Players: The very spat-happy ex Adweek editor-in-chief, Vanity Fair contributor, Murdoch biographer and Newser creator Michael Wolff; The very spat-happy owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and part-time journo pundit Mark Cuban
The Opening Serve: All Michael Wolff wanted to do this weekend was see Damsels in Distress, but couldn't because he was carrying juice. Yes, juice, into the movie theater (Wolff's juice pictured right). "I've taken a stand on bag of juice at Sunshine Movie Theater (E. Houston); police have been called (seriously). Owner is Tim Nye (twitter?)," he tweeted on Saturday (why weren't you at nerd prom Wolff?). "Ahhh...police arrive. Sunshine theater has said they have a crazy person (me)...may be so, but not crazy like that! (v. respectable)." From the looks of it, it looks to be real juice, and the not the type of juice or "Gatorade" your local high schooler is smuggling into the theater. Anyways, Mark Cuban, who owns the Landmark Theater company (which operatesThe Sunshine theater that Wolff was kicked out of) took time off tweeting about his Dallas Mavericks, responded to Wolff's growing pro-juice rant on Twitter:
@MichaelWolffNYC Simple. We provide a service/entertainment. We mark them up so we can pay our bills. What is so tough to understand ?— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 29, 2012
Adding, "Michael, do you bring your own juice into a restaurant? its not illegal You could also bring your own toast into the diner."
The Return Volley: Cuban wasn't done yet, tweeting to Wolff yesterday, "The only thing awkward is u getting busted trying to bring yr own food into a theater. Teens can understand. But u can't?" And as you can imagine, being called a teenager got Wolff started ... on business models. "Buying theater food not part of transaction. (Buying restaurant food is)," tweeted Wolff. "Mind you I was perfectly respectful and law abiding, just had my juice bag." And Wolff added, " Again, wrong comparison. restaurnts [sic] don't call police because I park on street rather than use their valet parking ... and of course, if I didn't buy restaurant food but used their table I would be stealing from them. but that's not true with movietik"
What They Say They're Fighting About: The age-old practice of smuggling your own goods into a movie theater. As media gazers have pointed out on Wolff's Twitter feed, it's something we can all relate to. Just from personal experience your blogger has witnessed a range of edible goods, from fruits to a Chipotle burrito being smuggled and eaten in movie theaters. And wrapped up in this argument is the morality of paying $5.00 for a soda drink bigger than your face or $4.50 for some M&M's that the CVS around the corner is selling for $.65 or something.
What They're Really Fighting About: Something not as exciting as smuggling foods into a movie theater. It turns out that Wolff has actually had beef with Cuban for some time, and it circles back to journalism (just hear us out). In August of 2009, Wolff penned an article for Newser with the headline, "Mark Cuban Is a Big Fat Idiot—News Will Stay Free". It was a response to Cuban's idea that aggregation sites like Newser should be blocked from content. "Heck, you aren’t selling a big chuck of the inventory that you get on your sites anyway, so the marginal value of the traffic sent by Newser.com might be about zero," wrote Cuban, calling out Wolff's (at the time) site. Wolff, of course, responds by defending the jobs aggregators do out there (driving traffic to the original site), or actually getting people interested in news that might be boring. And yes, that's how something fun like getting escorted out of a movie theater by police for bringing juice into a movie theater is really can really be about divergent takes on different journalistic business models.
Who's Winning Now: Draw. Come on Michael Wolff, if you're going to partake in subterfuge (even on the lowest scale) don't get caught. But in all honesty, we see people smuggling foods in everyday--we'd argue that it's harder getting caught than it is smuggling the foods in (granted you aren't taking a coconut in to see The Hunger Games or something). When it comes to the argument, we'll go with Wolff, as he does a better job of poking holes into Cuban's sort of crooked analogies.