This change of what entertainment is has occurred most obviously in movies, television and show business. Our recent Academy Awards showcased three movies that were supposed to be entertainment. “Precious” was a movie about the overall abuse that ran the gamut of a lower-class African-American girl. “The Hurt Locker” portrayed a soldier caught up in war to the point that he could no longer relate to what we might call normal life and therefore was relegated to be a soldier seemingly forever. “Crazy Heart” was about a broken-down, drunken country western singer making a comeback.
Television is no better. Reality shows seem to be the forte of primetime television these days. “Survivor” shows the inner snake pit-itis of usually two bands of adult men and women who connive and backstab their way to win $1 million. “The Amazing Race” pits several couples in a race around the world in various locations doing oddball projects, the whole while plotting the downfall of their opponents through trickery and subterfuge of various kinds in an effort also to win a million dollars. “Wife Swap” puts housewives from two families in the other’s home for a period of time and focuses on the turmoil of each wife changing the lifestyle of the host family for the duration of the show.
Periodicals such as People and Entertainment focus on the dark side and sad side of the Hollywood and music world of various entertainers as these publications focus on illicit relationships, potbellies, oddball fashions and you name it concerning those in our society who loosely are called entertainers.
Maybe one begets the other. The magazines sell. Television is watched. The movies perceive that this is entertainment so the movies follow suit and the actors live their lives accordingly. Is that how it works or is the whole process flawed and no one has the gumption to say, “Whoa, wait a minute here, this isn’t entertaining?”
Just because it is portrayed on the silver screen or comes in a glossy publication doesn’t make it entertainment. It is not clever writing or acting to portray people in life’s bottom-feeding pit seemingly constantly. Is that what sells popcorn these days? If it is, then our taste buds have been fried as if they had experienced a lethal dose of radiation in an effort to cure cancer. Is the real cancer our society today?
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.