Losing it at the movies is now so much 19th Century Security Theatre

New literal forms of Security Theater make going to the movies so 19th Century where life is a panopti-diorama, old chum.

By ann summers

From the theatrical large-scale hand-cranked diorama giving urbanized music hall culture new life to the post-WWII sprawl of multiplexed drive-in theaters, we are in a New Age of Mechanical Reproduction for the work of art, namely the mobile device asynchronously delivering on-demand program content given the expansions of bandwidth, wireless network proliferation, all despite net neutrality. Movie theater ushers will be checking your bags and purses, but don’t worry you can still talk back to the characters on the screen.

We are soon to reach the apotheosis of Security Theater no longer content to infest airport terminals in the form of uniformed low-wage petty thieves but now with movie theater bag checks soon to be common. Making them less rigorous than the metal detectors in schools is perhaps a ploy to make sure that you eat overpriced junk food in the name of constraining stochastic(sic) individuals (aka violent non-state actors) from shooting up the place, or at worse making the place smell like unAmerican cuisine.

This is not unexpected, recalling that I tossed my box-cutter in the bin before going through the x-ray machine at the Louvre. No I didn’t have a Freudian oedipal Da Vinci moment, or desire the Nike to force me to shed my inflammable shoes, rather, even as a 21st Century flaneur, walking in Paris is not as safe as one thinks and I’d much prefer to have any random assailant bleed profusely.

Cinema is no longer the transcendental and phenomenological art experience touted by Arnheim or Merleau-Ponty, but another channel option for program content reduced to the faux-vérité of reality television with its fetishized brand-advertising model of audience-commodity delivery. If the medium is the message, the live-stream dribbles down our device when we butt-dial, and mass mediation trumps the fear of mass murder.

So now we have to mourn even further the public place for social interaction being replaced by idiots texting during movies, regardless of location. Social media will come from 3-D interactive gloves sexting miles apart. And with Google Glass one can multitask as well as protect one’s eyes from backsplash. Besides, as Ken Starr’s report on the Clinton Impeachment informs us, phone sex is pretty much like epidermal contact.

Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America. Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theatres. To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission. We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety.

3-D Presentations:
Films in 3-D may not be available at all locations. In some cases, theatre locations may show a particular film in both the 3-D and 35mm (2D) formats. When purchasing tickets for a 3-D film, please confirm with the box office cashier that the ticket you purchased is in fact for the 3-D presentation. Please see one of our theatre managers if you have any questions regarding 3-D films.

(h/t to Jen Hayden) In the wake of movie theater attacks large theater-chain announces new bag and purse check policy

are you surveilling socialists with holes in their pockets or are you glad to see us.

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14 Responses to Losing it at the movies is now so much 19th Century Security Theatre

  1. wordcloud9 says:

    Watching a movie on TV or a computer monitor is limiting enough — watching “Lawrence of Arabia” on a tablet or a cell phone — What’s the point?

    Going to the movies in a theater, in the dark with strangers who share an experience which unifies them for that brief time into a “community” called Audience, cannot be replaced by looking at a tiny screen all alone.

    That the NRA’s propaganda-and-lobbying machine works so well at preventing legislation which could keep guns out of the hands of unstable people who kill those strangers in the dark, or little children at school, or black church-goers at bible study, or any other unfortunate souls who are targets of rage and hatred, is true and deliberate Evil-for-Profit masquerading as Citizens’ “Rights.”

  2. Harvey says:


    Nicely said.

  3. pete says:

    Pull in case of (automatic weapons) fire.

  4. gbk says:

    It seems many miss the broadness of your posts.

    That’s a shame.

  5. gbk,
    Don’t despair. I think Ann’s posts have a depth to them that cause many to take time to reflect before responding. When I read this the first time, it struck me as being almost like a koan, with multiple layers of understanding required.

    Besides, she writes some of the best subject headlines on the internet.

  6. ann summers says:

    For the baffled, at the moment the pace of writing is a bit pressured because of other matters – hence the content compression and them damn big words making like a shibboleth – life being too cluster___ing short

  7. gbk says:

    I’m not despairing, Chuck; nor am I baffled, Ann.

    Why would either of you think this? Do you think you are thoroughbreds leading the herd?

    Sanctimonious blips of thought do not go far in the long game.

    As I stated earlier: “It seems many miss the broadness of your posts.”

    This was a compliment, or did you miss this? I suspect so.


  8. gbk says:


    Have you finished digesting the APA’s new found position on torture?

    Could you speak to this?

    Is it so difficult? I await your thread on this matter.

  9. gbk says:

    Justification always exists with the passage of time and cultural acceptance:

  10. gbk,
    The APA position(s) have been coming to me backchannel, fast and furious. About the time I think I have a lasso around the meat and potatoes of it, I get a new memo. Also am privy to a plethora of opinions from some very smart colleagues who are scratching their collective heads, trying to figure out what this stuff means. The original Hoffman paper is long, but the “binders” of exhibits run into thousands of pages. Some of it very dense reading. The APA convention just wound up, and seems every division has opinions and memos. Just got two more position papers from the APA outgoing and incoming Presidents.

    Let’s just say I am not happy with my professional organization right now.

  11. ann summers says:

    wish I were the epitome of broadness which would probably be a bell curve (or the ACME of MIC Wile E Coyotes), but this piece is just grieving much like Joe Bob Briggs for the loss of the drive-in movie theater which in my town is on a Superfund site, although perhaps much like there should be decoy RV parks for tornadoes, there should be drive-in theaters for suicide car bombers

  12. gbk says:


    How can the APA position, “been coming to me backchannel,” when there is this:


    Except for the need to find your own singular position, how do you feel about this current position of the APA?



    “. . . wish I were the epitome of broadness . . .”

    Keep working at it, and you might get there.

    An honest suggestion might be to assume your readership — which is scant — cannot follow your childhood cultural references for many reasons.

    You might want to start with a topic, and then build from that. It’s not so difficult to do.

  13. gbk,
    There is far more to the whole thing than has been made public. There is so freaking much information, some of it conflicting, it is hard to sort out. It is literally a developing story, and I have not had the time or energy to devote to it that it deserves. I have been aware of those who have gone public. What has me in a wad is learning that several people I know and have trusted are turning out to be dirty.

    As far as the APA position, let’s just put it this way. I am still considering resigning, even though I was elected a Life Member.

  14. gbk says:


    “There is far more to the whole thing than has been made public. There is so freaking much information, some of it conflicting, it is hard to sort out.”

    Yes, the complexity of Judas presents an enigma; yet history paints its own path as surely as the sun rises.

    It can never be as simple as greed latching onto a fat teat. James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen only had “our” safety in mind, I’m sure.

    This charade of professionalism has been known since 2006/2007 — approaching a decade:

    “I also discovered that psychologists weren’t merely complicit in America’s aggressive new interrogation regime. Psychologists, working in secrecy, had actually designed the tactics and trained interrogators in them while on contract to the C.I.A.”


    I guess the “shock and awe” of the Powell Doctrine requires an ever increasing tempo of surrealistic denial to sustain itself.

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