As I write this, entertainment industry workers continue their strike. Threatened by economic and technological changes, they fear that their work may disappear. Legendary entertainment tycoon Barry Diller has warned that these strikes threaten to collapse the entire industry.
Those stories may be good reason(s) for us to get ready for the slow changes to *entertainment as we know it. Perhaps we can hearken back to what used to entertain us. I am not talking here about sitting around the campfire, telling stories while gnawing on mastodon bones and wondering when our local glacier will retreat enough to turn into Wisconsin. Instead, I’m inviting you to imagine how we all might be able to satisfy our needs and desires for entertainment. I hope the following thoughts prove hopeful….
I like the idea of our being the entertainment, being the entertainers. Supporting each other through our fascinating—and perhaps entertaining—personal characteristics. Each of us has stories to tell, questions to ask, tasks to share with others, good humor to spread and hospitality to extend. In whatever condition they may be, our homes can become places for intimate, enjoyable gatherings. We can remember and rejuvenate the pleasures of our earlier years. (For example, writing letters of admiration or appreciation, volunteering or scrapbooking.) We can prune down our digital apps and streaming services to a basic few. We can surprise and delight others in conversations, helping each other maintain positive frames of mind. In the company of other entertaining people, we can enjoy the calming quiet of non-mediated, device-free days. We might even find deep satisfaction engaging in previously prosaic tasks—e.g., the Zen of weeding or cooking!
The survival of the entertainment industry may be beyond our power. But we can still be entertained. We can still be entertainers!
*From the 12th century Old French entretenir, “hold together, stick together, support.” By the 15th century, the verb came to mean “maintaining someone in a certain frame of mind.” The connected ideas of gratifying/amusing someone, hosting a guest or considering a matter arose during the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
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