Should Entertainment Address Politics and or Social Issues Essay

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Argumentative Essay:  Should Entertainment Address Politics and or Social Issues

Entertainment refers to activities which provide diversion or give people enjoyment, amusement, laughter or fun. Entertainment can be provided by a third party or an individual can choose to create their own, as is the case with participating in a game or a hobby. Where entertainment is provided by a third party, the individual being entertained is a passive consumer. The diverse nature of entertainment and people's varied differences has led to the development of a big industry to cater to these needs. The entertainment industry currently consists of motion pictures, music, television, gambling, fine arts, sports, gaming, toys, print media and broad casting (Thoman).

Role of Entertainment in Addressing Politics and Social Issues (Arguments For)

Several reasons exist on why entertainment should address both political and social issues. Entertainment currently enjoys a huge place in the society and the influence it can have in swaying decisions and ways of thinking explains why many people are pushing for more entertainers to push certain causes. What's more, people are more likely to influence when they are emotionally involved, and have the recipe for one of the most effective means of swaying societal discourse. Entertainment yields positive feelings and its consumption presents several behavioral and cognitive dimensions. While the appeal of various entertainment media is not their educational quality, advances in technology have made it possible to integrate political and social issues with entertainment (Thoman).

Happer and Philo hold the view that entertainment and the media play a very key role in the communication of ideas to the public and so shape how people view the world. Where an audience does not have direct or first-hand knowledge about an issue, the information relayed by the media is perceived as truth. The media does not, however, aim to tell its audience what to think. Often, the goal is to just relay information and let the audience make up their own mind based on the facts and figures they have been presented with. People do not consume entertainment uncritically. They are always smart enough to know when someone is trying to influence them, at least most of the time.

Klein notes that the place of entertainment isn't just to amuse viewers.

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It is also a medium that can be used to address contemporary issues and give people a chance to converse about social and political issues that concern them. The past few years have seen an increase in the number of entertainment shows and programs that offer unconventional perspective and views on political and social issues that challenge the traditional ways of doing and viewing things.

Reality television attracts big audiences because of their sensational nature. Reality television can be used for more than mindless entertainment, though. For instance, it can give women, youth and minorities a chance to air their views in an authentic unfiltered manner and so start a conversation on issues that are being swept under the carpet. Several TV productions are now addressing trending or controversial issues in their episodes. It is not yet clear what impact such moves have had. Also, the tongue-in-cheek methods in which such issues are addressed in shows make it hard for the untrained eye to spot what is being discussed. For several people growing up, entertainment serves as the only "continuing education" they have access to as far as contemporary issues is concerned. It is true that most entertainment media are not profound. Nonetheless, they reach millions of people and can be very useful socially in conveying a message (Thuman).

Arguments Against

There are people who believe that using entertainment to address political and social issues is the same as forcing your views on people who hold opposite views. For any political position, it is likely that half the audience holds a different view. Also, when one pushes a political agenda, they are assuming they have the moral authority to shape what and how people think. It can be argued that no one has monopoly of ideas and it is wrong to assume that your position is….....

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