Entertainment has gotten me thinking lately. Do we need as much as is accessible? Often while comparing the wonderful United States of America with other countries we all think of wealth as one of the first things, but it isn’t just monetarily. It has a lot to do with how much we spend (waste) on “entertaining” ourselves. The new 99%-ers are actually still 1% of the world’s wealthiest in multiple ways and one of them is how much disposable* income we have. Many times this is used to entertain ourselves because we have such cushy lives that we have disposable time that companies spend BILLIONS of dollars to get us to use it on their products!
Before I write more, let me say I am a hypocrite just like you. I watch a lot of documentaries and movies. I listen to a lot of music and download a lot more. I have 300 Gigabytes of podcasts that I have haven’t listened to or have and save because I might want to again–when I am out of new stuff. I receive about a 1000 new posts in my Google reader (other RSS readers are available) every day. So I have them categorized to friend, daily (which is more weekly) and other. Then about once a month when I have busted through all the blogs and tweets and funny pictures of cows I can handle I mark all as read. Why only monthly? Because I might have time that needs to be filled by that one blog I haven’t read in months. But this isn’t the point.
We are over-entertained, over-stimulated and over marketed. We all know that with the three thousand ads the average American sees daily. But the thing that is really starting to get me thinking is the amount of television that has tours or live events and the cost for them. Singers, athletes and “athletes” earn millions off of our disposable time and money while we generally pass by sign fliers on the way and say we don’t have any change. We sit at home and stare at a screen then go sit in a theater or stadium to see the same thing…only live and more expensive.** We pay $20, 40, $80 or more per person for a night at a concert, or basketball game, or intrastate school football game, or to see a buddy play at a local drinking establishment.
All the while we scoff when we see people hungry. Or when we have an unemployed friend, or family member. We think we don’t have enough money to help them. Again, I’m guilty as anyone else of this, but I think there is a lot more that can be done. Like realizing that the cable, Netflix, music, books and latest technology we purchase can add up to more than our food and beverage budgets. And if we started collecting those drops in a bucket we think entertainment is on our budget maybe we can become nicer to those who need a hand out. Who truly just need a meal or shower or bed for the night. It would be amazing if the church, the government, the “someone else” took care of those things but until they do maybe just maybe we can lack being entertained for a few minutes to let someone else meet their basic life necessities.
That covers how we waste time and money on being entertained. Next time- What is the falseness of media doing to you?: How romantic comedies are chic flicks with 1.5 times the jokes and still as fake.
Listened to while writing: Pearl Jam Backspacer
*as in not used to provide life’s daily basic necessities- food, shelter, a cloth, a pair of shoes
**side rant- is this why people sit down at concerts now? Because they are used to seeing them on TV or Computer screens? When I pay $60 for Willie Nelson, damn straight I will be standing up for “You Were Always on my Mind”! Less “down in front” more “get up, lazy dude”