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The Red and Grey

Zog’s fireside dilemma

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Since the earliest days of America in which the printing press was revolutionary and the Pony Express was in its infancy, people have loved the consumption of entertainment. Society wants nothing more than to come home from a hard day in the world and turn on the blaring news channel to see what’s going on in the world. With that being said, cynics have been warning for centuries that entertainment has the potential to ruin society; although it has not yet brought the human species to its demise. Yes, media can be detrimental, but the fear that entertainment will utterly subvert society is largely false; for if it has not yet brought us to our knees, then it likely never will.

Artists love nothing more than to illustrate a future where human beings are controlled by wires connected to the TV, but the reality of that is mostly untrue. People love to say that the world is only getting worse by the day, and that cell phones will be the death of living and culture as we know it. Which to an extent has merit, smartphones can feed society a lot of “sensational, mindless, (and) formulaic” information. However, the modern truth is this: the cellphone will display whatever is asked of it. So to argue, all that is coming from phones is worthless nonsense unworthy of appreciation lacks perspective, for people control what they would like to consume. Those who spend their online time indulging in mindless or even evil programming, are preemptively corrupt. To blame technology for malicious entertainment is to shirk responsibility for the morality of society. Entertainment is also often presented as “effortless” just as Neal Gabler claimed it must be. This conclusion is plagued by a failing precision of language, contemporary entertainment is easy and accessible but never “effortless.” Someone must always exert themselves by lifting their hand from the recliner arm to grab the remote and dial a channel, or choose a show. Choose a show that, no matter the content, has to be written, acted in, and filmed through a process that is by no means free of effort. Humans are always in control of what they see from an entertainment standpoint, and what they produce in the same realm. Therefore, comparatively new technology like smartphones, personal computers, and television will never have the chance to overrule man, when such devices were only born of man’s desires. Thus, entertainment cannot ruin a society that is responsible for birthing it.

The same paranoid discussion of when society will inevitably fall to the ax of media has been going on since entertainment itself. Surely cavemen sat by the campfire, contemplated media overconsumption, and among them, deep-thinkers declared, “Zog listen to too much story!” The issue is one made up of entertainment itself, nearly all those who ponder if society intakes far more villainous media than it should, have the sole goal of creating entertainment with their own queries. Recently the topic of “Fake News” in all of its malevolence has been a hot-button debate; however, more than a century ago “Yellow Journalism” was a disease surely to wipe out the public in just a few short years. People protested that they were being lied to and could not discern fact from fiction, just as they do today. The killer of entertainment surely cannot be a fastidious one, if it’s been on the prowl for a hundred years and not made everyone its victim by now. Obviously, entertainment is not going to ruin society, for it has been in existence since we have, and the human race survives still. The potency of media is also in constant discussion. In the 1950s Godzilla came to America and terrified the masses, critics said with contempt that the movie was surely “to poison the springs of domestic happiness.” Action to censor the Japanese film was imminent, but by today’s standards the violence is not enough to bat an eye at. Just like society, what viewers can stomach evolves: politically incorrect terminology and situations were commonplace in movies fifty years ago, and now such lack of nuance would appall the modern audience. So to argue that entertainment is exposing the world to something they are incapable of handling is a historically incorrect position. The damage inflicted by entertainment will never grow far more out of control than it was in the 1920s or it is in the 2020s, so society is and has been safe from media-induced detriment for some time.

In “T.V. Talking Song” Bob Dylan sang “‘The news of the day is on all the time, All the latest gossip, all the latest rhyme, Your mind is a temple, keep it beautiful and free, Don’t let an egg get laid in it by something you can’t see.” This verse from 1990 demonstrates the constant criticism of media from the American spotlight; however, it also demands that one should not let ineffectual claims influence personal decision-making. Entertainment’s damnation of society may be on some people’s mental horizon, but it is not in anyone’s literal line of sight. So even though there are a few perceivable drawbacks of entertainment which have been scrutinized throughout history; to this day society is immune, for the people always have a choice of what they would like to consume.

 

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Carraway Best, Editor
It is somewhere amongst the pines where a lone sojourner may find the one-eyed old man. This relic will speak softly boasting silver in his smile and perhaps mention a boy with whom he was once acquainted. He may just welcome them into his holt and say "Yes I do remember that peculiar Carraway. Atop his head the hair sat most funny, and yon words fell from his mouth like a dozen grub from a log lying in rot." Then this charming cyclops will blink twice and earnestly dismiss those who bear the privilege of his address, into the forest from which they came.

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