Monday, October 11, 2010

Thoughts on Entertainment and More Wagner

I was thinking about our discussion last week about art and entertainment, and a particularly relevant essay came to mind. It is called "Trickster in a Suit of Lights," and appears in Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon. Chabon is one of my wife Shannon's favorite writers (Shannon is a Ph.D. candidate in English). His writing is also very witty and fun. I will try and make copies for everyone tomorrow, but here are the first few sentences:

"Entertainment has a bad name. Serious people learn to mistrust and even to revile it. The word wears spandex, pasties, a leisure suit studded with blinking lights. It gives off a whiff of Coppertone and dripping Creamsicle, the fake-butter miasma of a movie-house lobby, of karaoke and Jägermeister, Jerry Bruckheimer movies, a Street Fighter machine grunting solipsistically in a corner of an ice-rink arcade. Entertainment trades in cliché and product placement..."

Chabon goes on to suggest:
"...Maybe the reason for the junkiness of so much of what pretends to entertain us is that we have accepted - indeed, we have helped to articulate - such a narrow, debased concept of entertainment."

Just like "art," "high culture," and "lowbrow," "entertainment" has inherited a lot of baggage regarding its meaning. Perhaps we can discuss this as a class tomorrow.

On another note, I wanted to mention that there is an awesome article on the MET's Ring cycle and how they are trying to change the image of opera in the latest edition of Newsweek. I will also try to xerox this for tomorrow.

No comments: