Butuism in Jamaica – The Palace Amusement Episode

13 04 2008

Recently I read an article by Lloyd B. Smith in the Jamaica Observer entitled “Butuism is alive and ugly” and I had to chuckle through every paragraph. He is right….BUTUISM, “which can best be defined as a deliberate distortion or wanton disregard of the true Jamaican culture in order to display and bring out the worst in us”, is really alive and well in Jamaica. Please do not confuse the definition with utter disrespect for those in lower socio-economic circles, because the biggest butus live uptown, more so now than ever before. The general crass behaviour from the streets to the formal dining area is wanting. Each week I have a 3 hour class and in between there is a coffee break where we have 2 sandwiches, one unit of pastry and a refreshing juice drink. Each week I have to bear the 7 men barring the 5 women from being served first, while inhaling 4-5 sandwiches and 3 units of pastry and if we’re not careful, we are left with a teaspoon of drink. Finally I mustered up the courage to speak about this behaviour in the class and how uncouth it looks. To my horror, most said “ah nuh nutten”. These so called educated people see nothing wrong with their actions and behaviour and proclaimed that they don’t eat like that in public…..as if we are not in public. It clearly indicates that “education doesn’t make a man”…..I mean with all the elocution and etiquette seminars that UWI offers on a Thursday, it is clear that none of these people bothered with such courses.

Anyway, while Smith has written about “butuish” type behaviour examples, such as stopping in the middle of the road to chat to friends, honking of the horns, the perpetual lateness of Jamaicans (Jamaica time), the inappropriate gesture towards the Duchess of York, Lady Hall being addressed as “honey” and “sweetheart”, he should have been there to experience what I experienced at Carib 5 last night. A friend and I decided to go to an early movie yesterday so that we could get home early and not have to deal with the late night crowd. We paid for our Box Seats and proceeded to same. Before the movie started, a group of young men jumped the rope and seated themselves in the Box Seat section. My friend and I looked at each other and shook our heads. The usher appeared and shone the flashlight right in their faces and said “go back down deh fi mi please”. The problem started with 3 young ladies sitting at the end of our row, who, from the moment they entered were on top of their lungs. Ok….we thought “the movie hasn’t started so they can bellow all they want”……were we in for a surprise. All through the National Anthem these 3 women (not ladies) were laughing and chatting with their feet placed squarely on the back of the chair in front of them. Throughout the entire movie they chatted and even when the volume was extra loud they raised their voices above it, which in my opinion is a great feat since Carib theatre’s sound system is VERY loud.  We could hardly hear what the storyline was about. In fact one of them had the audacity to answer her cell phone and speak on top of her lungs in the theatre. When people started giving her the evil eye, she toned down the conversation for a moment and then it was back to competing with the movie sound.

During intermission I went to an usher and asked them to speak to the patrons as it was very disturbing to be sitting a few seats away from them. He indicated that he would come up to speak to them, but alas, he didn’t show. I then turned to one of them (cell phone user) and asked that she and her group tone it down as it was very disturbing. She looked at me and shouted “Who yuh a chat to? Yuh hear mi and mi fren dem a chat?”. I just ignored the imp as she could never be addressing me. She asked her friends if they were chatting and they said “afta dem cyan hear wi. look how di movie loud”. On that note she stood up and said “Go suck yuh mumma! Ah soon sail di juice in a mi han’ and mi bag over inna yuh face”. I just looked at them and laughed to myself. Why am I telling this story? It is because I rarely go to the movies and when I do, it is usually Carib 5 because Sovereign is WORST than this. Now I have every reason never to return. In the past Carib has had problems with patrons and the noise and it has even been documented in the newspaper. Even the gossip columns have hinted to them to do something about this kind of behaviour. But, the truth of the matter is, Mr. Lloyd B. Smith better get used to the fact that it is BUTU time now and they are everywhere. From now on I will await the DVD. Carib 5: your ushers need to be more vigilant! Remember, the woman told me she would have sailed some liquid from her bag into my face because I asked her to tone down the chatter. Well that’s it for me as I leave this type of behaviour to fester and become the norm. I won’t be beating them and even worst: JOINING THEM!



16 responses

13 04 2008
Jamaican Dawta

To rahtid!

Just curious, but what would you have done, if she did “sail di juice in [har] han’…inna yuh face?”

Duppy know who fi frighten!

14 04 2008
No Nonsense

Bless your heart! What a story— I’m not so good with confrontation because I am a very “fraid” person.

This just not happen in JA, I had a very similar situation happened to me at the Muvico in Boca Raton, FL. I had to threaten to call the police before they decided to settle down. Bad behavior is rampant and acceptable across all social strata. Etiquette is considered antiquated and irrelevant, and physical confrontation is favored over verbal negotiations. It hurts deeply to see our society disintegrating and very few seem to care.

It seem that a hefty financial portfolio has turn our society upside down

14 04 2008

No-Nonsense…let me hasten to add that I, not for a second, beleive that it is only Jamaica that this happens….it happens all over…people are just crass and uncouth these days……when the friend I was with heard the woman “threaten” me, she said “that’s why so and so built their own movie theater at dem yard”. The behaviour of John Q. Public is just too much for the average citizen to want to mix up with. That is why the elite wouldn’t be caught dead at Carib….or anywhere else….there is a select few Jamaicans who enjoy themselves in other ways…..mek mi fine dem out and si is what dem a do so.

