February 15, 2013

Is it wrong to tweet from the audience at the State of the Union?

Tennessee House Democrat Steve Cohen was only trying to send a private message, but — like your ordinary-citizen reckless idiot — he released it into his public Twitter feed.

Embarrassing.

But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices? Personally, I would lose my mind.

And by the way, how can all these people — some of them quite old — sit still for 1+ hours? They have to be in their seats in advance and remain there for a while afterwards, so the President can make his big entrance and exit. What percentage of them worried about having to go to the bathroom? How many of them took the precaution of wearing adult diapers? How many of them employed the convenience and relieved themselves?

I don't mean to be rude. I just think it's important to recognize our shared humanity. As Marco Rubio said the other day: "I needed water, what am I going to do? God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human." What about the other end of our hydration-related humanity?

Bob Dylan sang: "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." And I say: Even the members of the United States Congress sometimes must have to pee.

And tweet.

61 comments:

Strelnikov said...

Update: The Congressman has just confessed that the young woman involved is his biological daughter, which he just discovered 3 years ago. Either that,or we have a Super Weiner situation developing.

Carol said...

I found out in recent years that I just.can.not sit still for the typical 2 hour meeting...it's restless leg syndrome or something, absolutely drives me nuts and is embarrassing.

So, I give a lot of credit to pols who do this shit every day and every night of their working lives. Srsly!

Mitchell the Bat said...

In the old days it would have been by carrier pigeon.

James Pawlak said...

It is OK if,and only if, the word "liar" is frequently used.

virgil xenophon said...

Every President delivering the SOTU msg should have to do as every speaker has to do at the RAVEN FAC (ex-AF CIA Forward Air Controllers in Laos) Reunion Conventions: Make each speech with one hand immersed in a bowl of ice-water..

lemondog said...

And by the way, how can all these people — some of them quite old — sit still for 1+ hours?

Alcohol.

Shanna said...

But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices?

We're not all ADD. If this were an interesting speech on an interesting topic it would be fine. But since this is a political bullshit speech, it would be very difficult to sit through it without griping about the nonsense to someone else.

So I'll give this guy a pass.

lgv said...

I don't equate the need to pee and the need to tweet.

The need to pee is involuntary. I hate it. I would struggle with a 2 hour deal. I would have stopped drinking 8 hours before the event.

I think people can go 1 hour without a need to tweet. They should be able to sit through a 1 hours speech, even if they miss a few details. I've been through some long MRI scans.

Nonapod said...

I still don't understand why people would use Twitter at all for discussions better left to E-mail.

Ex-prosecutor said...

The congressman is pictured, loving positioned, with a beautiful, chesty, young blonde babe, 40 years his junior, his daughter. Would he have had the same pride if she were fat and ugly?

Our former mayor also has at least one love child - this one from a hispanic security guard years younger than his adult legitimate children.

Shouting Thomas said...

What kind of Depends to you think Dylan is wearing?

He's a very short guy. So, I'd assume he's wearing these.

Ann Althouse said...

"The need to pee is involuntary. I hate it. I would struggle with a 2 hour deal. I would have stopped drinking 8 hours before the event."

Even though I'm old — I'm 62 — I would find it much harder to sit passively listening for an hour or 2 than to not be able to go to the bathroom.

But I think even if you find it easy to go 2 hours without peeing -- or even much longer -- knowing you are trapped in a situation where it's not even an option can make you feel like it's a problem.

If people are restricting their intake of liquid to avoid the problem, I'm surprised we don't have some fainting.

traditionalguy said...

That really Tweets me off!

Chip S. said...

Lincoln knew how to deal w/ this issue.

After he drained his ever-present canteen, he used it to piss in. Unless there was a spittoon nearby.

Original Mike said...

"But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices? Personally, I would lose my mind."

Sarcasm, right?

cubanbob said...

Listening to an hour plus of bullshit on stilts is more than any human should be made to suffer. Don't blame him for tweeting.

Original Mike said...

"If people are restricting their intake of liquid to avoid the problem, I'm surprised we don't have some fainting."

As someone who limits how much I drink before going to a "captive" event let me assure you; there is no danger of fainting.

roesch/voltaire said...

