I spent last night listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K448), reading a paper titled "A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Perception of Emotion in Music: Psychophysical and Cultural Cues", and looking up words in the dictionary that I've been wondering about for a while now.
And then I watched 5 straight episodes of a geeky nineties TV show because I thought some mindless entertainment was in order and when you're flat on your back with the flu, what else are you gonna do?
Then, just now, I heard this quote on the radio:
"You use that word, 'entertainment' as if entertainment were a thing that when we go to we don't have to think. Well, in fact, you can't be entertained unless you're taking in information, unless you're shaping it in your mind, unless you're judging it." (David Thomson, author of The Big Screen)
I scribbled down the quote on a sticky note as fast as I could, turned the radio off, read it again. I grimaced, inwardly. Because isn't that kind of a scary quote?
The fact that there is no such thing as "mindless entertainment"? The fact that I am 'learning' as much from an intelligent 19-page university study as I am from Boy Meets World? From the news, from every blog I read, from YouTube, from Facebook, magazines, advertisements...? So many opinions and world views and value systems that I don't hold to, that I'm taking in in much the same way that a drowning man takes in water instead of air. Yikes.
I mean, the concept isn't entirely new to me, it's not new to you, and I know it's not new to the people paying Beyonce 50 million bucks to be the brand ambassador for Pepsi: People are so easily influenced. But still, it jarred me when I changed the word influenced in that sentence to taught. I'm not just being rubbed off on in the hallways, I'm willfully sitting in a classroom, taking notes, passing classes.
You give a lot of power to the people you allow to entertain you, "mindlessly" or otherwise.