Welcome to the Age of Rude | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Letters

Welcome to the Age of Rude



I enjoyed John Saltas’ column [“Whiney Winers,” Sept. 8, City Weekly] more than he enjoyed the concert.

I was one of the Red Butte faithful who arrived hours before the Alison Krauss & Union Station show and proceeded to wind my way down near the front of the stage. This is not to say that the blessed blue-cheesed blue bloods of the down-in-front Red Butte Garden crowd are not immune to a few “Whiney Winers” of their own. It frequently happens, and it’s about time someone in the media talked about this disturbing phenomenon. Please John, lead the charge!

I know people who will never attend a Red Butte concert at any price because of the chatter and hum of the not-so-silent minority; $30-$70 is quite a grip to pay to hear about your newfound neighbor’s inability to find the perfect nail stylist. An opener at Red Butte refers to a corkscrew, not an opening act. And you won’t be able to hear the opening act, anyway.

A solution for eradicating irritating neighbor-blanket folk at Red Butte doesn’t exist—at least, not one that is legal in a non-Third World country.

I think when life forms from other galaxies try to assimilate the history of the downfall of Earth People, the discovery of our civilization’s “jumping the shark” moment will be directly related to the timeline of the intersection of inordinately rude behavior at outdoor concert venues and the public’s obsession with modern-day continuous cell-phone usage. I’ll wager that every overly annoying person at a Red Butte show owns a cell phone and constantly abuses the privileges of it in public.

The Twilight Concert Series’ (Gallivan Center/Pioneer Park) simple equation for concerts was just to sell heaps o’ beer: free show bigger venue more people = more beer sold. People who want to hear the music are going to have to show up with the patience of a medieval monk. Once that beer starts flowing down their no-entrance-fee gullets, there’s no end to the profit. If you charge a nominal entrance fee (ideally, about the price of one beer), fewer people will show up, and, in turn, less beer will be sold. But the Red Butte Garden Concert Series’ dilemma is different. They cannot properly exist without corporate sponsors and the VIP members helping the underwriting of the shows. They need happy patrons at the VIP tables and, apparently, for you, cushioned chairs.

I attended a Joan Baez concert at Red Butte Garden a year or so ago. The average age of the concert-goers was well over my age of 53. It was so quiet at times during the show you could hear a pin drop on the grass. I knew it was a rare moment, indeed. I intently relished every second of the canyon silence, fully knowing that the crowd’s soundlessness wasn’t likely to recur before another local showing of Halley’s Comet. To this day, I sometimes wonder whether the stillness of that remarkable evening actually happened or if I were tripping on a Red Butte Twilight Zone high.

An American generational thing—I believe that’s what it is. We are no longer in the Age of Aquarius, but the Age of Digital—the Age of Fast—the Age of Rude. As we become more immune to bad behavior, it can, and will, only get worse. We don’t have an excuse for obnoxious conduct at paid public events. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Deane Chadburn