Sunday, May 10, 2015

In which I become a cranky old guy

I was conversing with someone on Twitter, and the back-and-forth conversation got me involved enough that I thought about making a blog post, mostly because I didn't have enough time to continue the discussion, but also due to the fact that it's hard to get too complex with a discussion on Twitter. (I love Twitter. It suits my style, about 99.9 percent of the time. But it does have its limitations.)

Specifically, we were talking about the choices in entertainment these days. While it's true that there are more thoughtful and nuanced choices than ever before, it seems that there are also more (so, so many more) movies, shows and other forms of media that cater not only to the lowest common denominator, but apparently to the lowest level possible.

That got me into one of my "Get offa my lawn" moods, where I begin to grouse about all the things that just plain rub me the wrong way about much of modern entertainment, including some things that I used to enjoy. It's hard to say exactly what it is that bugs me, but a few things have begun to make themselves apparent:

  1. There are an awful lot of things based around unlikeable characters. Not just a few annoying sidekicks or antagonists, but in a lot of cases the main character, if not the entire ensemble. I can understand that these are interesting characters, but only on a purely conceptual level; some of these characters are so repulsive to me that, if I had to spend more than five minutes in the company of such a person in the real world, one of us might not survive.
  2. I have a lot less tolerance for drama than I used to. One of my current favorite movies is "84 Charing Cross Road", with an almost complete lack of conflict, and very little in the way of dramatic tension. I've seen an awful lot of drama among the various persons I come into contact with on a regular basis, and I may have passed the saturation point for fictional drama.
  3. I've come to feel that "The journey is the reward". I don't look for a story that will bring me a surprising or thrilling ending (or even developments along the way), I look for stories that I can enjoy over and over, taking my enjoyment from the overall structure, both in the tale and in the characters involved in it. 
  4. My time is more precious to me. If I find myself feeling assaulted by someone else's idea of an entertaining evening, I'm likely to just get up and leave. If I can't easily do that, I may retreat into a form of solitude afforded by earbuds, iPod, and/or iPad. There's not much I can control, but what I can, I will.
Those are things that come easily to mind; there's probably a lot more to this shift, but I'm pretty secure in my awareness of these things I put down so far.

And yeah; this is all about me. You can do what you want, and like what you like; you do you. What I'm saying here is: I don't have to put up with it. And, so far as possible, I won't.