‘snitching’. The way I read it in this news article, the woman was simply co-operating with the police in an ongoing domestic violence case. And yet, some people such as this blogger are implying that the woman is to blame because she snitched. I’m sorry, but if the police asked me for my help in a domestic violence case, I’d feel bound by law to help them. And I wouldn’t expect to have words burnt into my cheeks either.

What a world.

– Nishant

Go Peru! Sex for everyone! Well, everyone above 14 years old.

June 23, 2007

Peru’s Congress has decided that the legal age of consensual sex should be lowered to 14 from 17. There were only 10 people in Congress who opposed the bill, compared to 70 who supported it. Let’s compare this to the USA, where most states hold the legal age at 16.

This bill was penned by a Centre-Left party-member – well ofcourse, I can’t imagine a right-winger lowering the age of consensual sex.

Raul Castro, a supporter of the bill, argued that this bill would simple mitigate problems that already exist. Said he, “There are young people who get pregnant but they don’t go to health centers, fearing that their partners will be arrested and charged”.

Other leading figures said that this action would only make rape ‘easier’, and allow them to claim that it was a consensual act, thereby avoiding capture. My question is, can’t a 14 year old tell whether it was consensual or not, and testify to that effect? Strange.

– Nishant

Ireland praises Canada; gets a park in Toronto with its name on it

June 22, 2007

160 years ago, a bunch of Irish people fled the Great Irish Famine. Canada welcomed them in with open arms, and it was in this second-largest country in the world that they began their new life. More than a century on, Irish president Mary McAleese visited Toronto based on this magnanimous gesture – forgive me if I consider this a slightly ‘fragile’ reason for a visit. But wait, the Irish president had other duties in Toronto – she had to open Ireland Park.

Irish President Cutting Ribbon

Photo By: Joshua Sherurcij

So let me get this straight. 160 years ago, Canada took in a bunch of Irish immigrants. After all this time, the Canadian and Irish governments decide to build a park in commemoration of this, (each country pledging $500,000 donations towards the cost). I’m sure it must be an amazing park with a price tag of $3.5 million, (the rest of the money came from fund-raisings and individual donations). To me, it seems like a bit of an expensive park to build on a whim.

Before cutting the ribbon, McAleese walked around the park and admired the various monuments adorning it, (followed by about 45 people). This includes a set of five bronze statues, shipped to Toronto at a cost of $325,000. After her walk, McAleese proceeded to give a speech to the crowd that had gathered, saying “the amazing Toronto welcome hasn’t changed in 160 years”. I have to wonder how she would know, unless she’s spoken to one of the original immigrants from 160 years ago. As Karole mentions, McAleese also thanked Canada for its economic support, which makes more sense, being more recent.

Maybe ribbon-cutting events just aren’t my thing.

– Nishant

Texans go crazy and kill a man in broad daylight

June 21, 2007

Ford Taurus

Picture this. You have a car with two people, (the car shown above). It’s driving home from work. And then it accidentally bumps into a 2 year old child – alright, maybe not the best move in the world. But the driver stops the car and gets out along with the man in the passenger seat, to see if the child is alright and everything. Suddenly, a group of 20 people attack the driver and kill the passenger out of rage.

Now what the hell happened to calling the cops? And what about this ‘court of law’ that’s supposed to take care of it all. No, instead society has the right to determine and carry out the punishment. Better for the two men had they continued driving, instead of stopping out of concern.

When bumping into a toddler incites 20 nearby people to murder the passenger in the car, (not the actual driver) then I have to wonder what kind of stressful lives these people are leading. Maybe they all had a bad day at work.

Also sad that the websites cannot get their facts straight; this story describes the kid as a two year old boy, whilst this one makes him out to be a three or four year old girl.

– Nishant

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