A video shot at a recent Beyonce concert has caused some waves this week. A woman very near the front of the stage was playing Pokemon Go while Beyonce was performing. A man whom we will refer to as Mr. Shame, who was two to three people behind her, proceeded to film her actions and remarked on how appalled he was that someone that close to the stage would be catching Pokemon while Bey was within reaching distance. If you haven’t seen it, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTryC0NKYsQ . Perhaps this triggered Rihanna’s statement at a concert in Lille, France, several days later, where she told the crowd “I don’t want to see you texting your boyfriends or your girlfriends. I don’t want to see you catching any Pokemons up in this bitch.”
Ever since its release several week ago, Pokemon Go has brought out the best and worst of people on social media. People complaining about people playing Pokemon Go. People
complaining about people complaining about people playing Pokemon Go. Personally, I don’t play it and I have made my share of pokes about those who do play it. But or reasons that aren’t apparent to a lot of people, this simple game brings out the best in those who choose to play it. It gets them out walking, it gets them out to places they usually wouldn’t go, it helps them to meet people. Businesses are benefiting from it as well – it’s even spawned a pub crawl here in Cincinnati. As long as no one’s getting hurt and no one’s bothering me, I have no problem with it.
But then there are people like Mr. Shame and Rihanna. Let’s talk about Mr. Shame first. The woman was 2-3 feet in front of him. She wasn’t bothering him. She wasn’t blocking his view with her phone. She wasn’t disrupting the show. All she was doing was catching Pokemon at a concert. Mr Shame, on the other hand, was incensed at her actions. So incensed that he pulled out his cellphone and videotaped a minute of the show to scream about how ridiculous her behavior was. Then he posted it to social media. Who was the bigger loser here – the woman minding her own business or the man who felt the need to publicly call her out? Look – we’ve probably all seen people do strange things at shows. I was at a seated Frank Turner show several years where the woman next to me sat in her seat the entire night and knitted. Now while we can all wonder why in the world someone would want to knit at a Frank Turner gig, we also need to recognize that she wasn’t bothering or hurting anyone. She paid for her ticket the same as the rest of us and who are we to criticize or, even worse, publicly shame how someone else chooses to experience a show?
And that brings me to point two: RiRi. RiRi, RiRi, RiRi, RiRi. Riri. I don’t know how much tickets are for a Rihanna show. I imagine that there are different price levels depending on proximity to the stage and I imagine that they cost a lot more than I’d be willing to pay. But people buy their tickets with their hard-earned money and show up to the venue only to be told by Rihanna that their focus is to be on her for the rest of the evening and they are not to communicate with their significant others or be spooted “catching Pokemons up in this bitch.” I would suggest to Rihanna that unless she has paid for someone’s ticket, she has no right to dictate a list of do’s and don’ts from the stage. Again, if someone in the audience chooses to enjoy a show on their own terms in a way that isn’t bothering anyone else, how exactly is that hurting her?
Now we can talk about whether this is rude to the performer. I would suggest that if someone’s lack of attention bothers a performer that much, maybe an ego check is in order. And we can talk about how more and more musicians and bands are adopting a strict no cellphone/camera policy at their shows and making it clear in advance that they don’t want you there with your phone. They probably have legitimate reasons for doing so – such as they’re going to debut a new song and don’t want it to show up on Youtube before it’s released or maybe they’ve just decided that they don’t want to play to a sea of phones. And maybe Rihanna was just joking around. But to publicly shame a fellow concertgoer who isn’t bothering you for not enjoying the show in the same way you are or to bark from the stage that you don’t want to see anyone “catching Pokemons up in this bitch” is wrong. So therefore we are awarding the inaugural Facepalm of the Week Award to Mr. Shame and Rihanna.
Go catch ’em all and prosper.