Complex entertainment

Consider the entertainment industry 100 years ago. Or 200. Or 2000.

Could you ever believe you might be satisfied with shadow puppets, Punch n’ Judy, traveling minstrels, oral stories in an amphitheater or around a campfire and maybe, if you’re lucky, a play or a view of the art of a city, the wealthy or a religious edifice?

Throw your 21st Century self back into antiquity and imagine how bored your mind would be after about a month of getting used to life then. Sure, your time would be taken up with ten times the survival activity you practice today. But if you were one of the leisure crowd, try and picture the limited mental stimulation you’d be exposed to.

Today that would be worth a few hours of “Oh, this looks interesting…” (Now, what’s next? Because — I’m bored to tears.)

In our era, we’ve got so much entertainment, arts, media, sociality that we have a hard time turning it off. The common mantra “unplug, disconnect, go outside and live a little” is to return to a time when humans had little to fill their intellectual minds. “Ah, no jingles, beeps and buzzes, aside from the insects. Tranquility.”

I wonder at this progression.

From the simplistic, 300 baud data input stream of the natural world to the flood of terabytes saturating our brain cells  — we adapt; humanity’s every growing capacity to embrace the complex.

In 100 years we’ve gone from, what today’s media moguls would call pathetic information and entertainment input streams to what can only be called total-sensory-overload. Yet we condition ourselves, brace for the onslaught and beg for more.

In 100 years from now, imagine the exabytes that will blanket our minds and drive our desire for more, faster, now — even higher.

11 thoughts on “Complex entertainment

  1. Totally. I don’t think it’s a good think. The fact that people are having such a hard time “turning it off” sets off alarm bells in my heads. But like you said – they are begging for more. They are uncomfortable with silence, which, I think, in turn kills their mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In those rustic days we didn’t have much time for entertainment, as you alluded. In the days ahead, when most jobs are automated, the 20-hour work week is norm, and we’re all counting our UBI, we’ll need even more (and more idiotic) forms of entertainment to arouse and captivate us. Otherwise, we’ll be rebelling against the machines, and the machines will have none of that …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He said, in reference to your earlier comment about the ticker tape parade of cliches. The latest crop of crime writers are the worst offenders. I’m sure other genres as well, but I don’t read stuff that the cover gives me the pucker…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read, seems like back around y2k when a 28k modem and a laptop that weighed more than a Volkswagen were en Vogue, that an elementary school student was exposed to more information in a week than a farmer in the early 20th century was exposed to in a lifetime.
    But then, without distractions except strong coffee and sex we got Beethovens and Mozarts and Monets and Wolffs. People who, with time on their hands, put it to some quantifiable use. People who, without a rich daddy and a YouTube marketing team, would slip by unnoticed today, buried by celebutantes and Nancy boy and waify girl Americana mandolin strummers and psychedelia reborn college garage bands. And autocorrected teenagers with clip art drums. And 😎 George and his ESL harem who don’t even know his participle is dangling…
    Like the vegan said to his toilet, “It’s not about quantity or density, it’s about quality!”
    To which the toilet replied “If it doesn’t stink, how do you know it’s shit?”
    “Because shit is shit, you know, and it makes my ass pucker, regardless of whether it stinks or not.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think, and this is just a personal postulation, that you just can’t help yourself.

      You’ve missed your calling as a radio talk-show host pounding the public with your quintessential quips and pithy prophetic prose.

      Liked by 2 people

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