So, as a creator (not that I’m great at it, but I try) I keep up with those things that influence my writing and storytelling. I read, watch films and a few non-network TV shows and I spend far too much time reading articles on the web.
There’s been a lot of ink and time spent picking apart/discussing/analyzing various popular shows or entertainment properties, especially since the ascension of geek and nerd culture as the top source for those items that a great many people obsess over – from comics to video games, to superheroes and shows about sentient robots (Westworld), a fantasy world with dragons (GoT) and humans doing despicable things to one another during a world ending event (TWD).
To be honest, there’s so much content being produced its really kind of overwhelming. But I guess that’s the result of years of advertisers and media moguls chasing after the next billion-dollar profit maker – because in the end, profit is all that matters.
But, maybe that’s not the whole issue.
We’ve reached a point in our civilization where we have a great deal of free time due to industrialization and automation and surplus, we are – a lot of the time – bored with life.
I happen to think that the vast majority of us are insatiable when it comes to content and entertainment. We demand it at an insane rate, and devour it so quickly that we feel unsatisfied and letdown or immediately hungry as soon as we finish a book or a show.
Ask yourself how many times you been on your computer, surfing Netflix or clicking through the media guide on your TV or browsing a book shelf or scanning the comic book wall and seeing nothing that interests you… Maybe its not that way for you – maybe you easily hop from one thing to the next and aren’t bored… but have you ever felt overwhelm by the choices presented to you?
Either way, boredom or the feeling that there’s just too much, leads to a sort whining childishness – a pouting demanding sense of privilege entitlement.
Entertainment must and should be provided to us whenever and however we want. One of my favorite comics, Dana Gould, had a great bit where he stops in the middle of his act and kind of deconstructs it – he turns a chair around and with his back to the audience rants and vents about what they (we the audience) EXPECT from a show.
We are constantly faulting films and shows and comics or *insert product here* for being either bad or unfulfilling. Because our expectations are not met. Advertisers and film studios and publishers tease and promote these products to an absurd degree — to the point where by the time they are released, we expect them to be the NEXT BIG THING – only to walk away from them let down or bummed out.
People will find fault with anything. Its not just the teasing and the ads and the promos that are the problem… If I had to put a finger on it, I’d say that its just simply our demand that we have more that’s the problem.
In this day of instant gratification, content streaming, on-demand programming and one-click purchasing options… we’ve become monsters that consume and devour at a frightening pace.
I just read an article [Comics Should Be Published Weekly]that “demands” the comics industry immediately switch its distribution model from once a month to weekly – simply because asking a reader to follow a story parceled out in increments every month isn’t reasonable. The author cites the example that comics should be created the way TV shows are created, and gives examples of how this has worked in the comics industry… And perhaps he/she has a point.
But what galls me about this is the assertion that entertainment should be shoveled into our hands at an accelerated rate… because WE WANT IT NOW.
Information and content is fed to us, thrown at us, pushed at us at such a speed that we don’t take to digest or appreciate it. We gobble it up, toss it aside and are immediately looking for the next thing.
We don’t appreciate waiting periods of any kind. Ignoring the benefits of pause, of taking time to relish what we have just seen or heard or tasted.
It’s already soured in our mouths and we need something else to wash it away.
More, More, More!
The long, prolonged derangement of the senses that Morrison spoke of , the thirteen channels of shit on the TV to chose from that Floyd sang about — they have become an avalanche – a tidal wave of consumerism that mires us in a swamp of content overload.
I don’t think comics need to be provided to us on a weekly basis.
Rather than demanding that outside forces need to change and alter to fit our will, it’s our expectations that should change.
We need to re-discover our sense of wonder and fun – instead of expecting it to be spoon-fed to us every second of every hour of every day.