16 04 2008

Big ditto on Carib’s painful experience. I also prefer Carib over sovereign. The infrastructure is better and my children prefer it. Thought I was taking a chance recently taking my 11 year old to ‘Meet Mrs. Brown’ and went through hell leaving my 5 year old behind thinking foolishly that a 5 year old could not watch a PG-13 movie. Well lo and behold from 0 months to teenage ‘pack up di cinema’. Outside of the rude interruptions of cellphones and unnecessary chatter I had ‘pickney upon pickney’ running in between my legs from neighbors who did not care dat dem pickney was annoying the hell out of me (and daughter). Ushers there cannot handle speaking to these patrons so you suffer. Babies bawling, cell phones being answered, children running. Horrible movie experience. DVD’s are easy to come by but sometimes you crave the ‘loud’ sound effects and the time spent with your friends, family etc. Not sure how soon I will return. I can’t build a theatre at my yaad so we’ll see. Just another example of social decline. No longer do they stand for anthem either. I used to think that it was religiously based but come to find out, just pure unadulterated laziness.
By the way no nonsense seems to spend more time on jamaican girl’s blog as opposed to her own (smile) Kudos to jamaican girl.

20 04 2008

And we still keep wondering why our country can’t get any better!

21 04 2008
No Nonsense

@Scorpio: heh heh after all JaGirl is doing a great job you can’t help but join the conversation before you start your own

25 04 2008

Well, jamaicangirl2007, you’re right it’s not just Jamaica. Here in Colombia we do have the same problem, there are just a few places where you can just go, relax and enjoy what you are up to without being disturbed by a bunch of “I don’t give a damn about you” people. I believe some people just want to caught the crowd’s attention by being rude and then feel so cool about it. Anyway, nice blog, will keep coming…

1 05 2008
lacey tuc

This Butuism is alive and well in the further regions of the world. All the jamaician horseracing grooms come up to Canada to work as ‘Top tack grooms’. They are rude, abusive, purposely mean and crude. They are repugnant and disrespectful to their ‘Canadian Peers’ and co-workes who are not of their culture. I have never met a more cliquish, rude, and for the most part, most of them horribly lazy.

26 05 2008

my coworker here in Toronto was complaining about similar behaviour at the movies last week with a yout and his cell phone. you are correct its not just jamaica people these days have no manners or broughtupsy

5 06 2008

This behaviour is rampant, it seems that the more crass and uncouth your behaviour the more you are accepted as part of the group. The cell phone crew who talk for the everyone to hear don’t matter where they are. The mode of dress and behaviour are similar.

30 06 2008
Karin from YardEdge

So what can we really do about this…can we really just ignore it and hope it goes away…I have no answers but we need a communal solution…

6 08 2008

well…Butuism really big bout de place.
I was in a movie theatre in the States recently thinking that I was being smart by going on a Monday in the middle of the day.
Loud chatting, video game playing, and phone talking by two Asians.
Low class behaviour is the norm nowadays…heightened by reality TV perhaps? children being raised(or not raised) by overly liberal parents?…mi nuh know.
Tired a dem.

7 08 2008

Oh and forgot to tell you about the after chuch refreshment party…well I was hardly refreshed after being pushed out of the way for one very stale butter cookie by the obviously starving church folk.

31 08 2008

This has been happening for years now and I have avoided going to any cinema here in JA unless completely necessary (big budget summer flicks 4 eg.)!! But I tried my luck yet again by going to see “Michael Collins” which I thought would be avoided by such butus because it was a thinking movie for dare-I-say educated adults. No such luck from the Gods and so now I know that if I want to see ANYTHING on the big screen, I better sit really close to my television.

2 02 2009
Jamaican Princess

I love this post! it’s sooo true and hilarious!! I have had my fair share of BUTUS, so I feel your pain. I hate going to the movies in Jamaica because of this same reason. It’s time the decent people of Jamaica do something about this vulgar behaviour.

17 04 2009

Please believe me, this is NOT just a problem in Jamaica. Although the one time I attended a movie in Jamaica I had a very pleasant experience. I must admit it was several years ago during a vacation to Montego Bay that we decided to take in a movie. The only unusual thing we experienced was that the movie had an intermission, which they don’t have done in the U.S. since I was a child during the 1960’s. We thought it was really sweet as it took us back to our childhood – we even went to the concession stand to get more snacks.

In Washington, D.C. some of the theatres are so bad that they have off-duty police officers assigned to them. These officers stand in the back of the theatre during the entire movie. The manager comes in before the movie starts. He makes an announcement that if anyone makes excessive noise or any disturbance, they will be removed and their photo taken. They will then be arrested and banned from the theatre.

The talking, indiscipline and phone useage had gotten so bad that people were not going to the theatre. The only persons going to the theatre were the bad, disrespectful people. The City had to do something because the disruptions were causing people to be arrested. Other people stopped going to the movies and the theatres were in danger of going out of business due to lack of patrons. One one occasion, all of us got a free pass to another movie because of a huge fight after a young man was asked politely to be quiet. The theatres cannot continue to give out passes to free movies because of disrespectful patrons.

Now I go to very few movies. We have cable and my brother gets bootlegged moves for, like $5 dollars. We watch movies at home and very rarely go to the movies. It’s a sign of the times that good people are pushed out by ignorant, disrespectful people – it happens everywhere. I’m sorry that you had to experience it.

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