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The potential of entertainment

Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Media has the potential to be a powerful platform for change. From the population as a whole, not many people listen to NPR and no one watches C-SPAN (no offense C-SPAN), yet nearly every American has cable or goes to the movies. Disney has what is known as 100 percent market saturation. In other words, in the United States virtually every person has had exposure to Disney products.

Consider now the power of media. The ability to reach every American, not through brainwashing or top secret chem trails but simply though entertainment.

Also consider the current state of entertainment compared to what it could be. When I turn on the television I am inundated with rednecks building cars, bourgeois white people selling homes and plot-less quagmires watched only out of boredom. While there is nothing inherently wrong with simple entertainment, it is wrong however, to allow entertainment to be simply that when it has the potential to be so much more.

There are some excellent examples of entertainment being used in this manner. Two of my favorite shows are Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. Both of these shows choose to tackle complicated social and political issues of the time period while still remaining entertaining. Additionally, these shows do an excellent job of not only presenting issues in an interesting manner, but also sparking conversation about the issues.

The truly amazing thing is that these shows continue to be not only popular (relatively speaking), but also pertinent for discussion almost 60 years later. This is the power that media has. The ability to transcend petty politics and childish bickering. Imagine if that power was wielded to its fullest extent.

This is not to say that entertainment today has lost the ability to convey important issues; in face, the contrary is true. Movies like Spotlight, Hell or High Water, Dallas Buyers Club and Hacksaw Ridge have been movies that I personally admired, especially in light of their tendency to spark conversation. Certainly all movies have this potential but unfortunately some fall short.

As the consumer, don’t allow this to be an issue that no one cares about. It’s possible nobody cares about the content of a movie and its possible I’m simply out of touch with reality. Yet you the consumer have the power to create any and all change. I urge you to vote with your wallet when it comes to entertainment. Do not allow entertainment to become the pabulum spoon fed to masses who do not care. Force entertainment to live up to its fullest potential. Ensure that the new millennium is one that is remembered for its passion and tenacity, and looked back upon with the wistful nostalgia of past eras.

Entertainment is power. You are the power to effect change. Next time you find yourself watching television or a movie stop and ask yourself what you want entertainment to be: substance-less or a medium for change.

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