Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day; On Entertainment

Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I was glad to spend it with my wife, Hayden. It's fun that the culture has a holiday set aside for romantic love. We had Tandoori Chicken, using spices from Penzey's, and Lima-Tomato Curry, with rice. We're big fans of Indian vegetable dishes.

Entertainment (again)

I'm starting to think that my thing about entertainment is likely some form of arrogance. I consume plenty of entertainment; sometimes I even feel like I'm educated by it. (And I'm given to understand that learning is a good thing, though I don't know any basic, moral or rational argument that learning is fundamentally good. It just seems good.) Maybe I think myself above entertainers? But they're God's creation, too; I'm no better than they are. Even if they choose to do things that are not "useful" in some base sense of providing food, shelter, clothing, and telecommunications -- I'm still not superior.

Or I'm put off by the large amounts of money that people collectively spend to watch people pretend to be things they're not. Entertainment has been good for me financially; much Internet use is based on entertainment, and much of my work goes into getting Internet Services Providers to work right. Money is a person's private property, and he should be free to spend it as he sees fit. If a person does something, such as records a song, that lots of people are willing to pay to hear, then there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the choice that those lots of people make to pay to hear the song.

Or perhaps there's a dose of asceticism in there; because it's enjoyable, it might be wrong. Enjoyment itself seems to be fine, according to the Bible and common sense.

Maybe I feel like I'm wasting my time when I'm entertained. But I feel like I need a diversion from work sometimes. Perhaps I'm arrogant to think that I should be productive all of the time. But is it productivity I'm after? That's not the greatest good. Perhaps it's some sort of service to God that I feel is lacking in the time.

1 comment:

grump said...

I really am glad somebody is trying to figure out this who entertainment whatever. It isn't just you, I feel the same way much of the time: guilty that I enjoy watching TV as much as I do, for example.

Even the media is rife with its condemnation of passive entertainment. Look at "Mountain Dew" commercials, or the emphasis on extreme sports on television. If they really think everybody should "Just Do It!", then who's going to be at home watching their ads? Or the studies presented in dour tones by the nightly talking coiffure about how "children today spend an average of 7 hours per day playing video games". It's almost as if the media is ashamed of itself.

I assume most of your references to entertainment are directed at media consumption of one form or another. I know my own biases are generally against it. I don't dislike the idea of a day spent, say, kayaking the way I would a day spent playing Xbox, but both could be considered entertaining, if not entertainment.

Maybe we need a better definition of the thing we dislike so much before we can really start identifying why.