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The demand and disregard for the pleasurable distraction of entertainment

There’s something about award shows that makes me want to uncork a bottle of bubbly and don a sparkly dress. They’re not exciting most of the time, dragging on for hours, but I can’t deny the magic of the arts and being entertained. It’s an urgent pull to root for the movies you’ve savored throughout the year, irresistible magic of the arts.

I’ve loved and watched them all. The Grammy’s were a big draw back in the 70s and 80s for me when the only access we had to our favorite singers was on music videos played after school on channel 23 or the choppy mix tapes we made from the radio. There was no MTV until cable finally swept through our area in 1990, and by then I was married with a baby on the way. Our massive console TV captured them all, from the People’s Choice, Golden Globes and Grammy’s, to my very favorite, the Academy Awards.

The speeches are my favorite. Stick someone under the lights, and they’re going to say what’s been on their mind, what their platform allows them to say. I’ve always admired the pluck of someone with lights stuck in their face, an expectant crowd before them, hot sweat dripping down their back from the thrill of a win, statuette in hand. It’s under those circumstances they take a chance on saying something that millions will hear, something meaningful to them.

Over the years I’ve heard people urgently speak on climate change, Native American rights, protests on war, animal protections, guns, equal pay, diversity. The list is endless. For me it adds to the colorful characters of the people I pay money to see in a movie or listen to through songs. It adds depth to my view of their character to think, “Hey, they think like I do” or “well, I guess that’s their opinion, to each their own.”

Everyone has a voice: rich, poor, actor, laborer, man, woman, child, student, stay-at-home mom, large and small. Snatches of oft-repeated phrases float into my ears that say, “I wish those actors would stop telling me about their causes and just act.” And I always wonder why.

Their minds and causes are no different than our own causes, and having a few dollars more than most doesn’t make their opinion any less than ours. If this were the case, we should have a salary cap on the many high-profile jobs, like acting or being in government, ruling that no one can run for office who earns over 50k.

There’s an idea. Let’s see what kind of creativity and refreshing ideas would come from those of us living inside that cap.

Does money equal knowledge? No, but it doesn’t stop people with or without money from having an opinion. My son attends film school. He — as well as us — has been met with the nearly imperceptible rolling of the eyes and tone change when someone asks what he attends college for.

“Oh OK, he’s there for film and video? How cool.”

And they walk away, and you just know they’re thinking that he’s wasting money on pursuing that type of career.

Yet we still head to the movies and binge-watch Netflix series as well as TV and every other single form of entertainment day after day. We seek it.

There are people behind these productions, toiling hard, and someone is going to excel because they want it and have creativity in their veins. We seek the arts and the pleasurable distractions they provide daily, knowing that someone put their sweat and blood into the project. We expect it and want them to make us laugh and cry, emoting every single feeling available. We love being entertained yet disregard the voices behind the entertainment.

I would hope that when my son succeeds in his dream of attaining fame as a director that his voice isn’t suddenly muted with the cry, “Those Hollywood people just need to be quiet and do their jobs. I don’t want to hear what they think. I want them to entertain me.” Because after all he is just a kid from small town Ohio with the same dreams and opinions he grew up with, transferred to a platform he could share them on, where people would hear him, like others before him have done.

Someday I hope to see him on that stage accepting an award, words prepared on a small note, nervous with the glare of the lights and crowd, money flush in his pocket from grinding out something special, and me smiling from the audience.

Published: March 6, 2017
New Article ID: 2017703069985