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Are You Not Entertained?

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Titillated? Perhaps.
Stimulated? Somewhat.
Infuriated? A possibility.
Fascinated? Probably.

But the question is are we entertained? There is a distinct chance that all of the aforementioned descriptors make up the spectrum of what we have grown to synonymize as entertainment. I'm entertained by creating or making up my on words. Others are entertained by violence. Some are entertained by other people's misfortune. And even others by the scintillating sounds and sight of degrading images. So is entertainment an individual choice, a collective experience or both? Not to insinuate that we are all required to or are going to like or find pleasure in the same things. However, currently it seems like we are on the outskirts of redefining what it is that entertains, perhaps climaxing toward a tipping point in regard to what we deem entertainment.

I see it as an individual experience with an "oh, wow! I like the same thing" commonality. Which causes me to wonder just how did we wind up with the current buffet of what is considered entertaining? Has imagination been replaced by contrived reality? Has humor been cashiered for shock? Has engagement succumbed to numbness? In the mid eighties the radio station that I was working for refused to play George Michael "I Want Your Sex" because it was deemed inappropriate for the public airwaves. But with the gradual, subtle desensitization that has taken place in entertainment this tune is now likened to elevator music. Deadened audiences like herds of sheep that line up for shearing and slaughter are the norm in Pastureville. There's hardly the sight of that one cognizant, black sheep out there bucking the trend bleating, "Hey, I'm not entertained!"

That kind of revolt it seems only occurs after a few or only one brave soul points out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Unlike the crowd, they just don't see the grandeur in the outfit that isn't there at all. Then society gasps at the thought of what's been exposed like everybody all of the sudden gets lasik surgery and the nearsighted view of it's always been that way, hasn't it gets challenged because enough people rally to say we want something else. We want to be entertained. Not shocked, not insulted, not titillated, not detailed to death, and yet not drowned by boredom either.

How many times and through how many media can you digest another of Britany or Paris' rebel rousing? Ok, so it may be water cooler chitter chatter, but do you really, deep down inside when no one is looking, do you REALLY care? If you do, then what uplifting action are you planning to take to employ your caring, genuine concern for these poor, young millionaires? Then again, I guess they are good for the economy of this industry when I think of how many streams of income they create for others by making fools of themselves. That's Entertainment! I doubt that this is what Schwartz and Dietz had in mind when they penned that track. Then again none of their songs had the word bitch in it nor had a video with strippers, I mean dancers. (Not that there's anything wrong with stripping. I myself find it a fun way to entertain at times. Just not in front of everybody.)

So if entertainment is a personalized and individualized experience then how did it become the torrid topic in so many people's small talk portfolio? No different today than it was for Maximus as he faced the screaming crowds in Rome. If the crowd didn't show up no one would be there to give the thumbs down or thumbs up authorizing the final killing blow. The crowd continues to show up, one individual at a time to be entertained. Therefore both individually and collectively, what shows up on our LCD screens, lowest common denominator that is, is all that we've cultivated from as far back as, no even farther back than the coliseum. I may be alone in this thinking. But until the individual changes the collective, much of what is considered entertainment will continue to, in my opinion, lack entertaining value.