--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "authfriend" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
wrote:
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, TurquoiseB <no_reply@> wrote:
> > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Bhairitu <noozguru@> wrote:
> > > shempmcgurk wrote:
> <snip>
> > > > I have to imagine that the advent of this technology
> > > > is responsible for the drop in movie box-office. 
> >
> > That and a general level of fear in America.
>
> Uh, no, not fear.

Judy, I will answer this because it was short and
I wound up reading the entire reply in the preview
window before I could get to the Next button. :-)

But also because it's a matter of opinion, one on
which you and I disagree, but on which a lot of
other people do agree. One of the things that,
*without exception*, every American who has visited
me here in France has remarked on is the comparative
levels of fear in the two countries. We're talking
dozens of people, from all walks of life.

When you visit a foreign country, the first things
you notice, naturally, are the things that are
different from home. But after a few days, as you
get used to the surface level of the new country,
you start to notice the things that are *missing*.
No Starbucks every block or so. Very few SUVs and
unconscionable gas-guzzlers on the road. That
sort of thing.

Well, in my experience and in the experience of
literally all of my American friends, one of the
first things you notice in France, even in a big
city like Paris, is the comparative absence of
fear. In the general population, and in yourself.

It's a remarkable realization, one that I can
only imagine you haven't felt personally, or you
wouldn't have replied so definitively.

An example, directly related to theater attendance.
The last time I was in L.A., I wanted to see a
movie so I went to Westwood, the area near UCLA
just filled (in my memory) with bustling crowds,
nice restaurants, and movie theaters. Well, I got
there, parked, and started walking around. There
were no crowds, even though it was a Friday night.
The restaurants were near-empty. So were the movie
theaters; no waiting on line to get in, and when
you did, you found yourself sitting in a half-
empty theater.

I couldn't help but wonder why, so I asked. It
turned out that about five months previously, the
crowds (at that time) had gotten so big on week-
ends that Westwood had become a kind of "where
it's happening Mecca" in L.A. Everybody would
show up there to see and be seen. Unfortunately,
those who showed up one weekend included members
of two rival L.A. gangs, and they got into a
shooting war. One bystander was killed.

Five months later and the place was still empty.
That's the kind of fear I'm talking about, not
(as you possibly thought) fear directly related
to 9/11 and terrorism. *In general*, Americans
are fearful about going to public places on a
level that is generally unheard of in Europe.
Does that, *in addition to* the easy access to
cable/satellite TV and rental videos, affect
the number of people going out to see movies,
Well, duh.

I'm really not trying to start an argument with
you, merely expressing something that is pretty
damned obvious to international travelers --
there is something *wrong* with America. *Bad*
wrong. People should not look fearful when they
park at a convenience store and have to walk the
20 feet to the door. But they do. Women should
not be afraid to walk in a city after dark. But
they are. Parents should not be afraid to let
their kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween
without accompanying them. But they are.

They aren't everywhere. Really.

And it's quite a revelation to live without that
constant threat of possible violence pressing
down on you. It's like losing thirty pounds. I
know that I can't convey this to you in words,
but I had to try. America *is* more fearful than
almost any country I have visited lately. And
that's really sad, but I honestly believe it's
sadly true.








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