When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

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seeds
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When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by seeds » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:24 pm

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I am very old now, so my formative years were shaped by watching television programs such as Ozzie and Harriet, I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, and the Andy Griffith show, just to name a few.

However, as the years have progressed, the direction of what passes as “entertainment” has become so dark and unrestrained that there seems to be no limit to the depths of what is acceptable, with even greater levels of shock needed to satiate our cravings.

So the question is:

Do any of you think there should be a limit on how far we allow ourselves to continue in what appears to be an unbridled descent into total hedonism - where anything goes as far as entertainment is concerned?
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commonsense
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by commonsense » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:29 pm

If you watched Ozzie & Harriet, then you are most likely familiar with historical events. Perhaps you recall the decline of Roman society into a decadent society of hedonism and the like. Such is the course of entertainment and pleasure in the waning years of many an empire.

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Lacewing
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by Lacewing » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:17 pm

I agree with both of you. I see an ever-increasing wave of hyper-stimulation that includes potentials I wish we were not exposed to and bombarded with. I've felt dread when thinking we could repeat the live, blood-thirsty dueling events of Roman times. I recognize that humans can and will explore all sorts of creative/destructive potential -- but some things seem so dark and heartbreaking, and I prefer a life/experience without an excess of those elements. Just because something can be done/tried, doesn't mean it's helpful or clever to do it! I'd like to envision humankind choosing/preferring lighter and more loving (vs dark and hateful) potentials, and not repeating some descent into horror and complete self-destruction that past civilizations fell into.

I think we need a giant wave of awareness to sweep through our civilization, and "shift/evolve" those who survive the seemingly unavoidable implosion of our toxic systems and thinking. Perhaps the best we can do right now is to continually clear our own "individual" energy, and choose/encourage others who do so as well, as our contribution to the betterment of humankind.

seeds
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by seeds » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:25 pm

commonsense wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:29 pm
If you watched Ozzie & Harriet, then you are most likely familiar with historical events. Perhaps you recall the decline of Roman society into a decadent society of hedonism and the like.
Yes, commonsense, I vividly recall that after watching a brand new episode of Ozzie & Harriet, I would step outside in my toga and make my way to the nearest feast where, after gorging on everything in sight, I would avail myself of the vomitorium to make way for more. Ah yes, those were the days! :D :P
commonsense wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:29 pm
Such is the course of entertainment and pleasure in the waning years of many an empire.
Kidding aside, yes, it seems quite obvious that something akin to the fall of Rome is precisely what is taking place in our modern western society...

...(especially in America, which, for the last three and a half years, has been headed-up by an elected president who embodies the very essence of decadence and hedonism as he literally owns a golden toilet).

I would even go so far as to point out that what we are witnessing in terms of what seems to be an impending societal doom, is eerily similar to the Sodom and Gomorrah story in the Bible.

To which I suggest was not a situation where divine retribution was rained-down on humans for their sinful ways, but more of an allegorical warning that when you start to witness the existence (and general acceptance) of widespread debauchery and decadence in entertainment - entertainment* that is even available for children to easily access and view on television, movies, and the Internet,...

*(e.g., graphic scenes of sexual acts and extreme violence, or the emerging popularity of MMA gladiators beating each other to bloody pulps in caged arenas, etc.)

...then it is a sign that something is horribly out-of-whack with the psychological health of your culture, and that a correction (or elimination) is coming.
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FlashDangerpants
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:00 am

You guys are completely nuts. This conversation is nothing but moral panic and rose tinted nostalgia. Also historical ignorance...

Rome was a bloodthirsty empire that thrived and expanded on an orgy of violence. Then it became Christian and the Church attempted to crack down on all the lascivious pagan entertainments, as well all the best orgies. None of this had any causal relationship to the decline and fall of the empire, nor even much effect on the naughtiness and violence of their society. you have got your signs and portents all mixed up because you are misunderstanding the past via the bias of your present day anxieties.

When you were kids, if you watched all that stuff you have described, I bet you watched the Black and White Minstrel Show as well, right?
Image
Or that sitcom where the guy would say "one of these days..." and then something weird about how he was going to beat his wife?
Image

Or who was that woman on TV in the 50s or 60s that had it written into her contract that in every episode she should be allowed to wear slacks instead of a dress for at least one scene in order to make it socially acceptable for women to dress in comfortable clothing? how can stuff like that be a sign of civilisational health?

And quite aside from the cheerful racism and mysoginy of your entertainment when you were wide eyed nippers, did your grandparents not complain that it spread general immorality and civilisation harming licentiousness anyway? Everyone's grandparents generation has always complained about that. All those Rock N Roll singers with their girly hair and thrusting hips and all that dangerous stuff? The censors were busy at that time repressing all art, and what were Joe McCarthy and J Edgar Hoover up to?

commonsense
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by commonsense » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:42 am

Good points, FD, to be sure. Notwithstanding the current iteration of decadent appetite for entertainment, like in other times, is an audience-driven matter rather than a primarily entertainer-driven one.
I agree that the tv programming back in the day was despicable. Don’t forget about the cartoons intended for children at that time.

seeds
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by seeds » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:26 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:00 am
You guys are completely nuts. This conversation is nothing but moral panic and rose tinted nostalgia. Also historical ignorance...

