Entertain Me

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I love baseball. But to a point.

I’ll usually watch the first two games of the season. Maybe I’ll sit through a Saturday game here and there. And I catch some of the World Series. I’ll watch enraptured if the Yankees are in it. I hate them and enjoy seeing them lose.

When I was a kid I played Little League and then pitched out of the bullpen for my private high school. A middle reliever I liked to call myself. Actually I sat on the bench most games. I only got called in when there was little chance we’d win. The coach just didn’t want to lose by a fat margin.

Sitting through the game tonight, I also thought about the election. There’s a neck-and-neck race for the White House and here a good portion of Americans are watching a bunch of grown man slapping a ball around with a wooden stick.

It’s entertaining though.

As I get older, I am beginning to see that things like the World Series, Superbowl, American Idol, Jersey Shore and Mario Brothers really are affecting our productivity a lot more than we can tell. Hell the Internet has wasted so much of my life that if I’d invested it into writing, I would have authored a novel collection to rival Stephen King.

Marcuse. Postman. They’re right. We focus so much on mass culture that we lose sight of what’s wrong in this world. If we focused less on amusement and paid attention to poverty, politics, social reform and civil rights, things would likely be better. The Internet was created to increase communication among educators but it has since only served to be another source of distraction.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my baseball. Those memes can be funny. Bloggers do have good points once in awhile. But there’s always a nagging thought in a corner of my collective subconscious that something’s wrong with how much time we waste on unproductive culture.

Some historians argue that the beginning of the end for the Roman empire began with a rising number of colosseum games. They spent more days out of the year watching gladiators cleave appendages off each other than they did working. We need to pay attention to that, especially now that we’re in the days of cable TV, the Web and professional sports.

Our lifestyles have become unsustainable and we’re taking more from the world than it can give. It’s creating problems with people in other countries. Civil wars. Somali Pirates. Starvation. Energy shortages. It’s only going to get worse.

This is going to bite our collective asses if we don’t turn off the game once in awhile.

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