>St. James of South Philly, the Patron Saint of People Who Want Peace & Quiet at the Movies
Okay, so he isn’t the most pleasant-looking guy in the world. In fact, he’s the kind of Italian-American goombah that Italians would call a brutto ceffo.
You can’t see it in the photo, but I’ll bet he generally goes around wearing a gold chain with one of those little chili-pepper shaped pendants hanging from it. It’s called a “corno” in Italian (a horn) and its history as a talisman dates back to the Stone Age. Guys like James Joseph, though, tend to tell you they’re shaped like sperm. In Italy, they’re red; in South Philly, they’re often made of gold, thereby combining bling with whatever people think they remember about Italy.
If you watched The Sopranos with any regularity, you certainly saw them.
Enn ee way … one thing 100% American about James Joseph is that he was packing heat when he went to see a movie on Christmas night. That’s just the kinda guy he is.
And when the people sitting in front of him during a showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wouldn’t shut their freaking mouths and stop chatting like they were at home in their freaking living room instead of in a freaking public movie theater filled with other people, he shot one of them. (See “Police: Pa. man shot for making noise during movie.”)
It’s a shocking event. Like Rick Warren and other holy people, however, I, too, love the sinner even if I hate the sin.
In this case, I’m not even sure I hate the sin all that much.
Actually, I keep thinking of Bernard Goetz who, back in 1984, helped make the world safe for subway riders in New York. At the time, the city had a crime rate that was 70% higher than the rest of the nation, and I don’t think it’s entirely an accident that crime slowly began to drop in NYC after Goetz. Not because Goetz was a hero (he wasn’t; he was a racist and a whack job), but because his case served to focus people’s anger regarding an issue the city was stubbornly failing to address: the fact that citizens didn’t feel safe walking the streets and riding the subway.
Since I don’t generally carry a gun, I don’t feel safe telling others to shut their damn mouths at the movie theater. Similarly, I’m really fed up with the fact that movie theaters no longer employ people to perform the function of keeping order in a public place and of enforcing what are, ostensibly, the rules.
A few months ago, during a film, we watched as a man continued to have a conversation on his cell phone, in an increasingly loud voice, even after another movie-goer had gone to try to get help from the management and even after the two gals from the popcorn stand had come in and bravely asked him to take his conversation outside.
If James Joseph Cialella had been there, he’d have shot the guy.
As for me, I’m certain it would all have happened much too fast for me to be able to identify the shooter.