AUTHOR: Slublog DATE: 5/12/2004 07:31:00 AM ----- BODY: Modern Manners - Last night I went to see "Van Helsing" with some friends. The movie was pretty bad - it was about an hour too long and it seemed as though every time Stephen Sommers wrote himself into a corner, he introduced a new monster. Hugh Jackman was good, though, and it was fun in parts. The major problem was that we were in the same theater with us was a group of younger viewers. One of them had a cell phone, which she let ring at least twice during the movie. To make matters worse, she answered one call and talked for a good half-hour at one point. Those of us in the theater hollered at her a bit, but to no avail. I'm no expert on manners and etiquette, but this one should be a no-brainer. This person paid $4.50 to talk on a cell phone throughout a movie, interrupting others who had paid to actually, imagine, watch the movie. Many columnists have spent time trying to analyze the reasons behind the modern lack of manners. Some chalk it up to the speed at which our society moves, others to how impersonal we have become. I have a different, more simple, explanation. Some people are just jerks. Nothing profound, I know. Society once shunned jerk behavior, but no longer. Perhaps it's time to return the idea of shame when dealing with jerks. Kicking them out of public places when they act like jerks would be a start. Sure, the multiplex would have lost a couple of bucks and some return business, but would have gained the gratitude of everyone else in that theater last night. --------