Nothing new here: apparently congress can not even sit still long enough to pass any meaningful bills beyond the 32 or so trying to negate affordable health care. Money has bought us a pathetic bunch of pols.

SteveR said...

I don't think you have to tweet. If you can't handle it, for whatever reason, don't go.

traditionalguy said...

Sitting in Church for 15 minutes before the services start has that same effect on me. The teenagers are on their smart phones, but the other adults want undivided attention and they see your using a smart phone as rude behavior.

I suspect that they just never learned to use one and are jealous.

Some of us now say that we have the Bible downloaded and are reading scriptures...Althouse being a scripture of sorts.

Actually Audible has an excellent Listeners Bible on mp3 read by Max McLean, and its the best credits I ever used.

But listening with earphones would be sort of rude. Then even a multi tasker becomes cut off from others.

Colonel Angus said...

And by the way, how can all these people —some of them quite old —sit still for 1+ hours?

Castro would routinely give 3-4 hour speeches that the party faithful had to sit through.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

"affordable health care"

Perhaps you're referring to the Affordable Care Act, which clearly is nothing about affordable health care. Surely, even you don't believe that

Mark O said...

No one could be distracted during a performance by the greatest orator to occupy the White House.

I, of course, did not watch it. Not since LBJ have I been unable to listen to a President. I am once again, unable.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colonel Angus said...

apparently congress can not even sit still long enough to pass any meaningful bills beyond the 32 or so trying to negate affordable health care.

There are two ways to make health care truly affordable.

1) Pay doctors and nurses less money.

2) Reduce utilization of health care.

Everything is is rearranging deck chairs.

Surfed said...

Appx 25% of the men sitting for the SOTU have or have had prostate cancer, the most common cancer existant. They should all wear brown or cream colored ribbons (vis a vis pink ribbons for breast cancer) that way when they have that sudden contented look of releasing into their adult diapers we can all give them a pass (no pun intended)...Unless of course it's CNN who seem entranced with body functions (drinking water, pooping on a cruise ships poop deck, etc.).

Scott M said...

The answer, of course, is to go back to the President just sending a letter over to Congress instead of this pomp and circumstance, dog and pony show we have going now. That's what presidents used to do until (this will surprise no one) Wilson. FDR cemented the practice.

It was time to go back when GWB was President. It's double-time to do it now.

In the case of something on the magnitude of 9/11 in New York, sure...come in and do a special address of Congress. But this bullshit about who sits where, who's bringing who...it just proves the adage that politics is Hollywood for ugly people.

ricpic said...

I resent the implication that urine may have found its way down a congresscritter's leg and into the carpet of the congress floor. It's one thing for that to happen to cruise ship carpeting which is after all *hiss boo* private carpeting, but this is the public sector, where such things just don't happen!!!

Coketown said...

I hate the "modern world" critique of personal behavior. As though some great mutation happened in 1959 that fundamentally altered the human race and predisposed us to some hitherto unthinkable behavioral traits.

Are people today much different from people a hundred years ago? No.

Remember in War and Peace when what's-her-name...Natasha...can't sit still during the opera? Tolstoy couldn't sit still through operas either because he found them boring and tedious. He probably would have been a blogger. The same temperament that wonders how people could possible sit still for more than an hour is the same temperament that blogs. War and Peace was serialized over the course of several years, which is like blogging when all you have is a quill.

So we have electronic distractions today. It's no different than looking out the window. "I wonder what that squirrel is doing." "I wonder what's going on in my Twitter feed."

People inclined toward distraction will find distractions. I can sit for hours and hours without playing with my phone. Some old woman at the post office couldn't stand in line for two minutes before she whipped out her phone and started playing solitaire.

Chip Ahoy said...

Everyone else was playing angry birds.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is wrong to tweet from anywhere that you are attending a meeting, speech, play....ANY public function.

If you don't have the attention span of gnat and you can't resist tweeting, twaddling, twiddling or whatever, then perhaps you shouldn't be at that meeting or in this case be in Congress.

If you can't sit for the entire meeting for physical reasons, not just because the speaker is boring you to death, then find a place in the rear of the room and quietly, unobtrusively get up to do what ever it is you need to do.

