*First Published, 2012
A few months ago I had ventured to see a movie at Fox Studios in Sydney. Little did I know that the most exciting and most disappointing part of the evening was not the trailers (exciting) and the film’s conclusion (typically the most disappointing) but both occurred simultaneously just as the film’s opening credits were rolling.
That evening I learnt a hard truth – that real men are almost all but gone and gentlemanly conduct and standing up for your fellow man are notions that are essentially extinct in today’s age.
My girlfriend and I had arrived early to what was looking to be a sold out session, and we sat immediately around the corner of the entry, in the two seats closest to the partition separating the walkway. The trailers had finished and the only seats left available where lone seats scattered throughout, and a few clusters of seats in the very front rows. Then, he… rather ‘it’, walked in. Your typical, obnoxious looking early twenty something, trash. Joining him were his posse of young trashy harlots. So in he walked, loudly chewing on gum,sporting footy shorts, a loose singlet and a large novelty hat with straws connected to a drink container on it. Completely oblivious to anyone around him, he walked but inches from the people sitting immediately in front of him, pausing, chewing and talking loudly in what seemed to be a vain attempt at English. Clearly blocking the view of numerous paying patrons, he cared not, and no one uttered a word. On he walked with his harem, the talking getting louder. I thought at least, thank God he is at the other end of the cinema… but back he came, searching for seats in what was clearly a full cinema.
The movie had started, and he stood yet again, direct in our line of sight, no attempt at being discreet, but instead laughing rudely to his friends, and then for good measure, he let out a belch. I could hear the discomfort and annoyance of people around me, and my girlfriend next to me – but still no one said a word.
Enough became enough and without realising it I called out for him to move on, somewhat loudly I confess, however something had to be done as it was clear he has got away with far too much in life and his lack of character and decency is the end result. Shocked, he paused, and then it began. In true trash form, he began yelling and swearing like a spoilt teenager, but all too aggressively. I had blundered. My fear was not of this lanky excuse for a person, but that now I was in a situation where my girlfriend was a few feet from an overly aggressively, uncontrollable tool of a person holding a large coke. I stayed silent thinking to myself “just don’t throw that coke, don’t throw the coke”. I knew if I challenged him, an even bigger scene would be created and nothing would be resolved. Closer he got now, leaning over the partition yelling in my face words that would make a sailor blush. Motioning that he wanted to fight, pouncing forward and back with his empty head as if to indicate somehow we should duke it out in the cinema. While it would have been temporarily enjoyable to whip this boy into further disrepute, it was not an option.
Now eventually, he calmed and took his place in the front row. That event was not the real devastating occurrence, but rather this:
While being accosted, not one person in the full cinema came to my aid. No one said “sit down!” or “go home”. No.
Clint Eastwood wouldn't have stood for this behaviour!
Society is crumbling, I realised. Of the males in the cinema in particular, not one had been man enough to defend the innocent in the face of the guilty. Let me tell you, had just 3 men done nothing more than stood to their feet at the time of these events, just to indicate that they had the back of their fellow man, the little twenty something ‘lad’ would have whimpered down in defeat. Had that been the case, no one would have had to listen to his tirade. It is because everyone today remains quiet, that he acted as he did. No one defends one another anymore, as sad as that truth is.
A lot of people say in their arguments “this is 2012 not the 50’s! Get with the times!”
Sometimes I wish we were back in the 50’s. Where men once stood for something, other than themselves.