Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our Mission, Should We Choose to Accept It

by Ben Howard

It can be argued fairly easily that we are a product of our society.  Whether this “society” in question is the whole of Western Civilization, America in particular, or even our cities, our states, our neighborhoods, our churches, or just our families we are all fundamentally communal and cultural creatures and these piecemeal social forces from the macro to the micro nuance and flavor our view of the world.  As a natural response to the effect these forces have upon us a discerning eye has been turned towards the weightier matters of our culture.  We discuss war and peace, security and freedom, issues of morality and power and fear, but we discuss them either in the abstract (which makes them seem esoteric) or through anecdotal evidence (which makes them too personal). 

However, we rarely discuss entertainment, or at least what our entertainment says about who we are.  Sure, sometimes we talk about high artistic achievement, but I’m sorry to say that Picasso does not say as much about society as Jersey Shore does, or at least why we like to watch Jersey Shore.  I think that through the lens of our entertainment we have the perfect vehicle to explore how we think, what we think about and how we are truly motivated.  With this knowledge I think we can begin to dig into ourselves and find a way of living and responding to our societies that is more authentic and intentional than we had before.

So that’s the intent here, to explore and analyze our entertainment from movies to TV to sports to books to whatever cultural wave happens to crash across our bow.  The point is not to say what’s good or worthy, though I’m sure I will do both on occasion, but to see what these oft untapped sources have to say to us about who we are, who we think we are, and who we aspire to be.


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