Want to Stop Texting During Movies? There's an App for That.
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

Want to Stop Texting During Movies? There's an App for That.

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | November 15, 2012 | Comments ()


Economists have this thing called the Cobra Effect, which has nothing to do with GI Joe, and is probably much cooler as a result. Back when the British ruled India, it seems that they were quite put out by the presence of cobras. This was a natural side effect of being from a virtually snakeless island with proper winters that killed reptiles grown to unnatural sizes. The notion of an eighteen foot long creature from the Paleolithic that killed you if you looked funny was quite unsettling to a culture that brought us tea and crumpets. Faster than you could say "don't you ask me for four-fitty in my Raj, Mr. Serpent" the British lit upon a solution. They simply offered a bounty for the distinctive heads of cobras.

The problem is that the British were relatively rich, and very unhappy about snakes in general, so when they threw money at the problem, they made it rain. Of course India was one of the poorest places on earth at the time, so offering piles of money for the heads of snakes meant that unscrupulous entrepreneurs began setting up breeding farms for cobras. And when the British found out and cancelled the bounty, the entrepreneurs simply shrugged and released the cobras that they had bred. I mean they weren't monsters, why would they kill some poor innocent snakes, especially ones that pissed off the British?

And so the British were left with a lot less money and a lot more snakes.

Cinemark has decided that they are going to fight people texting during movies with the carrot instead of the stick. Thus they have created a smart phone app that when activated during a movie keeps track of whether the phone is turned on for the duration of the film. Film goers who don't touch their phones get fun digital offers like coupons!

So people will bring their fancy phones, be sure to download the fancy app, and know what they will do during the first movie? Play with the fucking app. Then maybe the second time they come, they'll bother not playing with their phone because of the promised benefits. And then they will get their reward of digital coupons. Ooh, not getting enough spam? There's an app for that. And then at the third movie said individual, the entire duration of the film will be spent texting about how stupid the movie theater's app is.

How does this relate to cobras? Because during the fourth movie, that's when I'm releasing them.

(source: SlashFilm)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen | Mindhole Blowers: 20 Of Your Favorite Actors List Their Favorite Film of All Time

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • John G.

    Steven, why are so great? Is there anyone else on Earth that would have started an article about texting in movie theaters with British colonies and cobras? You are too good for me to be reading for free.

  • TheOtherGreg

    I believe the cure for cobras is elephants.

  • Bert_McGurt

    And then you get a bunch of mice to scare away the elephants. Course then you need to get rid of the mice, which is a perfect task for a few cobras...SHIT! We're right back where we started!

  • denesteak

    Man, that cobra story was FASCINATING. MORE!!!

  • jthomas666

    Cobras are the disease. I'm the cure. WAT?

  • pajiba

    Whatever about the app; that was one hell of a fascinating story. I had no idea.

  • I was thinking you were going to suggest this would create a secondary market for the benefits, costing Cinemark so much that they'll have to raise ticket prices in response to a genuine effort to improve the movie-going experience that wasn't sufficiently thought through or tested prior to wide release. Or, they'll get people to sign up and then have to cancel the benefits or make them so trivial that they'll serve only to exacerbate the scorn people feel for theater management. This is what happens when you hire MBAs.

  • Guest

    Moi non plus (and I 'for shamed' myself for it). Thanks, SLW.

  • Fredo

    I've had it with these motherfuckin' snakes in this motherfuckin' country!

    And since I'm going with famous quotes:


  • ,

    When the owner of a smartphone needs an app/incentive to keep the smartphone turned off in places a smartphone OUGHT to be turned off, it's official: The phones are way smarter than their owners.

    The Matrix is pleased.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    And knowing is half the battle.

  • zeke_the_pig

    'This was a natural side effect of being from a virtually snakeless island'
    You clearly haven't seen our Parliament.
    Ok I'm done.

  • That's unfair to snakes, but still well played.

  • Return of Santitas


  • GagReflex

    Into the dome, motherfuckers.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Snakes Make it (MotherF**king) Rain?

    Who knew!

  • BWeaves

    I thought there was some sort of product that would disable phones within a certain distance.

  • BierceAmbrose

    You can't stop the signal. Jammers are illegal. Also, Mr. Universe.

    I'm certain there's an i-Thingie for taking over, making the Mac fanfolks watch the Jobs speech. You just know there's Google / Android & Micro$oft i-jacking features, because of course there are. "All your phones are belong to us."

    I'm more worried about the poor saps who have to read this stuff. Can you imagine the sexy times emails between two over-achieving West Point grads? "Take me, sir. Take me hard."


    This past spring there was (yet another) proposal to *require* that personal routers and WiFi hotspots include back doors. The argument was to provide coverage in emergencies for folks like fire & rescue, and it absolutely, fer sure wouldn't be used for anything else, ever.

    Cory Doctorow is a good entry point to smart people discussing why this can't work. The short form - a super duper do anything power-up pill for the good guys is *irresistible* to the bad guys. (Also, to the good guys, but let's give them that.) Consider that stuff built to be secure (cough) gets hijacked all the time. Now argue that a deliberate hole *can't* be hijacked. You can't.

    On the other hand, there's an infinite number of ways to defeat any given, known backdoor once you know it. So, the nerd pool will lock out The Man while the rest of you will be hijacked as spambots, while firefighters charging into burning buildings will get HUDs full of ads for erectile dysfunction products. Winning!

    BTW, the way the write laws this would also apply to your smartphone that can function as a WiFi hotspot, or your cheap-ass pay as you go mobile hotspot service.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I commend your awesomeness for mentioning Serenity and Zero Wing in the same comment - not to mention tinfoil hats and spambots - that rants about the unintended consequences of a required backdoor. Hats off to you, sir. I think Can't Stop the Signal should be Pajiba's unofficial slogan.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Awwww, shucks. I do try to amuse, granted myself first. I feel like there should have been an XKCD reference in there, too, but couldn't think of one. Besides, there's not so many iconic XKCD tags. In an XKCD movie who shats "Kaaaaaaahn!" a the screen, and would stick figures have such resonance?

    This is ever so much more fun than arguing with invasive poli-trolls is it not? They're kind of like kudzu, really. I feel like the regulars got choked out there for a while, but also disagree differently. (And yes, Godtopus help me, some stuff I just couldn't let go. That's hardly the least of my failings.)

    Let us get back to snarking wise and way too well-read, now that the children have returned to their slumbers.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    If you had worked in XKCD that would have been a feat indeed. I'm just pleased you even *thought* about that. And I agree, I'm glad we push politics aside now and discuss really important things like movies, books, and snarking about what we like best.

  • lowercase_ryan

    They should have used that R&D money for new seats. Not that I'll be sitting in one anytime soon.

blog comments powered by Disqus