By STEVE FRIESS
As Garth Brooks took to the Wynn Las Vegas stage this past weekend for the first three shows of his planned 300-performance stint, I laid on my couch under two small dogs and three fluffy blankets wondering when the medicine my doctor had prescribed for the chills and aches was going to kick in.
I couldn’t be there, but I was entertaining myself by following the evening’s exploits on Twitter. But when the lights went down, several of my colleagues sent out whiny tweets of a similar vein informing the world that—gasp!—the Wynn folks were cracking down on “surreptitious tweeting.”
Maybe it was my fever-induced stupor, but I had a moment of clarity. Had I been there, I probably would have felt just as compelled as my pals to spend the show spitting out blurbs to my tweeps telling them what was being played, what Garth was wearing, when his wife popped onstage.
Instead, I was at home and not in the rat race, and it suddenly became very clear to me that what we have all become accustomed to doing in the past several months is wrong. Also, outrageous, rude and disrespectful.
And it must stop.
This concept of journalists tweeting during performances is, so far as I can tell, largely a Vegas thing. I’ve looked long and hard all over the nation and I can’t find a single instance of any respectable journalist tweeting during the openings of, say, Broadway shows. Certainly no movie reviewer or scribe would ever even think to try tweeting the play-by-play of a film he was reviewing. It just doesn’t happen, with perhaps the vague exception of maybe at big rock concerts where there’s lots of lights and noise and it’s customary to let the audience do whatever they want.
But to go into a small, darkened theater where people are on stage commanding the attention of the audience and where you’ve been told not to use your handheld devices during the show? That is an appropriate moment for journalists to ignore both good manners and the house rules and go ahead anyway and tap away on a glowing screen that is undeniably disturbing the intended setting?
How did we come to this? When did such insolence become okay, part of the job assignment? When did we journalists become such special people that we have the right to flout the rules?
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