Send In The Clowns

It’s no secret that I love words and word-play.  I get really excited when I see an English word translated in another language and suddenly become aware of an additional, often darkly ironic, level of meaning.

This morning I was eating breakfast and reading the print on a Cineplex movie pass (yeah, I am that hard up for reading material). I noticed that the French word for entertainment was divertissement.

Entertainment is diverting. A diversion. A distraction. A distraction from what?  Our effed up government for one.  It’s also an escape from our lives, where maybe we feel unsatisfied but to change things would mean a little bit of discipline and elbow grease.  Oh, wait a minute, that’s too much work.  Try not to think about it and could you pass the popcorn, please?

Our culture spends a lot of time watching TV programs and movies. Me? I’m guilty. On average I spend fourteen hours a week watching fictional characters achieve their dreams, suffer their tragedies, and just generally doing things.

Then guilt sets in and I wonder what I could have accomplished if I’d used that same fourteen hours to learn a new skill that would enrich my own real-life life: learn to play an instrument, educate myself on investing, spend more time fostering relationships with friends and loved ones, organize a revolution.

But, like everyone else, I have an inherent desire to be diverted.

The Romans had their bread and circuses, we have Hollywood and Cineplex. Not much has changed.

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