Rome was a bloodthirsty empire that thrived and expanded on an orgy of violence. Then it became Christian and the Church attempted to crack down on all the lascivious pagan entertainments, as well all the best orgies. None of this had any causal relationship to the decline and fall of the empire, nor even much effect on the naughtiness and violence of their society. you have got your signs and portents all mixed up because you are misunderstanding the past via the bias of your present day anxieties.

When you were kids, if you watched all that stuff you have described, I bet you watched the Black and White Minstrel Show as well, right?
Image
Or that sitcom where the guy would say "one of these days..." and then something weird about how he was going to beat his wife?
Image
First of all, Jackie Gleason’s character (Ralph Kramden) never ever followed through with any of his crazy threats to Alice, and almost always ended every show with a positive moral lesson and a worshiping of Alice; calling her “the greatest.”

Nevertheless, with that being said, there is no questioning or doubting the fact that the “good old days” of early television (and our society in general) harbored some sketchy and vile truths.

Secondly, if you don’t think that the U.S. is a bloodthirsty empire that thrives and expands on an orgy of violence, then it is you who is guilty of “rosy retrospection.”

For one simple example (of which there are many), when asked about the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children that resulted from U.S. sanctions placed on that country in the 90s, the soon to be Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said - “...we think the price is worth it...” https://youtu.be/bntsfiAXMEE

And that was just prior to the “shock and awe” death and mayhem we handed them just a few years later (all due to our imperialistic outreach to get control of their oil).

So, yes, that is something else we have in common with old Rome.

However, setting all of that aside, you completely ignored the point (or the question) I asked in the OP.

And that is, at least from a moral standpoint (assuming you have a moral standpoint), do you think there is a limit to how far a society should allow its publicly shared hedonistic cravings to go when it comes to entertainment, especially considering the affect it may have on its children?
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FlashDangerpants
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:41 am

commonsense wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:42 am
Good points, FD, to be sure. Notwithstanding the current iteration of decadent appetite for entertainment, like in other times, is an audience-driven matter rather than a primarily entertainer-driven one.
I agree that the tv programming back in the day was despicable. Don’t forget about the cartoons intended for children at that time.
I'm in my 40s and that's easily old enough to remember a bunch of cringey stuff from my own childhood that would never be allowed today. This is one of the earliest TV things I remember (the name of) from my childhood over here, some shouty Welsh dude going on about poofs and "slanty eyed Japs", it's got blackface and everything, there's no way it's ever getting a rerun now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y2WIOa7CEI
It's moral prudery that makes us shun these old shows, not decadence. So we haven't become truly licentious, we just got rid of some old hangups and got a new set to replace them.

Your analysis is too bleak. There's a simple reason why we consume much more entertainment product today than even those Romans, it's free time, we have inordinately more of it than any society that has ever existed, and hopefully that change will continue and generations to come will have much more of it than even we have.

If I may dare use the dreaded M word on this forum, a certain mister Marx analysed this a long time ago and his insight was correct. He pointed out that the Athenians were rich, even relatively small landholders had all their work done for them by slaves, which made them the first society to really have a large number of people with a large amount of time on their hands. That resulted in a huge expansion of their entertainment industry, so they turned an old religious story telling ritual into theatre as we know it today (with a lot of rude stuff about penises and lady parts I might add). But they also created the frameworks of modern studies such as history, science and philosophy because of that same free time.

Now we have a much larger society, and paid holiday, and 35 hour working weeks, and although we don't have slaves, we do have fridges and vacuum cleaners. We have, in other words, more people, with more leisure time, than they could possibly imagine. So we have an exponentially larger entertainement industry than theirs. But we haven't lost any essential capabilities in this transition, we still use that free time for constructive things too. Among other things, it's what made it possible for us to have schooling from childhood right through to our late teenage years as the minimum standard even for the poor, something else which neither the Greeks nor Marx would have predicted.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: When it comes to “public entertainment,” how far is too far?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:58 am

seeds wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:26 am
However, setting all of that aside, you completely ignored the point (or the question) I asked in the OP.

And that is, at least from a moral standpoint (assuming you have a moral standpoint), do you think there is a limit to how far a society should allow its publicly shared hedonistic cravings to go when it comes to entertainment, especially considering the affect it may have on its children?
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You loaded the question rather excessively, I don't really know what it is that's got you so excited. Is the problem porno or is it Game of Thrones, or Grand Theft Auto or what?

What is the meaning of "dark and unrestrained"? Like really, because snuff movies are already illegal and so are any number of other things that fit that description. So I assume you are talking about something that isn't illegal, but that leaves us with a definition problem, not least because there are laws that do indeed restrain as is the case with the previously mentioned murder porn.

I don't know what the harm is that we are trying to avoid because scary language about unbridled hedonism isn't informative. As far asI am concerned the most harmful entertainment products available today all feature either Tucker Carlson or one of the endless stream of indistinguishable fucking Kardashians. I don't propose to limit anybody's access to either of these noxious products though.

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