At the beginning of this year I said that I would read and report back on a book about culture, youth issues, contemporary trends, and parenting to name a few. Well, so far I have just posted on one book and not that extensively. For this month, which makes me two out of three, I have decided to read Neal Gabler’s Life, the Movie: How Entertainment Conqured Reality.
Currently I have read just the first chapter, which was well worth the cost of the book (even considering that I got it used for less than $1!). Since I have just begun reading the book I cannot personally provide a full synopsis on it, but let me share with you from the front cover so that you will better understand what this book is about.
And I quote, “Starting in the nineteenth-century America with the theatrics of the popular stage and the sensations of the popular press, Gabler traces the phenomenal rise of Entertainment as it challenges high culture. He also shows how entertainment…
most notably with the arrival of the movies, comes to dominate the national consciousness by introducing a new way of seeing, until it seems that every endeavor and idea must become part of the grand, ever-growing, ongoing Big Show or risk invisibility. How this came to pass and what it means for our culture and for our personal lives are explored in a book at once astute, witty, concerned, and a lively pleasure to read.”
In all actuality, by reading from the front flap as well as the editorial reviews, this book reminds me a lot of Neal Postmans Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Entertainment has affected every facet of life. From education, politics, religion, news, morality, and our perception of reality. What exactly is entertainment?
Entertainment, as defined by Gabler, is in part and what we are more familiar with, “that which affords interest or amusement and a public performance or exhibition intended to interest or amuse” (18). It is something so pervasive and influential in our lives that Gabler goes on to say that entertainment “sinks its talons into us and pulls us in, holidnig us captive, taking us both deeper into the work itself and deeper into ourselves, or at least into our own emotions and senses, before releasing us” (18). Entertainment has a mindnumbing effect upon people and anyone can see this by taking the time to look at the expressions on peoples faces after leaving a movie. Gabler goes on to share what one will see: “people filing silently out of a moive theater, their eyes vacant, their faces slack, to see how one must reemerge after being submerged this way in a film…entertainment…pull[s] us into ourselves to deny us persepctive”(18).
In a couple of days I would like to briefly share on entertainment and how it has creeped into the Christianity as well.
Such a book as this would serve you well to read, to confront the role of entertainment within our lives and how it’s multiple means, such as t.v., movies, video games, and music, really affects our lives, especially if we are engrossed within it, submerged into its presence as if we were standing in a large body of water.
Here’s some food for thought: How many hours per day do you spend being “entertained?”