Everyone has different issues. At 63, I know I can sit for several hours without having to urinate. I just don't drink a lot of coffee before a meeting. Other people have problems with it. No big deal.

Also....turn off your fucking cell phone!!!!

If you are bored to death by the event you are forced to attend, think about something else. Compose an article in your head, think about redecorating your house, plan a trip....anything.

Coketown said...

It's just sad when Valentine's Day tweets to blonde bombshells--estranged daughter or not--are more substantive and interesting than the president's State of the Union speech.

Coketown said...

Chip could be right. Angry Birds is easy to play discretely. Unless the sound is on. But have you noticed the first thing people do with Angry Birds is turn the sound off? Incredibly irritating! The game is silly enough--but on the level of Monty Python. Turn the sound on and it catapults to the Peewee's Playhouse realm of ridiculousness.

Hahahaha! I JUST THOUGHT how FUNNY it would be if throughout Obama's entire speech someone was playing Angry Birds with the volume on.

Puccckaaaaahhh! Pshtt phst phstttt pccchhh thonk.

Chip S. said...

...trying to negate affordable health care...

Things libs never stop saying:

• The US spends way too much on pointless health care.

• Nobody can afford health care.


I admire their dry wit.

wyo sis said...

I cannot imagine that there are very many people who, by using self-control can't sit through an hour long speech. Even with the need to be in place for an hour before. The hour before the speech doesn't require people to be still and listen. Tweet then. Or play Angry Birds or whatever. I prefer to keep my hands busy while listening, or even watching TV, but I am able to sit quietly for an hour if it's required.

The diaper issue is private, I hope. Even speculating about it makes me laugh. What a door Al Roker opened with his messy pants confession. Bodily functions seem to be taking over the news.

Freder Frederson said...

Apparently, not everyone is as incontinent as you.

And you can't sit still for an hour without playing with your electronic devices!? No wonder you don't go to many movies. I would hate to be at a movie and have you sitting in front of me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I know that in the SOTU the people are a captive audience and can't just get up and go, in more than one sense. If they have physical problems, then they should just not attend at all. Makes everyone happy. The person who has the physical issue and the others who are distracted by that person jumping up and down to do their doody.

The SOTU speech is nothing more that a big fat joke anyway. They really say nothing and now it is just a way to trot out people as political puppets for the latest cause d'jour. Or in Obama's case use the captive audience as punching bags.

But....as to the etiquette of using electronic devices and cell phones in public venues. DON'T. There is nothing so important that you should ignore the people around you and stare vapidly into a tiny glowing screen. The devices should be turned off when you are eating at a restaurant, visiting with friends and family, at meetings, driving your damned car.

If you can't be out of contact for an hour, you need to get some psychological help.

Methadras said...

Hmmm, creepy congress critter texting his sugar baby or Marco Rubio drinking water during the response to SOTU? The mind reels.

Bruce Hayden said...

But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices? Personally, I would lose my mind.

It is essentially a command performance, with failure to attend, except from the lowliest, with little hope for advancement. The absense of any members of Congress of note will be noted and questioned, esp. with Obama on the podium giving the SOTU speech.

I probably wouldn't tweat, because it is too public, but most likely would text with friends and esp. family, if I were trapped there.

Bruce Hayden said...

If you can't sit for the entire meeting for physical reasons, not just because the speaker is boring you to death, then find a place in the rear of the room and quietly, unobtrusively get up to do what ever it is you need to do.

Sounds like me in law school. Had to take a lot of breaks to keep from falling asleep, and so set myself up so I could always sneak out for a minute or two during most lectures. I do suffer from some narcolepsy, but I think most of this was a result of working full time while attending LS.

The thing though that triggers this the most is a lot of CO2 buildup in the room, so expect that I would not have survived Obama's fifth SOTU speech without drowsing off at least once if I had been in the room, esp. when he essentially repeated a lot of the same stuff, about "investing" in Dem constituent slush funds and boondoggles and making the rich pay their "fair share" to bring down his debt, etc. Think that I would do much better doing it as a drinking game (though I never have).

Roger J. said...

back when I still had a position of some modicum of authority, during meetings I had to conduct, I would instruct my attendees to take out their cellphones and blackberries, silence them, and put them on the conference table in front of them. The meetings seemed to go a whole lot quicker. Of course, I was considered an asshole, but I retired and all was forgiven.

