The New Democracy

So, I am perusing YouTube and a video caught my eye. It was about two couples, a young man and a young women each, who had been friends for many years without dating. It was an experiment to see what would happen if they actually kissed each other. Would they fall in love or would they remain friends (or I guess would it end their relationship at any level)? I wanted to resist clicking on it as in my head I knew this was some bad voyeur thing, like I am watching other people live lives from afar. But, I couldn’t help myself. Curiosity got the better of me.

            And, I thought to myself:  what is entertainment?

            When I was in college, and lived in off-campus housing, I made a collage out of newspaper clippings. I looked for words, phrases, expressions, headlines, photos that caught my eye and piqued my imagination, such as 10 cent beer night was a disaster, and cut them out and taped it or them to one wall in my living room, until the entire wall was filled with my creation. Being students, we had people stop by all the time. And, people would hang out in our living room, maybe have a beer, maybe a bong hit, talk and even read the wall. There were many lines on that wall that caught people’s attention and lead to conversations but one of the most popular was simply:  Touch it, you know you want to.

            Right?

            Sometimes, we just can’t help ourselves. Like when we were young, and we insisted on being the one to touch the elevator button. This world is full of things we want to see, touch, feel, listen and taste. And, as we have expanded our entertainment choices, such as from a couple of channels of TV to hundreds, to the countless and mind-boggling choices of the internet, and democratized entertainment to not just passively choosing from what we are offered to actually being able to create our own entertainment, participating in entertainment and sharing our entertainment among friends, we see that there really are endless varieties of ways we can be entertained. It isn’t all Shakespeare. It is also what would happen if friends kissed. It is putting strips of paper on a wall.

            Even Kurt Cobain waxed poetically on the subject of endless high school assemblies where schools thought it was important to develop school spirit. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” criticized us for sitting there and asking to be entertained. And, the best part it was not too over the top. The ultimate question of whether these assemblies were just conditioning us to rah, rah our own governments, the way we rah rahed our schools could be left  to us. And, then we could reflect on other question, such as: is this the low point of our humanity?

            The passivity.

            Natalie Merchant sang because they want to turn it on.

            The thing is we do.

            But is it only a bad thing?

            I don’t think so.

            We still have that strong desire to sit around the fire, and for everyone to take a turn telling a story. And, of course, listening to a story.

            So, what is entertainment? Why can we be so easily entertained? Just looking out the window and watching it rain or people walk on by, or even friends kissing.  Why does it impact us so?

            The simple answer is because it does.

            We are hollow creatures desperately desiring to be fulfilled by something, anything. Our minds, and our imaginations, are so strong, so capable, so desirous, we can find anything to fill that hole. Because we don’t want to be sad, or we want to be sad, because sadness brings dark happiness.

            With the democratization of entertainment the choices are ours. We can pig out on our favorite TV show, spend our time seeing what is on YouTube, listen to our favorite song from 1976, or 2006 or 1776. We can also create our own song.

            I watch Rick Beato videos on YouTube. He is a fascinating person and a talented musician. I can like what he does but also disagree with him. He hates new music. And, I get it. He is a musician, and not just a musician, but a really good one. And, his complaint is that music today is produced by a computer, not an instrument. And, he is so right!

            Yet wrong.

            It is the new “democratization.” Now, anyone can write and make music. I don’t have to spend countless dollars on instruments. I still have to know something about how instruments work to make the computer do what I want it to do. But, I don’t need a handful of great musicians now to make music. The limitations of the possibilities have been greatly reduced. We can now all be musicians.

            And, published writers

            Entertainment has never been more in our own hands.

            To do as we want.

            To do as we never thought possible.

            To get the appreciation, the applause, the warm fuzzies that come with creativity and creation. To go back to the fire and tell our story.

            We are no longer passive. We can all participate. We can be the entertainees and the entertainers.

            And, that is what we, here, are trying to do.

            Entertain and be entertained.

            Please join us. Take a look around. See if there is something you find entertaining. Make and contribute your own. We’d love to see it!

            But, we all need an audience. And, a chance. Comment and provide some encouragement, or constructive criticism. And, if you can, make a purchase. It can really make a difference.

Leave a comment below. What is your entertainment story?

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