That’s Entertainment

There’s something I’ve got to get off of my chest. This is a hefty slice of opinion. There may be some language, so you have been warned.

First of all, I acknowledge I’m older and I have a different point-of-view than many most younger people (especially a younger generation). It has to do with the increasing balls-out race to ever more instant gratification.

You see, there was a time when seeking something out and buying it meant something. It meant that you cared enough to go out (and sometimes out of your way) to seek the thing out and get it. You could hold it in your hand. A tangible link to the thing you wanted. A record, a CD, a video tape, a DVD… these were the things that provided a connectedness to the media we wanted. It also meant that you could use that media wherever you had a player to enjoy to your heart’s content at your player’s ability.

I’m the oldest person in my department where I work. I hear many of the under-30 co-workers talking about how they only watch stuff they can get on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or other services and do not buy any physical thing. This, to me, is shocking. I feel like they are buying into the knee-jerk reaction to piracy that the studios and distributors are clamouring toward which is digital distribution through almost any means available. This is part of the bipolar response the media industry has been dishing out. “Don’t copy the DVD!” “Oh my God! media sales have taken a hit!” “OK, you can make a copy, but you have to buy this special license first.” “Oh, OK, we’ll stream it on service X.” The complain about bad sales while they encourage the discounting of their work and complain about their losses and expenses while still raking in quite a lot of money.

OK, got a little off topic there, but here it comes: This wave of instant gratification is turning entertainment works music, movies and books into a disposable commodity. There, I said it. I’ve heard time and again people complaining about going to a store to get something. Or even just buying something and having to wait for it to arrive or to have to store it. This makes me want to bitch-slap all of these people. There’s a certain ring of “I don’t give a shit” to this attitude. The fact that they don’t care about having it, to me, means that they really don’t deserve it. Why? Simply because they don’t care. These are the same people who watch most movies or listen to most music or read most books while doing something else. We as a people and as a culture are losing the simple joy of being in the moment. What’s next? Tweeting your orgasm as you have it?

What’s the point of having an entertainment industry in the first place when, thanks to the internet and people who can’t take more than five minutes of concentration at a time; everyone, everywhere is now a “star”. Andy Warhol’s statement has now become a fact. And thanks to the internet, this is part of my fifteen minutes. Look, I enjoy cat videos and podcasts just like everyone else. But I also love movies, music and books. And, like any good love relationship, I nurture it with devoted time. I like to think I have a bit of balance with this. So it’s unnerving when more and more brick-and-mortar stores cut back more and more on media. Business is cutthroat– I get that. When things don’t sell, you have to cut back– I get that too. It just saddens me when it looks like it’s happening on a broader and broader scale.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at Best Buy. For years I went to them almost exclusively because they carried the DVDs I wanted and were comparable to online prices once you factored in shipping. Look at them now. In the past five years they’ve been getting rid of more and more stocks of media and trying to hawk more big-ticket items like TV’s or major sound systems. I think that it was a gamble that wasn’t going to pay off. The whole thing just seemed out-of-balance.

So, what is the point of all of this rambling? Simply to remind you that you probably love your music, books and movies. Show your love by buying a copy of your media for your personal use. Yes, I mean an actual physical thing– not some intangible idea of a thing that some third party is monitoring (DON’T get me started!); and sit back in a quiet space and ENJOY it. Be in that moment. Show your love.

And remember, when you get your entertainment from a third-party gateway, that access can be changed or turned off. Oh, and you don’t need fresh batteries for a physical book.

That’s my two cents.

End opinionated rant.


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