E is for Entertainment

| March 6, 2014

1. I approach a movie like Dumb and Dumber differently from how I approach a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The former is standard entertainment fare, the latter is something else.
2. To entertain an idea is to play with it, see where it takes you. This seems odd because it could be the other way around. Ideas could entertain us, but then we might just be passive observers to the idea. To entertain the idea is to make it malleable and see where it fits, it requires action of thought.
3. Passivity might be the demarcating factor for entertainment. When we consume something that is strictly entertainment, it is not meant to work on a deeper cognitive level. The entertainment is meant to touch the surface. Entertainment might get a bad rap because it attempts to reduce our thought processes. We privilege those things that make us think more, not less.
4. Dumb and Dumber is a great movie. So is 2001.
5. I would rather watch an entertaining movie than a boring one. The ideal, it might seem, is to find the balance between entertainment and thought. If a work has no entertainment value at all, then it is as worthless as something that is completely and only entertaining. I have to be drawn into something in order to reach the ideas working beneath the surface.
6. Should education be entertaining? Teachers are certainly performers, but are they entertainers? I have a hard time thinking that teachers must be entertaining, but then again I find myself looking at the criteria I have for looking at an artwork (movies and books in particular). I want them to have some entertainment value so that I can be engaged. Teachers then, might need to be entertainers of a sort, keeping students engaged in such a way that they are able to find ideas beyond the entertainment.
7. There the line could be drawn is in the purpose of the ‘entertainment.’ If the end goal is entertainment, there could be a problem. If the end goal is awakening thought processes, entertainment could be used to get there. Entertainment could be a means to an end, but not an end in itself.
8. But where does that leave Dumb and Dumber?