We watched the fireworks on the front lawn at Central Connecticut State University last night. We had a lovely time. The night was clear and cool. The kids were silly. The fireworks were spectacular.
When the final booms sounded and the finale was at last over, people across the lawn applauded.
I don't support this. I don't believe in applauding when the person responsible for the applause is not present to hear the applause.
I think it's weird to applaud a fireworks show launched by people more than a mile away.
The same holds true for movies. As much as I may enjoy a movie, I've never applauded at the end, and I think it's weird when people do. None of the actors, producers, directors, or grips listed in the credits are present in the theater at the end of the film.
None of them can hear your applause.
Applause of this nature has always felt like an affectation to me. A means by which people attempt to elevate an experience beyond its earthly confines. It feels false and cloying to me.
I don't like it.
If you must applaud at the end of fireworks shows and movies, then I suggest you consider applauding at the end of books as well, or at least at the end of my books. The only difference between applauding at the end of fireworks or a movie and applauding the end of one of my novels is that reading tends to be solitary in nature, whereas a fireworks show or film are enjoyed by many people simultaneously.
But does this mean that you are applauding because you're in the presence of others, or are you applauding because you feel authentic and heartfelt appreciation for what you just experienced?
If it's the former, then applauding at the end of movies and fireworks shows just got even worse. Now you're applauding simply because other people are applauding as well. You're applauding because of social pressure. You're applauding because others are applauding.
That makes no sense.
If it's the latter, and your applause is a signal of genuine heartfelt appreciation, then applauding at the end of a book, TV show, song or even a podcast that you especially enjoy only makes sense. Right?
Why applaud a film but not a book if the presence of others who are also applauding is irrelevant?
You must either fully commit to applauding entertainment of all kinds that you enjoy or stop this silliness forever.
My humble opinion. And insistence.