How Excess In Entertainment Created A Culture Of Distractions

A blunt but charismatic peddler. Columbia Pictures

I remember leaving Justice League with an unsettling thought: “Now what do I have to wait for?” That’s the mantra of the 21st-century man. I don’t even like most of these schlock exhibits, but even still there’s this feeling that infects me — this feeling that I have to see all of it to appreciate any of it. It’s all about the fear of stopping. Like the myth that sharks drown if they stop moving, if I stop consuming, I’ll have to find other reasons to be alive.

That’s the gift of this franchise drivel. Despite living in a world with zero interest in your well being, despite the terrors happening in North Korea or Qatar, despite the existence of cancer, franchise drivel, not dissimilarly to religion before it, purports a reason to live. You can’t hang yourself until you find out who Rey’s parents are. And don’t you want to see The Avengers learn to work as a team to defeat Thanos? Do you want your mental state to be contingent on a throng of “then what’s?”

On escapism, Shirley Jackson once said, “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under the conditions of absolute reality.” Maybe Jackson was right, but we owe to ourselves to try. I don't like to reside with many aspects of myself, but I’m also trying to make an effort not to shove my nose in a book, or binge watch Stranger Things every time I’m uncomfortable. That sort of reprieve is provisional, fleeting and illusory.

I’m often caught, like a rag doll, between both ends of the spectrum: over engaging in the pop culture fuckery that surrounds me or removing myself from all of it. Suicide is a blunt, but charismatic peddler. The only real method of reprisal is to develop character and conviction, two virtues not afforded by post-credit scenes or Easter eggs.

By all means, enjoy film and literature, but be careful not to forfeit the ability to face the world and all of its meanness.

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