The Ethical Dimensions of Art and Entertainment
I like this chapter on a whole, but I mostly agree with the line that states, "Today, mass media have become the primary cultural storytellers of the era." I also agree that popular culture continues to elicit a decline in critical thinking skills. It is more than true that popular art is not nearly as thought provoking as it once was. There is a lack of motivation, not only by the artist to embed art with a critical edge, but as individuals to seek something more from art. Social media makes us lazy. Even in the way marketing and advertising firms rely on social media to do the work for them. There just seems to be a lack of quality to how we live our lives. We now find quality in numbers now. In social media, a quality post is one that gets a lot of likes. But who are we catering to with these likes? Do they make us individual or simply one in the same?
Ultimately, we cater to the masses. Through which we subconsciously attempt to universalize our thoughts in order to be applicable to the thousands. It's an accomplishment for a thousand people to relate to your post by liking it! I find it to be a bit ironic though. We think we are being unique by creating a funny text post or posting a selfie. Aren't we really just posting about something everyone already found funny or taking pictures in the same position and lighting as another picture that got a thousand likes? Are we artists in the respect that we are reinventing ideas in a relatable way?
To be an artist used to mean something. Poets were treated like celebrities and almost carried a heavier weight to their thoughts and ideals than political figures. Now, some crazy number, like less than 7% of people actually read poetry for leisure. Artists don't exist anymore because original thought doesn't matter. If individuals cannot see the message within something almost instantaneously, they won't take the time to look for it. Our culture is lazy.
I think that is primarily why the lines between entertainment and news have been blurred so much. News is competing with entertainment. The entertainment industry that is making news fun! Therefore, news outlets must in someway conform to the entertainment value of Steven Colbert or Jon Stewart in order to garner viewers. Through this we don't think about seeking truth anymore, rather we seek viewers. How many views can we get on this story? Does the story matter? Probably not, but we are going to make it matter even though war is going on and nobody really knows the ins and the outs of it because that political stuff is boring.
I think communitarianism is most applicable to the situation simply because it allows journalists to understand their institutional role and to evaluate their performance against shared societal values. For instance, the competition for reporting valuable news while seeking the truth is undermined by a reporters "right" to create news when there isn't any. Is reporting for entertainment value doing anything to help the community? Not really. From a utilitarian stance, if we recognize the ethical downfall of our actions based on future consequences, will we then recognize that there is a lack of community in mind? I don't know.