For such a culture of entertainment, we sure are against the stuff.
When is the last time you danced? Prom? A club in college? You ever notice how rare dancing has become?
If you watch a lot of old movies and read a lot of old books, you’ll see that social dances were remarkably common. To dance was a mark of manliness or ladyship. From royal balls to sock hops, everyone knew how because everyone did it. Nowadays, common folk dance for two reasons only: exercise and sexiness. While I’m all for both, dancing used to be a form of entertainment. When did that stop?
How about singing in a group? In the Victorian age, it was, again, a mark of character if you could sing and/or play an instrument. Everyone could and everyone did. The guests were the entertainment. When’s the last time you sang in public?
What comes to mind when you think of the word “Entertainment?” Movies? Concerts? Shows? Plays? Heck, plug it in Google and that’s mostly all you’ll see. These kinds of entertainment are great, but nowadays, that’s all we have. You know what’s wrong with this kind of entertainment? It requires nothing from us.
When it comes to entertainment, we’re a non-participatory culture. We want to BE entertained. That’s why public dances are so rare. That’s why people don’t sing in bars anymore. We’d rather sit in our seats and have somebody entertain us than get up and be part of it. You could blame TV and Youtube for all that, but I’d take it one step deeper and say it’s the “me” culture. It’s about me, me, me, entertain me.
We don’t teach much social entertainment anymore. Heck, why should we learn how to sing or dance when it’s easier to watch American Idol and get our entertainment that way? Why learn to play an instrument when going to the concert takes way less time? And yet, we crave entertainment. We can’t seem to get enough of it. Why? Because we’re not really seeking it in full.
C.S. Lewis said that “We are far too easily pleased.” I think we he was right. Instead of getting up and dancing and living life, we’d rather sit and be quiet. Instead of singing with friends, we’d rather sit around and watch a movie. Why? Because we can get “just enough” entertainment by doing absolutely nothing.
We want the world, but we buy it from the lowest bidder. Make me do as little as possible while retaining all the results. I can see this in exercise (take this magic pill), working (overtime is for losers), spending (charge it on the card), and discipline (but I want it NOW!), but to see it in entertainment truly puzzles me. Have we given over even our own enjoyment to our selfish desires?
I can’t dance, but I’d love to learn. I can’t sing like I used to, but I will gladly provide the baritone harmony if anybody wants to sing with me. I challenge you to do the same. Sing with your friends, play music, get up and move.
Let’s stop being entertained and actually have some fun.
2 thoughts on “Non-Participants”
I dance regularly around the kitchen w/a small child (or two) dancing along with me. Eventually when they get more coordinated I’m going to teach them the Time Warp and the Macarena.