There’s been a lot going on this month, huh? Coming off a summer of death and destruction, it’s easy to tell this fall will give us no breaks, afford us no luxury of dead weeks.
As long as we’re not too distracted, it shouldn’t matter. In fact, I learned a few things watching the events of this month unfold.
As superficial as it may seem, the crazy overlap of entertainment and politics is the stuff of American culture.
It’s as if we need to be entertained in order to be engaged, which is fine because at least we’re engaged, right? People can get really serious about the ramifications of Joe Wilson’s outburst, the way race played out at the VMAs, the lack of our overpundits to balance the outrageous (Colbert, SNL, where WERE y’all?). But it comes down to what entertains us, which brings me to the next thing I learned.
If I’m entertained, I’m engaged. Once I’m engaged, I can be educated.
My level of engagement will determine how far I’ll go in being educated by someone else or by myself. Education doesn’t have to take on the student teacher roles. I like the Wikipedia definition of education for this:
Education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.
No wonder Twitter is hot and has been hot for a minute, too. People are being educated like never before. Social media is like the one-two punch. It’s highly entertaining and instantly engaging. Education is a natural consequence.
Serious Issues – health care reform, immigration, education reform et al – could stand a good dose of entertainment.
Please don’t get me twisted; we can’t be all entertainment all the time. Balance is crucial in executing the right effect. But, if we want the American public to get informed, we’ve got to make it engaging. And if we want to make it engaging, we’ve got to make it – say it with me now – entertaining!
I don’t mean entertaining workshops or townhalls; I mean the Entertainment Industry. America is still based on capitalism, and if I’m paying for something you can be sure I’ve assigned it some sort of personal value. I’m invested in it even if I didn’t pay with dollars. Make me invest in something entertaining. Make my peers invest in it too. Create a critical mass and then boom. I’m engaged. I’m letting you educate me and most importantly, I’m educating myself.
Easier said, etc.
According to Meyers-Briggs, I’m a solutions kinda woman. So there are probably a lot of details in here somewhere I missed. And there are probably a lot of logical errors. And someone probably already wrote about this. But I have already seen the entertainment – engagement – education pathway happen with the adoption of T-mobile’s Sidekicks and other mobile devices in the young people population.
By nature, we tend to the path of least resistance. The easier the medium to navigation, the more accessible it becomes, even if it’s not that accurate. For example, we make a range of purchasing choices based on what people we know say. Sure, we could do thorough product research before we buy a pack of gum, a new sweater or that new used car, but our peers have a strong impact on that decision.
All to say what people bemoan as the ADD of this generation is actually not. Media have become ridiculously accessible means by which we receive our education. I like being educated by social networks on and offline.
So here’s looking at you, health care reform. America wants to be entertained. Entertain us.