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I Have Mixed Feelings About J. Law Telling Off the Reporter Who Was on His Phone


I love Jennifer Lawrence as much as the next person. I like that she isn't afraid to be blunt, especially because it's so difficult for a woman in the spotlight to voice her opinion. And as someone who wrote a nearly-100-page honors thesis about how cell phone use erodes our personal communication, I almost always agree with chastising people for being on their phone when they are supposed to be present.

"You can't live your whole life behind your phone, bro," Jennifer says, while wagging her finger. It's all-too-often I want to say exactly this to my friends while we're together at a restaurant, so I'm on her side. 

But there's something about J. Law's takedown of the reporter that doesn't sit right with me. 

In defense of the reporter, he has an accent, and as many people have pointed out, there's a fair possibility that English isn't his first language. 

Jennifer sassed him for not knowing that he was at the Golden Globes, but there's also a good chance he was asking about the Oscars on purpose. Many have predicted J. Law will be a contender for an Oscar for her performance in Joy, and this reporter could have been trying to ask about that. I wish I had a chance to know what he was trying to ask, but Jennifer cut him off both times while he was asking the question. 

I wasn't in the press room when this happened, of course, so I have no idea whether or not Chris Trondsen's accusations that the reporter was actually trying to capture photos of Jennifer are true. If they are, I can understand Jennifer's frustration, because there's a big difference between using your phone to guide your reporting, and using your phone because you're distracted or taking a photo.

Of course, you can clearly hear the journalist laughing while Jennifer doles out some hefty sass (he's definitely willing to laugh at himself), it's still important to address the idea that there's only one right way to be a reporter.

To give Jennifer the benefit of the doubt, I don't think she was actively considering why she was scolding the reporter when she did it. J. Law's nothing if not known for saying exactly what first comes to mind. I get where she's coming from—I've been the mistakenly offensive person in similar situations, simply because I didn't take a long time to think over my words before speaking. It's pretty clear here that Jennifer's just on the side of putting your phone away sometimes, and that's all she really meant by it.

Now that we've all had time to process it, the important thing is to realize that there are a multitude of reasons why someone might be using their phone beyond just being distracted from "the now."

When I'm interviewing someone, I often use my phone, laptop or a tablet in lieu of a notebook because I try to avoid using paper, even though it's recyclable. People who use English as a second language and people with disabilities might also be using their phones, either to keep what they're saying straight, or as a source of communication. Many people with disabilities who struggle with verbal speech use technology as a tool to aid them in communicating. The same could also be said for those living with social anxiety disorders, who may be very frightened by the idea of speaking without notes on hand. Most people have to communicate for work or in their personal lives, regardless of any anxiety they may have about it, so they work with what they've got. 

Kudos, as always, to J. Law for speaking her mind. It's really tough out there for a woman in Hollywood, and I understand the barriers she faces every time she speaks. She can hardly say two words without the media villifying her. It's important that instead of jumping all over her without personally knowing her intentions, we use this as an opportunity to educate the public about reasons why someone may need to use their phone in a public setting. 

These are sensitive, nuanced issues, and I'll be the first to say that, as humans, we all make mistakes. No matter how well-intentioned we may be. 

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