Patrick said...

I doubt there is a significant difference between your typical congressman's tweet and elimination.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Think that I would do much better doing it as a drinking game (though I never have).

Maybe everyone at the SOTU should be wearing those beer hats and take a sip when Obama says certain key words or phrases.

We could have a contest to see who wins first. Democrats or Republicans. It would be great if the containers were clear so we could see the liquid going down, down, down. Then WE all at home could bet on who wins and who falls down drunk first. Audience participation at home TOO!!

I bet that would up the viewer ratings numbers for the SOTU.

Might be a problem for the peeing issue, but then no one would care who is staggering over them to make it to the can.

Sigivald said...

So get up during it and go pee, and come back.

It is not some magic, special thing that demands complete reverent attention.

Read the damned transcript later.

The Duty of Congress is to note the President's report of the State of the Union.

The President's duty is to inform Congress periodically in any manner he sees fit.

The ridiculous theater performance of the yearly Address should be thrown out.

Scott M said...

The ridiculous theater performance of the yearly Address should be thrown out.

HOWARD JOHNSON IS RIGHT!!!

edutcher said...

You have 2 choices:

Have a bell ring the way Stalin arranged it so nobody would get shot by the NKVD for not clapping, for everybody can have intermission (Choom would love that)

OR

Just let everybody leave after the first Republican yells, "YOU LIE".

Of course, he'd actually have to be telling a lie, but with Barry, that won't take long.

Coketown said...

Remember in War and Peace when what's-her-name...Natasha...can't sit still during the opera?

Her name was Helene and she wore a topless gown (quite the rage in them thar days, women spent almost as much time powdering and rouging their breasts as their faces) and kept switching around so all the young officers would get a look, if not a feel.

traditionalguy said...

What we feel frustrated by in a digital device user is being ignored.

But IMO freedom is just around the corner. The smart phone cellular user is the new free person. The persons using them chose to shut out the self righteous authority monitors of the world who cannot even imagine anyone multi-tasking since they cannot do it.

It's war on internet information.

R. Chatt said...

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia declined to join their six other colleagues at the prime time address to Congress.

Were they afraid they might have the urge to hurl?

Coketown said...

Her name was Helene and she wore a topless gown (quite the rage in them thar days, women spent almost as much time powdering and rouging their breasts as their faces) and kept switching around so all the young officers would get a look, if not a feel.

Yeah, Natasha met Helene and Anatol at the opera, but Natasha was the one who can't sit still and whose thoughts Tolstoy describes throughout the scene, instead of what's going on on stage. You know, like pestering the old man sitting in front of her with her fan and then leaning over to tickle Helene. It was funny.

Kevin Walsh said...

"But in the modern world, how can people today be expected to sit through a 1-hour speech and not fiddle with their electronic devices? Personally, I would lose my mind. "

Really? I don't want to be an IPhone zombie.

Chuck Currie said...

SOTU speeches are cruise prep.

Cheers

Chuck Currie said...

Wonder how many were watching cat videos on YouTube?

Cheers

Revenant said...

I don't see anything wrong with tweeting (or playing Angry Birds, or browsing the web) during this or any other speech.

Your time is your own.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

They could always avail themselves of the means Strom Thurmond is said to have used (probably apocryphally) in filibustering the Civil Rights Act, back when "filibustering" meant actually talking continuously. He spoke for more than 24 hours straight, and the story involves an aide in the doorway with a bucket ...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Chuck Currie,

Wonder how many were watching cat videos on YouTube?

Hey, what's the fun of watching Dansons la capucine with the sound off? (Well, to be fair, some fun.)

EMD said...

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers' jobs.

"I don't think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "I think it's necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded."

Parliament of Whores.




MrCharlie2 said...

they were watching coning videos

wyo sis said...

"The dignity of the job that we have rewarded."

Interesting wording.

Gene said...

Wyo Sis: "The dignity of the job that we have rewarded."

Interesting wording.


Pelosi's comment made no sense to me either. Perhaps she was trying to say "the dignity of the job we have been awarded."

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