Quality Entertainment

Today Facebook’s memory bank dished up yet another thing I said a few years back, and don’t even remember saying:

“The best artists and entertainers aren’t the ones who make you forget about your own life, but rather, the ones who inspire you to dive more deeply into it.”

I’ve pasted this quote here because it’s very relevant to the “grassroots green mobilization.” We have created a culture that makes people very inclined to feel the need to escape and forget. And that isn’t sustainable.

Fortunately, we all know artists and entertainers who fit the more enlightened definition. Visual artists, musicians, gardeners, storytellers, artists in the medium of life.

Your homework assignment for today, should you choose to accept it, is to pick one (or more) of your favorite artists/entertainers of the “inspire you to dive more deeply into life” variety, and treat yourself.

Update Sunday 6/28/20: Well, this post proved timely. In my local paper this morning I read that people are buying mass quantities of fireworks for July 4th, since the official public celebrations have been canceled. “People are starved for entertainment,” a guy buying fireworks was quoted as saying. (Boldface added by me for emphasis.) And I realized how true that is for a lot of people, with sports competitions, bars, theme parks, concerts, and other popular forms of entertainment having been shut down.

For some of us, the “normal” world probably feels too saturated with entertainment of the louder, splashier variety. I know it feels that way for me. I often find music in a bar to be too loud; I find the proliferation of TV screens in public places to be exhausting; I cannot imagine wanting to set foot in today’s theme parks.

But, reading that article reminded me that entertainment is a basic human need, and we all need some kind of entertainment. The challenge for each of us then becomes finding entertainment that is available, not too expensive, and is somehow restorative.

I have to admit, I notice myself experiencing a new form of mental fatigue from the volume of work-related webinars and videos I’m feeling the need to take in. I’m craving some entertainment to balance that out. I may have to try the public library, which I hear has reopened.

And a little earlier this afternoon, I noticed that a part of my driveway now has midday shade (from a palm tree that has leafed out since last year when there was no midday shade in the driveway). I sat out there for a little while and watched “Yard TV,” which at this time of day mainly consists of our hardy lizards and technicolor grasshoppers. I felt a renewed appreciation for how these creatures, and the plants, could just sit there under the blazing sun going about their business, and presumably not need any “escape” or diversion. THAT was entertaining to me, in an uplifting way.

Not to say I don’t love some cable TV though. I don’t have a TV but love watching certain shows on occasion with a neighbor. Dexter is my current favorite. And when my Mom was alive and I went to stay with her for a couple months to help her out, she and I loved watching Criminal Minds together.

You know what the best entertainment is, though, overall? Just, simply, a fellow human being to talk with. That is the most robust form of entertainment. It stands us through power outages, pandemics, hurricanes, long nights in bus stations. I don’t think I’m alone here when I say I am probably experiencing a deficiency of human company. Even though I’m quite an introvert.

It’s good to be aware of the need for human companionship. Old people in nursing homes are refusing food, refusing to get up, and so on, because their grandkids are not allowed to visit them. (I saw an article about this in my Facebook feed, from AARP.)

Some old folks are telling their families, in effect, Screw it — please just get me out of this place; I don’t care if leaving the facility might shorten my life; I just want to be with family.

That, actually, strikes me as a sane and healthy attitude. I am pretty sure that is how I’d feel if I were in that situation.

What’s interesting to me is how long it seems to have taken our modern mainstream society to come back around to the realization of what’s really most important in this world: our connections with each other. Something that humans in simpler times and less affluent places always knew. Well, better late than never, that we are coming back around to this awareness.