Thursday, January 17, 2013

{mindless entertainment}

Photobucket 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.


  1. amen. I think people kind of know what's being done to them, but I wonder how often they "mindlessly" decide to ignore it and to keep getting "mindlessly" entertained.

    1. i bet you're right: i'm sure a lot of people ignore. but i also bet there are people who don't realize how much they're "learning" from people who don't make very good teachers...

  2. Hi Suzy, great blog, so true! Definitely something we should all think about.
    Proud, as always, your dad.

    1. :) thanks dad. {i'll call home soon, promise!}

  3. Learning isn't always subconscious though, sometimes you're aware that you're learning things that might be inappropriate or immoral and you can choose to discard them. So I'm not too worried for the time being haha. I love that quote though, I think it's such an interesting thing to consider. I think once you've taken sociology, you never stop analysing what you're watching/listening to etc haha.

    I hope you're feeling better soon, flu sucks :(

    1. totally--it's not always subconscious. i agree. but i would also argue that for all of the times you're aware that you're learning 'bad' things, there are a million other times that you're not aware. i mean, if a company will pay an artist $50 million to do 30 seconds of promotion for their product, why should any of us be so naive as to think that 2 hours of something--or a whole season of 30 minute segments--won't affect us in ways {positively OR negatively} that we're not consciously submitting to?
      i'm not saying to stop watching tv, i'm just saying that it's eye-opening to me to think of the power over MY BRAIN that i give to strangers; people who, if they gave me face to face advice in real life, i would often heartily disagree with.
      i don't know if that makes sense?

      anyway! thanks. :) this flu is OVER!

    2. That totally makes sense yeah :) It's a bit scary and I think maybe that's why I'm trying to think I'm more in control than I am haha. Thank goodness subliminal messaging is illegal now.

      And so glad your flu is gone! Yay!

  4. People like to be entertained, and they will keep in mind people who
    are entertaining.


Say anything you want. It doesn't even have to be relevant.