My life, a work in progress.
The Fusion of Entertainment and Enlightenment*
April 7, 2011Posted by on
So we watched a couple episodes of a pseudo-detective TV program last night from a library DVD. I suppose my expectations were a bit too high. The first episode was just ridiculous – characters acting very foolish, non-realistic storyline, unbelievable characters. I barely made it through, and was ready to toss the rest aside as unwatchable. I was kind of insulted that the writers would think I’d find the material humorous, much less interest me in a solvable mystery.
My wife reminded me that, contrary to my expectations, she was only looking for entertainment, not a puzzle to solve. On that basis, and because my daughter was in agreement, I caved and we watched the second episode. It was some better than the first, and my attitude was better, now knowing what framework to put the program in. I was to be entertained, not thoughtful.
Reminded me of a video I’d watched earlier, in which a guy was making the case that mainstream Christian movies are not effective tools for evangelism because people who go to see films do so to be entertained, not taught. He proposed that instead, we ought to seek out films that are entertaining but also allegoric, or have a theme or story that could be the basis for conversation (like Narnia, The Matrix, Knowing and The Book of Eli).
Well, that seems like a reasonable conclusion, though I do wonder how much time the average person spends thinking about films they watch. You know, longer than just some comments on the drive home from the theater. While there may be some who enjoy the in-depth analysis, I suspect the vast majority simply are there for the entertainment, and once it’s over, it’s gone from their minds.
Does that sound cynical? Perhaps it is. I’d hope that all the money, effort and prayer that Christians put into films is not just brushed off as so much second-rate entertainment. I do enjoy entertainment, to be sure, but I also like to think. I’ve found much more value in watching TED talks recently than anything else. Why? Because these people are all about sharing ideas, not just filling my mind with foolishness.
Someone wise has said, “Small minds discuss things, average minds discuss people, but great minds discuss ideas.” Instead of just seeking entertainment from our TV or films, let’s aspire to relate beyond trivial things or other people, and discuss and work through ideas. Who knows what enlightenment may result.
*With apologies to Mr. Beck