Years ago, I made a disturbing observation–– people don’t have as much fun as they used to.
Think about it: is there less fun in modern society, or more? I posit there’s less, much less. In fact, I’d say we’re in a fun drought.
Tune in to Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and you’ll see people having a grand time, even in the depths of the Great Depression. Sure, it’s Hollywood, but the nation put on a happy face and people went along for the ride. “Dust stew for supper again, Ma? Aw, that’s swell, anyhow. Ain’t hardly nothing as comforting as a bellyful of your homemade dirt. Let me sing a song and play some spoons…”
Movies today? They’re comic books brought to life with impending evil always striking, and CGI catastrophes of all kinds befalling humanity. Manhattan didn’t know how good it had it back when King Kong was it’s only worry.
The news today? If it bleeds it leads–– murder, rape, death, disease, and destruction are on an endless loop. Pessimism and fears fester. There’s an ISIS terrorist hiding under every bed.
Goodnight, America, sweet dreams. Don’t forget your sleeping pill.
The digital age gives us endless diversions and opportunities for obsessions. The internet is a minefield of rabbit holes and black holes that will suck your time and lifeblood with every click. But any opinion or belief can be affirmed, any conspiracy theory proven, and any rant or insulting comment unloaded.
You can even do it under the cloak of anonymity. Snark safely in the shadows.
Then there’s reality, and frankly, reality is no longer good enough–– now it must be augmented.
Hey, look over there, is that Zapdos and Articuno?!!! Got to catch those elusive bastards!
We engage in social media and shun social interactions. Do you recall the last stimulating conversation you had? Is socializing a thing of the past? Read about salons, Hemingway and his crew in Paris, the Algonquin Round Table, bridge clubs, the Rat Pack, gatherings at Rob and Laura Petrie’s house, Warhol’s Factory, on and on.
What’s our equivalent today? A spirited Facebook string? A Twitter meltdown? Instagram hearts?
We’ve become overly-politicized, rigid in our perspectives with reinforced narratives that become our unshakable worldviews. When a different point of view is expressed, we react like Frankenstein’s monster reacted to fire, and we stumble away.
Americans also design their prisons with our workaholic 24/7 mindset. We check business emails at bedtime, work on weekends and vacations, conduct more than just personal business on toilets, and shush our kids so we can make the final tweaks to the PowerPoint presentation.
Modern people are in ruts, and we must force ourselves out. Marketers can help with empathetic engagements that enrich and lift spirits. We should at least try.
We must live again, laugh again and who knows, maybe even dance again. Why should the Twentieth Century have all the fun?