Sunday, November 1, 2009

Land Of The Free

Some years ago I had a friend from England, and we were having a conversation one afternoon. My friend had traveled the world extensively and she said when she first came to the US she was utterly shocked by how many laws and rules our country has. She told me she had never been to a country that had so many.

Over the years I have had occasion to remember that conversation because it's true. Tonight while watching 60 Minutes I thought about that again. There was a segment on pirated movies. Now I had no idea this was such a large scale issue, and I really can't imagine why anyone would want to watch a pirated movie. The quality would have to be poor and movie rentals are so inexpensive that I don't see the point. It's hard to imagine this is such a big business for criminals, but I guess it must be.

In fact they went on to say that big drug cartels are doing this as a side line and put their logo stickers on the DVD cases. I am not sure what was said in the few minutes after that because I couldn't get my brain to process the fact that drug cartels actually have their own logos. It's still hard to imagine that.

At any rate, during the segment it showed people going to a theater and being wanded and having their purses and personal effects searched for cameras on the way in. They even went so far as to take their phones until they were ready to leave. I have to say I found that more disturbing than the fact that people were actually filming movies in theaters. Now that doesn't mean I am in ANY WAY condoning illegally obtaining movies, because as an artist I would never condone theft of artistic property...or any property for that matter. But I was taught not to steal as a kid.

I did a show in Hawaii about ten years ago, and they searched my purse when I went through the airport security. I certainly have nothing to hide in my purse, but I remember the guard feeling and actually looking inside the wrappers of my feminine products. Aside from the creepy, unsanitary nature of that, did the guy really think I had a bomb in there? It would have had to have been an incredibly flat bomb.

As you know if you fly these days you are automatically treated as an inconvenience and shown no respect of any kind. I know these things are done as a safety precaution, but I still can't help feeling invaded by it. There are so many places where you have to go through a metal detector or get wanded before you enter.

How many times have we all gone through the detectors in a department store and had one go off because a security tag wasn't removed or deactivated properly on an item we legitimately purchased? It's just embarrassing, and it's not our fault.

They say that the piracy of movies is causing the sales of theater tickets to go down. Maybe...although I don't know anyone who would watch one of those. I guess the number of people doing this is so vast that it means it's ok to institute yet another rule in this country that automatically treats us all as criminals even when we aren't. (Which I find ironic since the police won't even come if you call about an intruder unless they actually enter your house. It seems as if we went terribly wrong in our justice system somewhere doesn't it?) So much for innocent until proven guilty. But I can assure you if you are to be treated like a criminal as the norm when you go in, there will one less theater ticket sold for every movie I might have wanted to see. I will wait for DVD rental...which in my opinion is probably a much larger reason why theater ticket sales have gone down than stolen movies with poor resolution.


Carmen said...

I nearly had a heart attack the last time I went to the cinema. The ticket price was astronomical, you weren't allowed to take in pre-bought popcorn, sweets etc - you had to buy theirs which is triple sometimes quadruple the price than the stuff you buy in the shops... if they want to know why cinema going numbers are falling maybe they want to realise there is a resession on and people like me with 3 young children just cannot afford their daylight robbery prices. Like you say, wait for the dvd and buy a bunch of munchies to watch it at home.

Glad (in a sad, what is our world coming to kind of way) that our country (UK)is not the only one with a screwed up law system :(

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

What gets me is that we all--all of us law-abiding, normal citizens--have to pay greatly in money and inconvenience because of what a relatively low number of criminals have managed to accomplish! Gerrr! Happy Monday, anyway. ; )

Heather said...

I have a feeling that the decrease in theater going has to do with the dramatic increase in prices over the last few years... and if they're claiming that they have to increase ticket and popcorn prices BECAUSE of pirating, that's insane.

I could understand them needing to increase DVD prices for that, but not initial movie theater prices.

Everyone I know still loves going to the movies, they just can't afford it... when it's going to cost you near $15 just to take yourself, it's a wee bit crazy.

Around here they've started having 'reduced price ticket' days, where you can go for $2.50-$5.00 (the $2.50 are for a specific movie, that runs for a month and is usually a 'family' title, the $5 is for any movie)... because I think they're finally realizing people just can't afford $50 a movie trip... and heck, why should they, when all they have to do is wait a few months and then they could OWN the movie for $15!?! ... and the DVD is going to have bonus features to boot!

I agree with you on the fact that drug cartels having logos is a bit mind-boggling... do they hire a graphic designer?!

Oh, and the bit in the last post about you being mentioned as 'the woman who had her hair pulled' is fantastic!!! That's a GREAT Halloween story!

julietk said...

We have a similar set up here in the UK now. Sad that all the baddies cause us goodies so much hassle.
Can't get over the Cartel logo thing either.

Kelly said...

You're so right Michele! We always pay the price.

I can't imagine who designs logos for drug cartels either. Do the artist's know and do it anyway? I certainly wouldn't.

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

Your post hit a nerve today, Kelly. My husband and I were watching a Jane Austen movie yesterday and talking about how what was unacceptable behavior then is NOTHING today. I know what I'm saying is a bit off topic. But it's sad how simple politeness and curtesy has nearly disappeared in our society. What you say is very sad about the "baddies" making life inconvenient and annoying for the rest of us. But unfortunately it is very true.

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