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, 11-15-2009 at 04:53 PM (9612 Views)

These days it seems that as the rudes have gotten ruder — abetted by BlackBerries, cellphones and MP3 players — the scolds have gotten scoldier. True, many people have grown complacent about having to endure others’ musical tastes or conversations — or more accurately, half of their conversations. But among the disapprovers, withering glances and artfully worded comments have given way to pranks and other creative kinds of revenge.

Her co-worker, Eelain Steketee, said that she had no qualms about accosting people for breaches of cellphone etiquette. “I get rude just because it will stop them from using the phone,” she said.

“I said, ‘Well, since you obviously want me to hear your conversation, I’d better keep a copy of it,’ “ Mr. Bartilucci recalled.

THE ploy worked: the man got up and walked away — but the victory felt Pyrrhic.

On Broadway, the actors Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman took turns breaking out of character during a September performance of their show, “A Steady Rain,” to admonish an audience member who refused to silence his cellphone. Patti LuPone, too, has recently garnered some of the most enthusiastic ovations of her career for stopping shows to publicly berate people for similar offenses.

But there is hope: For those who prefer a more passive-aggressive form of shaming, there is a company called Pardon Moi that makes cards you can hand to strangers with sayings like, “Can you please take your conversation elsewhere, like the corner of ‘polite’ and ‘appropriate’?”


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