I live in a world of entertainment. A world that wants to have a good time, to be entertained. A world where people think nothing of spending 1500 dollars on a college bowl game. Thousands on a super bowl game. Or watch actors get up on a stage and accept little trophies and make grateful speeches. None of them ever mentions the gobs of money they made. They never touch on that. Maybe they are not really so grateful after all.
I live in a world where people don't just need entertaining events and distractions- they rely on them. Television, computers, Ipods, cellphones, video games. A world where people go to the movies, go to concerts, go to the gym. We buy toys, motorcycles, boats, and airplanes to distract ourselves, to try new things we say. We live in a world where we worship entertainers. We worship singers, dancers, actors. We have fantasies with those actors, we make love to them. We covet them. We want to be like them. That is what matters to many of us. It entertains our busy minds.
I had an invitation to go to an Oscar party last night. Watching actors get up on stage and do what they do best- they act. We find that fascinating and entertaining. At the Oscar party, we look at beautiful people, wearing beautiful clothes, saying beautiful (and every once in awhile unbeautiful) things. I wonder how those beautiful people look in the morning. At the Oscar party there were drinks and food and a few people out in the parking lot grabbing a smoke of something. Talking on phones. All of those superficial distractions. Most if not all of them, meaningless. I should have went to mass. And then I thought...
I wonder when they get up in the morning, naked and standing in front of the mirror, do the actor atheists ask, "Is this the most powerful thing in the universe?" Let's hope on that puny stage, they have the good sense to say "no."
That's how my crazy mind works. Caught up in the national obsession- this culture that never asks why. Why do we find it so necessary to be entertained with superfluous bullshit? It certainly does not vault us onto a new intellectual plane.
Maybe our lives are just boring. Perhaps we see them as meaningless. Maybe we yearn to be distracted, to judge others, to talk about it later. Maybe we are simply not comfortable with ourselves. Perhaps we have low self esteem or self worth. Maybe we just can't get comfortable in our skin. An entire culture based on some national obsession with the things that don't really matter. Like academy awards or football games. Cellphones, Ipods, and treadmills. I'll tell you something really odd. I own all three of those things. I cannot say those distractions have improved my life. In fact if anything, they have not. I have the luxury of being old enough to remember a time when I didn't have to be entertained. When I didn't value my life or self worth based on a few lost pounds. When once I was lost listening to an old German lady as a child, a lady who told me what a great man Adolf Hitler was. It wasn't entertaining, it was intellectually stimulating. I was mesmerized. Lost on how a little German girl could see the world so differently than I did at that moment. How simple my life was then. That sometimes, many times- I could actually remember not having to be entertained. How did I survive?
I couldn't help but think of all of these things tonight. Humble, grateful speeches by Oscar winning actors. Instantly judged by millions. He seems like a nice guy. Really? Was it all just an act? What do you really know about a man after he says a few words? Or does that even really matter? Why do we think we know anything about a person who manages to string a couple of sentences together. We fell for Obama. The truth is we don't and we are insane to think otherwise. But we do. For an instant I felt really stupid. Like some sort of herd animal watching a bunch of fluff. I too, am an idiot. Thinking I know something about some actor who acts for a living. Sitting there with a bunch of morons watching a TV.
I think I am going to pass on the big party next year. March is almost here. Soon they will be passing out those illegal brackets we fill out each year and gamble on. A few weeks of entertainment. I am due to cash in on one of those things. I can hardly wait.