Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cracking down on irrational exuberance

Reason magazine -- oddly enough, a libertarian publication -- has a piece by Steve Chapman on people making too much noise at commencement ceremonies:

Some people think that a commencement is a celebration, and that celebrations by definition should be unrestrained. By that logic, wedding guests should be blowing noisemakers during the recitation of vows. Modern America does not lack for parties. What it increasingly lacks is rituals that treat landmarks in life with a sense of solemnity.

As Chapman reports, a high school in Illinois banned "disruptive behavior" on graduation day, and this year it temporarily withheld diplomas from five students whose family and friends were too boisterous. Sounds good to me. Now if we can only crack down on standing ovations at the theater. I propose a ticket surcharge on anyone whose ass doesn't stay in his or her seat during curtain calls. On the extremely rare occasion when a production is so good that it merits more than applause, remain quietly in your seat -- with a stunned or rapturous expression, depening on which is appropriate -- until the cleaning crew kicks you out. Or you can throw undergarments at anyone exiting the stage door.

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