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America, if not the world, is in an entertainment boom.

It might turn out to be a phase, but for the time being it seems everything can be measured for its entertainment value -- and of course that can be converted into dollars and cents by the wealthy Wall Street investors. There is even a television program devoted to entertaining the audience as potential entrepreneurs present their products and marketing plans to "judges" with money to invest. It would be most interesting to know how many people, other than those planning to promote their ideas to the "money judges," actually watch the program. Maybe the next step in the evolution of entertainment through chiding the economy, will be a contest between Tyson's bacon and Jimmy Dean's sausage. They could use a rating of their commercial ads by an in-house audience of "experts" and call it a "new Television Phenomenon."

This started out with a tongue-in-check attitude, but the serious vein of "entertainment" in every aspect of American lives should concern us.

As more and more of America's workforce moves into our larger cities seeking employment, and find themselves living in high-rise apartment complexes, I believe our nation's outlook on life changes. As jobs become more and more technically and less physically oriented, physical activities during non-working hours must be focused on weekends or directed to health clubs that are now a means of getting fit or staying in shape. When I was growing up, working in the garden after work used to provide the same outlet.

The northwest Arkansas area continues to offer plenty of open country for bicycle riders, but the large cities have acres and acres devoted to outdoor recreation -- which is great only if you are fortunate and live near the facilities.

To stay within the context of entertainment, think of the bicycle commercial showing the unit being ridden in the wide-open spaces (think city park such as New York's Central Park). No emphasis is put on the physical characteristics of the bicycle like ease of shifting gears, adjusting seats or changing tires. What they want us to see is the pure enjoyment we can get from riding the bicycle and feeling the breeze as we cycle in our designer cycling outfit -- a necessity to look the part. Next stop, training for the French Tour de France, or at least a weekend bicycle trip of a few miles to forget work for a while.

This might sound like it is all in jest, but the truth as I see it, is we have become such a thrill-seeking, fun-loving society in search of 24-hour entertainment that we focus on it without conscious thought of "why." If you notice how many cable television commercials actually overlap each other, you can follow the theme of entertainment from one item directly into another and then back to the original product. It appears we blend entertainment into everything.

In the process of all the emphasis on entertainment, we now must produce super heroes to sell sports wear and change fashion so the economy continues to bloom under our illustrious government leaders who realize all this "stuff" must be paid for by someone. And, or course, the banks prefer it be paid for on "their" credit cards.

If it sounds as if I'm tired of cable television's offerings of programming and the insane number of commercials they run, you are correct. I am tired of the commercials, but I am grieved that our freedom of speech philosophy allows programs such as they offer to be available for anyone to view. Just "cutting the cable" is an answer. Not even having television might be the best solution at our house. Have you seen a program called "Claws" on Sunday night? It might change your mind about TV.

In addition, the computer floods us with products we might have viewed during a previous search. Ads flood us for weeks following just because we try to view the latest satellite screen of the weather pattern. Entertainment in one search leads to full-blown commercialization of the computer screen for weeks.

Luckily, we don't have smart phones at our house. If the smart phone is going to continue to offer items such as Facebook, someone must foot the bill. The term is "monetize the product." The folks in our house are antiquated and getting worse. Our real salvation is we acknowledge our limited ability to keep up with the next evolution in products that are going to take entertainment into a new era of commercialization.

Donald Trump's Tweets are a source of fun for the television media and used as entertainment while chastising him for his frequently crude (and rude) comments. But they (the media) continue to entertain us during newscasts which also try to convince us we need to have a bigger boat and a lakefront summer home. As you probably notice, one of the top truck manufacturers touts the ability of anyone to back their truck-boat combination into the lake with a simple twist of the knob. Great for people who can afford the combination on their income and don't live in the high rise apartment complex in downtown Chicago. Downtowners must resort to a slip at the marina.

I love America and the freedom it has provided for me and my family along with the economic benefit that job opportunities gave us.

What I see happening in too many areas of our economy today, is the income doesn't keep up with the entertainment cost of trips to resorts, theme parks and cruises. There are plenty of commercials selling the entertainment, but too few demonstrate how one continues their education to keep up with the changes in our lifestyle. I would love to see a balance that took some of the pressure off the younger generation who are being told, or at least inferred, they have to have it all -- right now.

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Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.

Editorial on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: God bless America

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