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Movie Theaters And Audience Members Screaming "Fuck!" Repeatedly Just Don't Mix
Check out this story, found on Sploid, about the teen with Tourette's who had to leave the movie theater after she started "yelping" mid-screening:

Jennifer Irizarry, 13, wanted to spend the day after Christmas visiting a dream world of magic with a group of friends at her local theatre. Instead she was humiliated in front of her peers and sent away from a Merrimack, New Hampshire movie house.

The problems began when Irizarry, who was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome in 2000, started yelping during a screening of "The Chronicles of Narnia." Others in the theater complained to management and soon Jamie Pinard, the theater's general manger, asked her to join him in the lobby so they might discuss her inability to remain silent.

"What I told her was between me and her, but she wasn't forced to leave," said Jamie Pinard, the theater's general manger. But whatever was said left Irizarry feeling as though it was best for all if she left. Knowing that the stress of being singled out would only increase the likelihood of her vocal outbursts continuing, she headed home.

Sorry, but if you have Tourette's, you should stay home and watch DVDs. But, just wait, some disability organization will come out bleating that movie theaters must be forced construct some sound-proofed box -- oh, no...there's the humiliation factor...no, make it an invisible sound-proofed box in every movie theater, lest some Tourette's-suffering teen wants to see a new release.

And no, I have nothing against people with Tourette's; in fact, I feel for them. As a person with ADHD, I take medication before I go listen to some windbag talk so I won't be climbing the walls and making monkey noises. Or I stay home. There's a place for everyone, and, newsflash, it isn't everywhere, at all times...deal with it!

Posted by aalkon at January 9, 2006 8:15 AM

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Comments

You can't blame a young teen for wanting to join her friends at the movies, and she may have thought her medication would sufficiently control the verbal outbursts. I don't think her illness should have to be "accommodated" at the expense of other movie patrons, but neither do I think she should face a lifetime ban from public theatres. It should be like taking a toddler to the movies - essentially on a trial basis, so if she can't keep it under control, she should leave (voluntarily).

Posted by: Melissa at January 9, 2006 9:39 AM

Melissa, I don't think anyone is necessarily blaming her or imposing a lifetime ban. But having Tourette's, she should know when she can't control it and excuse herself; like your toddler example.

To take a simpler example. If you had a coughing fit during a movie would you sit there clearing your lungs for the next 10 minutes, drowning out the movie? Or would you get up and head for the hallway or bathroom?

I feel for her, but her condition shouldn't make it her privilege to inconvience a room full of other people.

Posted by: bill at January 9, 2006 11:48 AM

A number of theaters have a small room where parents w/ small children can watch the movie and the noise their kids are making are not broadcast to the rest of the audience. She should have checked for a theater like that.

Posted by: hrc at January 9, 2006 12:14 PM

As a teenager, I don't think you want to be sitting alone in the bratty children cell. And it isn't that she should be "banned" from the movies; she just shouldn't go.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2006 5:07 PM

"Medication"--is that what you call it? I have ADD, and I call it it a shot. Or a double.

I used to car-pool with a family whose daughter had this and yet, they kept trying to take her to the opera, to concerts, etc. I think they stopped wanting to drive with me whenI suggested that getting into heavy metal might be the solution--all Metallica fans sound like they have Tourette's.

Posted by: KateCoe at January 10, 2006 9:03 AM

If you had a coughing fit during a movie would you sit there clearing your lungs for the next 10 minutes, drowning out the movie? Or would you get up and head for the hallway or bathroom?

Judging by a recent experience I had at the Burbank AMC, many people opt for the former. They think because it's involuntary that it's okay.

Posted by: LYT at January 12, 2006 3:04 AM

"Sorry, but if you have Tourette's, you should stay home and watch DVDs."

I have Tourette's. I'm usually not sensitive about it; in fact, about the only thing you can do when you're a "twitchy" is laugh at it. But this is an awfully blanket statement.

I'm also six-foot-three. Should I not go to a theater because it might block someone else's view? How about ugly people? Stay away from restaurants, so they won't affect someone else's appetite? That would probably be the courteous thing to do. Same with people who have motor coordination problems. Who wants to share a restaurant with someone who can't always get the fork to his mouth? Ugh!

Compulsive swearing is fairly uncommon for twitchies, really; my  most frequent tic is clacking my teeth like a human castanet. (They're also not entirely uncontrollable for short periods of time, although a full-length movie is kind of long.) It's more embarrassing for the swearer (or teeth-clacker, or knuckle-cracker, or whatever) than for you, I assure you. I finish about every other day with a headache from clacking. A little patience is not too much to ask.

Posted by: Joel at January 13, 2006 1:22 PM

Okay, I finally followed the link and it's even more offensive than I thought. The girl wasn't even swearing; she was just making noises she couldn't help.

I lost track of how many teachers used to punish me when I was a kid because I "insisted" on hooting, grunting or making other sounds that they felt were a deliberate disruption of their classes. As an adult, I've had coworkers make an issue of my tics as well, although I've learned to keep them hidden better. If the girl was making an effort to keep it quiet (as I'm sure she would have; it's damned embarrassing), then she can't really be blamed.

If the parents sue, I hope they skin the manager raw. On behalf of every twitchy that ever has been treated that way.

Posted by: Joel at January 13, 2006 3:10 PM

Well, because I'm impatient and easily bored (officially, I have ADHD, and take Ritalin for it), I get all twitchy in long, drawn out speaker sessions. Hence, I don't go to such things, or sit near the back if possible, so other people don't have to put up with me as a distraction. If I had Tourette's, I would never expect other people to put up with me interrupting a movie. It's just wrong and impolite and narcissistic. But, then, there's so much of that going around -- why should we expect a person with Tourette's to be any more conscientious than the plethora of rude bastards out there without.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2006 4:21 PM

"If I had Tourette's, I would never expect other people to put up with me interrupting a movie. It's just wrong and impolite and narcissistic. But, then, there's so much of that going around -- why should we expect a person with Tourette's to be any more conscientious than the plethora of rude bastards out there without."

That's because in the back of your head, you think of Tourette's as something that can be controlled. I do have ADD as well (I take dexedrine, myself), and I know it can be a distraction, but there's a huge gap between something you can take medication for and maybe leave a little early, and something you can never turn off. Should this girl NEVER see a movie in a theater?

Posted by: Joel at January 13, 2006 6:39 PM

"Should this girl NEVER see a movie in a theater?"

Is that really such a big deal? Not if she can't keep from disturbing all the others there, she shouldn't. There's too much of this idea that all things should be open to all people in our society. I'm not saying we should ban people -- we shouldn't. People should not want to impose upon others and edit themselves out of environments where they might.

Should I never play professional football?

No, I should never play professional football.

sob.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2006 6:49 PM

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