Chairman Wow!

September 5, 2009

Why Entertainment Journalism?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 6:22 pm

The word “journalist” conjures up images of literary greatness– unshaven, un-showered men in cargo pants, furiously scribbling notes as bombs detonate around them…fat paychecks from the New York Times…an enviable intellect…respect.

But, what image does “entertainment journalist” bring to mind? Think about it for a second. Mario Lopez? Anti-social, obscure-Internet-slang-wielding bloggers? Those blond bimbos on Extra? The coiffed dim-wits on TMZ (no offense, Harvey Levin)?

In the collective American mind, entertainment journalism has become synonymous with celebrity journalism, and even, ahem, sensationalism. And, really, with all of the Anna Nicole hype and the Britney Spears hype and the Michael Jackson hype and the hype hype hype hype, is it any real surprise?

But, I think it’s time to reconsider.

Story: Once upon a time, entertainment lived in its own room. It was rare and special occasion for the average Joe to open entertainment’s door and attend a play or to get his hands on a new book. People were busy– working, caring for families, farming, sleeping, cooking, eating, doing it all again. Entertainment was a luxury.

And people are still busy, but entertainment no longer lives alone, behind a tightly closed door. It lives with us– not just those of us wealthy enough or successful enough or just plain lucky enough to have time and money to spare– but with all of us. We brought TV into our homes. We installed radios in our cars. We spent our paychecks on records, eight-tracks, tapes, CDs, MP3s; video cassettes, DVDs. Women went to work so that the average family can now afford to regularly attend movies, to subscribe to magazines, to dine out approximately four times per week. With the Internet, we connected ourselves to the world via wires, and now waves.

Sometimes I write and I read fluffy stuff. Sometimes I watch TMZ. Sometimes I flip through tabloids while I’m standing in line at Wal Mart. But, honestly, I don’t care what flavor of Frappucino Mary-Kate Olsen orders from Starbucks. I don’t care about Sienna Miller’s jeans. I don’t care about how fat Kirstie Alley’s ass is this week.

I do care about my life.

I care about books and travel and music. I care about the Internet and how I can use the Internet to form connections with other human beings. I care about how and where I choose to spend my money– which restaurant, which nightclub, which comedy club, which art gallery. I care about my life, so I care about entertainment.

In this shaky political age, entertainment is our strongest democracy– and as a thinking, breathing, living human being, this is how I choose to participate.


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