Evil Rant #7- Passion for Entertainment
When discussing the necessities of life, most people think of things like food, clothing, shelter and human interaction. These things are well established essentials, but, could entertainment be considered another necessary aspect of human existence? Some people may scoff at such an idea, writing entertainment off as just a frivolous commodity, a pure luxury, as opposed to a necessity. However, when you stop to consider the fact that external stimulation is vital to our psychological well being and sanity as human organisms, then the importance of entertainment becomes more apparent. Our brains are designed to crave input, and in this ever changing world of convenience, where we no longer have to worry about issues of survival and danger in the same ways our ancestors had to; other means of stimulation have become increasingly important. Our culture and environment may have changed, but we, for the most part have not. Our Habits and psychology are still operating the way they have for the last 10,000 years and our brains still need to receive certain amounts of external stimulation.
All necessity aside, I love entertainment. The things that we are exposed to, environment, color, shapes, emotions and ideas all have an impact on our psychology. And some of the most dramatic examples of these things can be found in various forms of entertainment. Exposing yourself to sounds, images and ideas that you enjoy can have a very positive impact on your state of mind (and by extension, the rest of your life). It's a great thing to be able to choose what kind of stimulation you want to surround yourself with, and I'd encourage anyone to take full advantage of this. Everyone has their own personal taste, interest and needs, and the more we're allowed to choose our own entertainment, the more satisfied we can expect to be. This is why it's so vital that you not allow anyone to impede your desires; enjoy any type of entertainment that you'd like, with absolute disregard for the standards and opinions of others (this can include anything from how you dress, to how you decorate your lair, to the kind of music that you listen to, the movies you like to watch and what you keep on your hard drive).
I've heard people claim that entertainment can never be as good as real life, but I would argue that if done properly, it can be even better, in a sense. Although it would be difficult (at this time) to completely replace real life, with a synthetic entertainment version, it would be a mistake to say that what we'd call "real life" is necessarily superior, after all, entertainment is customizable. Of course I realized that there's something to be said for real flesh and blood experiences, but then again, the level of control that artificiality allows, makes it a very tempting proposition indeed. Entertainment offers a stylized version of reality, one in which certain aspects of life are played up or exaggerated, while others are toned down or ignored completely. Think about movie genres for a moment, the whole concept of the genre is that reality is skewed toward certain ideas or tendencies depending on what the creators are going for and what the audience wants. You could certainly draw some parallels between categories of entertainment and lifestyle brands as well as other various ways people choose to live and the environments that they create for themselves.
The most important thing about entertainment is that it's fun and enjoyable (or at least stimulating). Tragically, there are many people who don't seem to grasp this concept. Criticism abounds in our society, and entertainment is quite often its target. I personally don't like the idea of going out of my way to criticize something which is designed solely for amusement (there's plenty of "serious" things out there which are much more deserving of such treatment). The sad truth is that entertainment is easier to criticize because everyone recognizes that it's not real. Criticizing other, more serious things is much more risky and often requires more actual thought and analysis. It's pretty simple to find holes in something that's based on opinion and personal preference anyway, and I suspect that's the reason why so many people do it (aside from the petty ego boost they receive, as a result of their criticism).
As you may have guessed by now, censorship is something else which I'm wholeheartedly against. I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with the darker or more primal elements of life, and there should be no reason to deny them, especially in fiction. Many will argue that exposure to certain images or ideas can be harmful. I am among a growing percentage of people who believe that such things have the potential to be, not only safe, but therapeutic. Speaking from my own experiences growing up, being able to vent any destructive or violent tendencies I had, through entertainment, was probably the only thing that kept me from engaging in such activities in real life (not that I'm necessarily condemning real world violence, if nothing else, it serves as a great mechanism for population control). One common delusion parents seem to have about their children, is that they're perfect little angels, whose only downfall can come as a result of being corrupted by other elements in the world. Although upbringing does impact people psychologically, kids are not squeaky clean slates waiting to be tarnished, they're human and have all of the "imperfections" which accompany all biological organisms. Let us not forget that those unpleasant human tendencies that are so regularly ridiculed now, are the exact same traits which allowed our ancestors (and every other species that we've descended from), to continue to survive and flourish. You can take the ape out of the jungle, but...
Despite its detractors, entertainment is still a wonderful thing. As villains we can assume that anyone who tries to separate us from our chosen leisure activities is probably incapable of enjoying such stimulation themselves and is attempting to drag us down into the depths of their emotional putrefaction, where they are forever entombed. We should not expect the world (or even most mainstream entertainment, for that matter) to fulfill our aesthetic and philosophical needs. There will, however, always be fringe outlets for us. There are characters, settings, ideas and worlds out there, ready to fill us with the dark, sinister joy that we desire. And if there isn't, then we'll create them. I mean honestly, who out there doesn't like the idea of playing god, huh?
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