Entertainment Isn’t Safe

special snowflakeDespite whatever misconceptions you might have about how entertainment might work, it actually isn’t designed to appeal to just you. Whoa. That’s crazy right? The idea that sometimes things are made to entertain people, and that person might not be you? Amazing.

Ok, to cut the sardonic prose down, here’s the cold truth. Entertainment isn’t safe. Entertainment isn’t nice. Entertainment isn’t friendly, or welcoming, or accomodating. It’s entertainment. It’s not a person that needs to weigh its speech and find a way to please the lowest common denominator. It’s not your mom, dad or legal guardian who’s going to hold your hand and tell you everything’s going to be ok. It’s not an entity that can be tied down or controlled to fit your weak sensibilities. It’s a part of media. It’s not just one thing.

The persons who believe that their own hurt feelings are paramount to anything need a serious reality check. Of course, constructive criticism is useful for entertainers, actors and producers to better handle their craft. People are free to express their concerns and any valid complaints should be listened to. But that’s it. Acting entitled (and that’s a slippery slope of a word, I admit) to something and think you either deserve/require/demand it is completely absurd. On the basis of logic is one thing, but complaining based on subjective emotion is just laughable.

If something bothers you so much that you feel the need to whine about it, why not take that effort and make something for yourself? Create, write, draw, build, act; do something. Because then, you will have carved out your own piece of the pie. Blazed your own trail through the media. Whatever you have created is yours, and you are free to do with it as you please. But don’t act like you have any right to control what others have made. Critique, criticize, belittle, mock, parody, denounce, boycott and lambast all you want. But do not demand change nor expect it.

I repeat once again; entertainment is not safe. It is not a cushion to fall back on when you feel like life is unfair. Some things, even in entertainment you enjoy, might rub you the wrong way. You may disagree with it, or take issues with its presentation of certain elements. You can choose one of the following: ignore it, acknowledge it and accept the parts you’re ok with, lash out at it. All of these are your choice and I’m sure you know which one will get you a type of reaction.

Can entertainment make us feel safe? Of course. We retreat to the corners of our niches because we appreciate particular tropes, ideas and conventions. It’s why we revisit the same types of movies, TV shows, music, video games and other media. However, do not mistake comfort for security. Things can change, people’s ideas may alter and the entertainment will be affected directly as a result. We do have some sway in making these changes and we can suggest nuances to the creators. That said, our reach can and should only extend as far as that.

Being offended is not a legitimate concern to be addressed. Acting like entertainment has somehow ‘betrayed’ you is ludicrous. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. That one nitpicky thing you had a massive tantrum about might just be someone else’s favorite segment. Entertainment may have targeted demographics or some kind of core message, but the entity in isolation doesn’t pick favorites. A piece of media isn’t designed to make everyone happy all at once, at the same time and for the same reasons. Nothing can do that. So why expect it?

The bottom line is that entertainment, as a term, is meant to entertain. That means it can be offensive, shocking, morally questionable, strange, disgusting or insane. But it’s entertaining. What it isn’t is safe, secure, or free from error. If you want your entertainment to be better, then make some suggestions. If you want entertainment for yourself, then make it yourself. If you want entertainment for yourself, but all you want to do is complain and not put in the effort to either be reasonable with criticism or creating something with your own hands, then sit quietly and watch as the world passes you by. Because nothing will ever please you.

If you liked this rant, take a look at how I feel about Yukino in Oregairu 2 (if you watched it), or what I think of the rats in Lords of Shadow 2 (or how game design can be funny at times).

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