OPINION: Are we cultivated to be entertained 24/7?

On the surface, we are creatures of habit and engagement. The former being an ever-growing concern in the younger generations over the older generations as we go into this new decade after the 2010s. As much as our generation may get stigmatized, it’s an ever-growing concern for all of us as COVID-19 continues. I started thinking about this regard last year regarding people asking for sports and general “parties” to come back in 2020 during and near the end of summer after the former sports organizations like the NCAA, NFL and MLB proclaimed they wouldn’t. Comments aside, I was still presumptuous as to why we need this constant entertainment with many companies correlated with our smartphone usage and/or our entertainment. If interested in seeing a breakdown of the top advertisers in 2019, that can be found here.

In the realm of sports, we went from college football associations and schools not opting to play to then go through with it anyway due to backlash. Our drive to have entertainment on our screens has led many of these players to get hurt in drastic ways due to the NFL’s format of having no pre-season before last year’s season began back in the fall. Prime players were affected through this last season such as Dak Prescott, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and others getting hurt before November alone with serious injuries. Why do we have this drive to be constantly entertained?

“We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the day.” – Daniel Boorstin

The recent events had me even question if I was a “shut-in” when I condemned going to a campus snowball fight weeks back when peers around wanted to join in. The dawn of movies ingrained our infatuation or “seduction” with being entertained constantly paving the way for celebrity culture that’s infatuated many in our current age, per the National Post. We are people that can make anything turn into a cinematic story via retelling a story to our friends and family, good or ill. We as bystanders to our close friends or family will never know the true context of something potentially when we have peers that may overexaggerate details about an encounter in their day just so they can get a derived response they want.

The National Post continues with how recently we elected a “movie” instead of a leader because that’s how infatuated a good pocket of people was with the idea of the American image of years past, a decree that apolitically I can agree with compared to past presidents in my lifetime. I saw the greater story of this proclamation when quarantine began and persisted with some sports organizations “catering” to our drive to be entertained and more hours left inside to take their mind off the situation of the world. Escapism is something that I can understand as someone that still compulsively procrastinates on projects and homework. It becomes problematic when I see the influx of streaming services exploiting our culture binge and people waiving off the COVID-19 pandemic as a non-factor in people young and old. 

I’ve tried personally to mitigate this compulsion to constantly be entertained by deactivating some social media accounts and focusing on applications for jobs while keeping my mind engaged in the meantime. As someone that doesn’t post that much at all, I’m at a point where I know that things may still be “bad” outside as we all don’t wanna be reminded of the problems of life and the current pandemic. I still don’t want to lose a sense of myself as I see people around me risk their lives and others around them by going to beaches and partying while normalcy still isn’t attained in the world going into 2021. Our greater drives to always snap our friends, take pictures and constantly have media float around our eyes is a present issue that some have correlated to calling people on drug addictions. We all could’ve used this increased time inside to build together with our close ones in our family that we may have missed out on previously (i.e going on hikes, read a book, getting some much-needed rest and closure with people around you). One blog called this transition “being a damn person” rather than a vessel going through the simulations we intake through our numerous streams of media and technology. 

So where is the balance or solution to being entertainment enriched to being compared to drug addicts? I don’t have the answer as I see a great degree of cults of personalities forming from people that wouldn’t get media or attention in other countries. 

The divide continues in public and more so online via shared corporately owned media outlets and unregulated social media platforms who are just eating this divide up as their revenue increases as we scroll through it day in and day out. The past few years have made me more cognizant of what the state of things is as COVID-19 continues and people close or adverse to me continue to break guidelines to get an entertainment “high,” so to speak.

Our intake of entertainment across TV and social media has seemingly exhausted everyone as we hyperbolize memories more than what they were and give attention to figures that reap the rewards from our attention for giving them the pedestal. I still see the good in people despite everything I’ve seen over the past decade of my active life and I think we all could use a break. If there is someone you’ve lost contact with or have not talked to in a while, see how they are doing because sometimes a conversation can speak volumes for them as we all try to get by. It is best to see how we can grow within ourselves and with others as nothing is more miserable than seeing the case count continue as people persist in ignorance and/or get consumed by constant media and entertainment from the hysteria outside, to then ultimately get the repercussions that come with social isolation and lack of activity.  

Gregory Hess is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].