Saturday, June 19, 2010

"That's Entertainment"

One of the questions I want to consider during the experiment is to consider what, exactly, is entertainment. Why are fictional stories, like The Wire, or the Illiad, for that matter, important to society? What is their purpose? Is it a key element of being human? I know that these questions are tedious to most--but it seems to me if I am going to spend a large amount of my waking hours caring about and enjoying narratives, I should take a moment to consider the nature of the form.

Also, is there a difference between consumption of entertainment before the 20th century, which likely was limited, and the constant enjoyment of entertainment and narratives today--where people are constantly watching shows--on their iphones on mass transit, in the supermarket, and the minute they come in the door of their homes.

A small interview that tries to define entertainment:

Friday, June 18, 2010

"The Target"

Watched first episode of The Wire last night. This episode feels very much like the beginning of a complex, novelistic narrative. The pacing, the look, the entire grammar of the show is very much like the Sopranos. I'm both exciting about embarking on watching all the episodes of this show, but still a little put off by the fact that it is, in many ways, a cops and robbers drama (detectives and drug dealers). While I like The Wire's focus on the administrative organization of both groups, you wonder why these two groups can be used to represent the whole of urban experience. Why not other groups like small-scale store owners and customers, or accountants, or residents of a group home for the mildly mentally disabled? For some reason, television (and perhaps much of 19th and 20th century fiction) has focused on cops and criminals.

Anyway, I've rented the second episode of The Wire and will watch it soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Experiment

This summer I want to compare the experience of watching HBO's The Wire with merely sitting and contemplating the world itself. I apologize in advance for the ridiculousness of this experiment. This project is merely an effort to think about the value of enjoying great culture, be it a television show, a string quartet, or novel, as opposed to sitting in a mindful state. In this experiment I will alternate watching an hour-long episode of The Wire with an hour of just sitting at my dining room table listening to nothing but the ambient noise of the environment.