Posts Tagged ‘escapism’

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by @anarchyroll
10/16/2014

Have you noticed how there are now four major 24 hour sports networks? ESPN, FOX Sports 1, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network.

There are more than four total. Each of the above listed networks have at least one secondary sports network, in the case of ESPN there’s at least three or four more as poked fun at in the movie Dodgeball.

America sure likes its sports. I know I do. I was raised to be a sports fan, and played competitive sports for ten years of my life. I watch/listen to PTI on ESPN every morning while I am making/eating my breakfast. Watching Chicago professional team sports has been the vast majority of bonding time with  my father for most of my life.

Professional sports these days, are used as a tremendous escape and distraction from the issues of our individual lives and the world at large. I watch pro wrestling for the same reason most people watch football. The main difference, less concussions and drugs, hahaha just kidding the brains of the athletes in both sports have been turned to jelly and dust for our amusement and money.

The latter, the money, is why there are now four major 24 hour sports “news” networks. Obviously nothing that happens in sports is actually news. We might lie to ourselves and each other that it is, but it’s not. The only news that comes out of sports is when taxpayer money is used to build stadiums instead of schools, bridges, or fund education programs. Or when an athlete gets arrested or dies. Those stories often only get reported if violence/blood are involved. If it bleeds it leads after all. Sports are often the lead topic in local newscasts these days. They’re upbeat and entertaining. Sports are meant to entertain. Just like pro wrestling, “real” sports have no dignity or integrity to them, it is all about making money through entertainment.

24 hour sports networks play up smack talk, rivalries, and personal feuds between athletes the same way that pro wrestling promoters, announcers, and managers do. ESPN and FSN are farmed out hype machines, WWE just does all their hyping in-house. The major professional sports leagues provide the content, the networks provide the hype. Highlighting the highlights, spotlighting the star players, dissecting referee decisions, and most importantly promoting upcoming contests.

The biggest job of these networks; is to make children’s games played by men seem more important than politics, environment issues, or economic policy.

The major sports leagues in recent years have all starting broadcasting their own 24 hour networks for their individual league and minor league(s). The NFL Network said it best when they launched; “where football season never ends.” That is the exact purpose AND the exact problem with 24 hour sports networks. The distraction and escapism never ends.

Hard working people deserve a break and an escape via entertainment. They earn it by giving their bodies and/or minds for the bulk of their adult lives, often in the service of other people’s dreams. From movies to concerts to soap operas to hiking to video games to traveling to television; there are many ways to escape reality for a little while to rest and recover one’s body, mind, and spirit.

The problem with professional sports and professional sports networks in America; is the astonishing rate at which time, attention, and money are being siphoned from communities, cultures, and societies in the name of never-ending, passive, spectator based escapism. Playing sports after work is one thing. It is physical exercise and creates real bonds between real people. Watching sports all weekend, every weekend while eating unhealthy foods and consuming large quantities of alcohol while sitting down…Noticed how the leagues and networks are sponsored by fast food companies, soda makers, and liquor distillers? How much advertising for those products are consumers exposed to each game/highlight show?

What would American society and culture look like if the time, attention, resources, and money that are spent on professional sports spectating went to economic inequality, environment concerns, infrastructure development, and/or civics? Everyone who works for a living deserves a break. Part of being an adult is that at some point, playtime is over and it’s time to do the unpleasant work of bettering not just our life but the world we live in. I am as guilty as anyone of trying to stretch my childhood into adulthood. Judging by the ratings and profits of the professional sports leagues, I can see that I’m not the only one.

 

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
4/29/2014

Recently I was in a public place where the emergency broadcast system went off on a couple of flat screen televisions that were mounted to the walls. What made this odd was that no less than three people turned their attention to the various screens, with their fingers crossed, and with a wishful tone in their voice said, “zombie apocalypse?!”

The only thing sadder than that is how many more people in that place were probably thinking it but didn’t say. What is more pathetic than that is the large number of people who secretly wish for, or more shamefully are preparing for, a zombie apocalypse. If only these people tried to get in shape like the vampires and werewolves from Twilight, then the time they would have to dedicate to a real life spouse as opposed to an imaginary or virtual one would take up the mental space to prepare for such nonsense.

A real life zombie apocalypse is coming, it’s called climate change.

Hurricane Katrina submerged 80% of New Orleans in water and caused over $100 billion in damage. Superstorm Sandy caused $80 billion and turned Manhattan into Venice. Did you know Venice now floods 1/3 of every year? The current drought in California is affecting 100% of the state. How about that deadly tsunami in Asia that killed 150,000 people? There’s no need to wait for an apocalypse people, the third world has been living in one for decades and the first world is headed in the same direction but just doesn’t want to think about it.

The Pentagon doesn’t give a shit about zombies, wizards, or leprechauns but regards climate change as a direct threat to national security.

We all need an escape from reality from time to time. I have certainly been guilty of being addicted to escapism, not wanting to face the real in favor of daydreams, binge TV watching, and video games. Unfortunately, a growing percentage of very smart adults are becoming so lost in the paradigm of personal entertainment entitlement, they are spending real-time, money, and resources on a concept that would get a child grounded at home, picked on in school, and forced to see a psychiatrist, take meds, or both.

Cosplayers take off the costume and go back to the real world. Zombie Apocalypse believers think that they actually know something others don’t. But lying to oneself in order to add value, purpose, and a sense of importance is not new. I empathize with those who are so bored with their own existence they have to hope and prepare for a fantasy event seen in too many mainstream movies over the past decade to become reality. Life has no instruction manual. Sometimes we lose sight of who we are and what we really want to do with our lives. Sometimes events outside of our circle of influence force us to change course to a life that doesn’t allow us to see or think beyond the survival plane for an extended period of time. Sometimes people don’t develop the internal muscles of maturity, responsibility, and desire to achieve. I empathize with people like this, I really do. I once found myself very lost, very bored with life, very much preferring the world of my imagination to that of the real.

But all these people addicted to fantasy are enablers of a real, physical world that is turning into something that will make the human race endangered or extinct. It is happening now, in real-time, before our very eyes.

There is nothing wrong with turning one’s brain off and doing something that is mindlessly fun after a long hard day or week of work. TV, movies, video games, comics, scrap-booking, web surfing, reading, concerts, drinking, whatever. Adults who pay their way through this world on top of keeping their mental, emotional, and physical shit together earn the right to have some “me time” to do something that makes them feel like a happy child again.

The problem, which seems to be evolving into an epidemic is people refusing to take up any cause other than their own entertainment. A widespread victim mentality along with disposable income and leisure time have turned multiple generations of human beings essentially into zombies. Unwilling, under the guise of being unable to think when they aren’t having their inner child killed while “on the clock”. But a professional or personal life that leaves one feeling dead inside is no reason to hope for the manifestation of George A. Romero’s wet dream. What we need is for people to move in packs like aggressive zombies with the rage virus to create policies and enact change on a global level to:

  • cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • mandate clean energy
  • reduce the size and need for landfills
  • build levies
  • punish polluters
  • take responsibility for keeping our water clean, our air breathable, and our food as organic as possible.

A zombie apocalypse implies that the Earth will still be inhabitable for the select few humans who are as over-prepared to be “Left 4 Dead” and “The Last of Us” as they are undersexed. But the real apocalypse for the human race seems more and more that it will not come from a rising of the dead but a rising of the sea levels. Maybe if AMC could make a slow burn narrative drama about that subject we can make some headway. I can promise learning about the causes of and solutions to global warming will in no way be any more boring than the second season of The Walking Dead.