Friday, December 3, 2010
The Rising Tide
Entertainment is the single most lucrative industry in the US. Wolf (1999), as quoted in Singhal and Rogers’ article, was spot-on in describing entertainment as a “rising tide” in the US. Unyielding and inevitable, entertainmentization has gripped society to such an extent a decade after the term was coined that the American public has been unwittingly consumed in the entertainment society, as much as we live in an information society. We demand entertainment in everything around us: elevators and cabs are equipped with tvs; with smart phones and ipods placing entertainment at our fingertips, there is never an idle moment. Materials meant to be informative or educational are evaluated for their entertainment value even where utterly irrelevant. The most ordinary aspects of daily life involving showcasing cakes at the local bakery, makeover shows, choosing your wedding dress, housewives, and large families are the center of reality shows for the public to feed on. Details of celebrities and other high-profile people’s lives are tabloid fodder to satiate the public’s desire for entertainment. This ties back to the idea of the paradox of plenty, where we are perhaps inundated by too many entertainment options that there is a sensory overload that makes it difficult to choose what to pay attention to, determine what is important, or what to indulge in next.