The Effect of Entertainment on Society
In the book, Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, Neal Gabler wrote that entertainment is harmful to society. He views entertainment as “fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable, and subversive.” While some of his points are valid, others fall flat because the counterargument is not addressed. Entertainment is not harming society in any way. If anything it is bettering society in ways that might not be possible without the existence of entertainment.
Gabler quotes cultural aristocrats from the 19th century to support his view on the danger that entertainment places to society. They say that the eventual effect of entertainment will be to “overturn all morality…” This is clearly a blatant over exaggeration on Gabler’s part. Like everything else in the world, entertainment can do more to help or hurt the way we live our lives. Most forms of entertainment don’t overturn morality; in fact they strengthen it. There are countless numbers of television shows made to address a specific cause. The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a show about teen pregnancy. At the end of every episode a member of the cast talks about how serious the issue is. They show phone numbers and websites on screen to direct teenage girls who may be struggling with this issue to help. The same thing is seen on other shows, such as Degrassi, that deal with serious issues like suicide, anorexia, or gang violence. They do this to help make kids aware of the dangers of these issues so that they will end up making the right choices. Television also helps kids who don’t have the proper parental figures in their life to make good choices. There are dozens of programs out there to teach little kids lessons like stealing is wrong and hurting someone is never the answer. Children’s shows like Barney and Telletubies are perfect examples. My parents never told me up front that stealing was bad. They didn’t have to...
Bibliography: Gabler, Neal. Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality. New York: Knopf, 1998. Print.
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