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Pragmatic Perspective: My take on the Palumbo problem

Weber State has received some unwanted attention in these past couple of weeks due to an incident during a concert at the Browning Center last week. There was apparently some noise in the audience that was a bit too disruptive for director Michael Palumbo, who stopped the concert and told (not asked) the noisemakers to leave the auditorium. But unknown to Palumbo was that the noise was coming from a disabled girl who was part of a group that was invited by the department to attend the performance that night.

It was an unfortunate situation that definitely could have been avoided, but no matter how you look at it, it should have been handled much differently. Anyone who cares at all about what occurred that night has already voiced his or her opinion, but I would also like to give my take on the situation.

Could there be a person in the world who hasn’t been bothered by someone’s excessive jabbering during a movie or live performance before? Now, I’m no “Palumbo,” but I certainly get annoyed with the chatterbox who can’t seem to keep their mouth shut during something that they have paid to watch. Not only are they talking through something they paid to see, but what is infinitely more important is the interruption of what I paid to see! I paid just as much, if not more than they did, and I deserve to enjoy the movie or concert without their whistling ‘S’ sounds interrupting that which I wish to hear.

On that note, what transpired at the concert we’re discussing was a very different situation. Obviously, it involved a disabled person who likely has trouble controlling their actions, and that is understandable. But we cannot deny that there were likely many in attendance that night who were equally annoyed with the noise level, but didn’t quite react in the same way that Palumbo did. Palumbo got burned because he was the one who said something, but his burns would have been much less severe if he had not acted in such an arrogant and pompous manner.

From what I understand, not having attended the concert myself, Palumbo didn’t care to whom he was speaking when he told them to get out, even if it was a person with a disability. Palumbo even had the audacity to try and toss the blame onto Browning Center employees for not doing their job. No matter what the employees were doing, they didn’t control his actions; only Michael Palumbo could control his actions. In spite of the noise problem, he had the choice to handle the situation in a civil and dignified manner, or in the childish and downright embarrassing manner in which he did.

Finally, we all need to understand that this was not an act of discrimination against people with disabilities. Palumbo was caught up in a tantrum, and I don’t think he would have acted differently if the queen of England were disrupting his concert.

We all get annoyed with noise during a concert or movie, and there isn’t anyone who could deny that fact. There should have been better communication between Palumbo and the Browning Center staff about who would be attending the concert that night and the possible noise that could result from the invite. But there is no excuse for Palumbo’s behavior, and we can only hope that in the future he will think twice before making such a scene.

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