Thursday, December 20, 2012

What is this blog about, I think

I'm using this blog just to sort out what it means to consume entertainment and I think so many of these entries are going to be similar as I try to find the words to describe the question or how to respond to the question.

I imagine that I might think about what we do when we watch a movie, or another episode of Arrested Development.  Why is this so pleasing?  Of course it makes us laugh, it takes us away from our lives, it may even help us think about our own condition.  But is our focus on entertainment always the best for us?  

These questions seem bombastic or overly-intellectual even as I write them.  And I apologize for that.  But I do worry about this--especially as I consume more entertainment than most people I know.  I just want to consider the power of these stories, or or the music we listen to every day.  

So right now I want to sit for just five minutes and stare up and out into the courtyard.  

Why does staring out into space for five minutes pass so slowly while an hour disappears while watching an episode of Arrested Development?  Does it matter if time moves quickly or slowly?  I remember there was a character named Dunbar in Catch 22 and his goal was to find unpleasant or difficult tasks for himself, for in this way time moved slower for him.  As he believed that his death in the war was imminent, be believed that to create more time for himself, he would live to make time seem slower.  It has been a long time since I have read the novel, but I wonder if that was meditation is--or a benefit of meditation or a fact of meditation--that one can see time pass, if we even know what that it.

By the way, I use the term meditation in a very loose way.  When I practice staring out into the world, or better said, when I watch the world, I am not using a mantra, or really watching my breath, or anything.  I am trying to be open to the world in a kind of Cage-ian way--what is the sound of the world and what does the world look like when you just stare at it?

When I do watch the world, even for five minutes, I do say that it also opens me up to fear, the feeling of uncomfortableness in my body, all of it--it is a look at what I am and what I am surrounded by.  It seems far less entertaining than a film or watching Cheers on Netflix, but it is perhaps an act that allows us to discover more truths about the world.  It the goal of art is to allow us to see the world in a new way, or to understand the human experience in a better way, or to find that others share the difficulties we find in the world, then one asks, at times, why not just push the interpretive product or media out of the way and just look at the thing itself?  Why is a film that captures the human experience so lauded--perhaps, let's say, Crash, or Flight, or whatever film, but human experience unmediated is not something we do?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I watched an episode of The Larry Sanders show last night.  This was, which I believe is called The Stalker, was good enough--diverting and funny.  I've sat silently for about ten minutes total--five minutes at a time.  I wonder if sitting and looking at the world without listening to music or talk radio can even compare to watching produced entertainment.  I sat on the floor of the garage and listened to the laundry turn and change cycles, also to Kate upstairs, the sound of her footsteps while she made coffee.  Can the sound of the world be as diverting as an episode of the Larry Sanders show?

I do not believe anyone will read this blog--but if someone should encounter it, I apologize for the dull prose and the questions that must seem preposterous or the author, who must seem full of himself to think that he could consider these questions.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The essential question that I hope to answer through this blog is to think about the value of the arts and compare consumption of pop culture to just sitting and looking or meditating on the world itself.  This sounds a little like I'm taking things a little too seriously--but I do wonder if one would more from just staring at the world itself rather than watching the best episode of The Wire. 

My goal would be to take the same amount of time watching the best of television or cinema or even music and then take the same amount of time looking at the world.  What would I learn if watched an episode of Breaking Bad and then spend 44 minutes watching a shadow move almost imperceptibly across my living room table?