Friday, July 17, 2009

Age of Entertainment

In the last few weeks, we've been been bombarded by the deaths of "celebrities," people that we've basically ascribed fame to because of performance on stage, screen, or field of play. And what has become interesting to me over the course of this time is how much we're influenced and even driven by entertainment and our pursuits of entertainment.

As our society has become more and more a leisure-oriented one, for many upper- and middle-class people, we no longer work for survival. We work to provide for our needs, for certain, but so much of our dollars go out for entertainment and pleasure. It's become such an integral part of our lives that we can sometimes focus on our pursuit of that over and above everything else.

Now, some aspects of entertainment can be good. We can form some community based around common experiences: series finales, championships, etc. All of which is even more facilitated by the Web which allows fans of the third board op on the right from SportsNight to find and engage with other people of the same ilk. We can gain enjoyment and even happiness from these times. We can experience serious emotion from these times that we might not open ourselves up to.

But many times entertainment can also be a substitute for real engagement with others. And even worse, it can color our ideas about how the world can work in such warped ways that we buy into what we're being sold. And with entertainment, we're always being sold something.

Over the next couple of weeks, I want to explore how entertainment can affect our ideas of worship and of love and perhaps some other areas. I hope that in talking about this some, we can try to fight against some of the power that entertainment has over us, and figure out some ways to allow God back into those places.


Suzie said...

Great topic, Phil. I look forward to reading more.

Preston said...

William Stringfellow wrote that the entertainment industry, specifically professional sports, was a principality and a power, the effect of which was to distract people from serious socio-political engagement and the injustices that are perpetrated against lower-class people on a daily basis. The vast majority of Americans, according to Stringfellow, are hypnotized by entertainment and are consequently ignorant of realities such as the exploitation of workers around the globe by megacorporations, the prison industrial complex (which had not reached its current level of influence at the time Stringfellow wrote), global poverty, greed-motivated war (Stringfellow wrote about Vietnam), etc. The end result, according to Stringfellow, is a massive population of morally numb citizens.

Duff said...

I loved that guy on SportsNight!

Phil said...

Thanks, Suzie. I've been thinking about it for a while, and Preston's quote encapsulates a lot of my thinking on it.

Duff, I would have been more impressed if you'd popped out with his name. :-)

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