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March 2018



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Watch What You Watch

[Tonight I gave my forth speech at Ithaca Area Toastmasters. It was a bit shorter than it should have been but got good reviews.]

Watch What You Watch: There Is More To Entertainment Than Just Fun.

Thank you Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and guests.

The Roman Satirist Decimus Junius Juvenalis, once said
"The people have only two interests - bread and circuses!"
And he had a point we need to keep our minds busy as well as our stomachs full.

Whenever there is a serious discussion about the content of our entertainment someone always feels the need to say "But it's just entertainment" as if there was some logical reason why entertainment should not be taken seriously.

I believe that entertainment should be taken seriously. There is a reason we are drawn to entertainment, there is value in entertainment, and there is danger in entertainment.

What is entertainment? When we are hungry we seek out food. When we are bored we seek out entertainment. Our bodies are satisfied with things that fill our stomachs. Our minds are entertained by things that hold our attention. Just as taste and smell help us find things to eat. Sight and sound help us find things that need our attention. We are programmed by nature to be interested in changes in our environment,

We are social animals. Drama and interpersonal conflict are important things for us to keep track. In nature who is having sex with who is important information. Who is angry, how are disputes resolved, these things are important we need to pay attention to How people around us behave.

Why are we entertained? We understand that food gives us nutrition, energy and material for our bodies. But what do we get from entertainment?

Fictional stories are attractive to us because they look and sound like real situations we might need to know about. But even unrealistic stories tell us something about what it means to be a human being.

Entertainment gives us information about our environment. Entertainment is to education what food is to nutrition.

And that makes it easy to see the danger in not taking entertainment seriously. Just as sugar and fat are scarce in nature but common in our modern diet, sex and violence are not as common in nature as they are in our entertainment. Before the printing press, radio, movies, TV, or the internet we did not have easy access to sex and violence.

"It is estimated that by the time an average child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and over 100,000 other acts of violence. By the time that child is 18 years-of-age; he or she will witness 200,000 acts of violence, including 40,000 murders." Huston, A.C. et al. Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

All stories have content, everything that entertains you does so for a reason. We all understand that empty calories are bad for our bodies and even the best diet is no good if you don't get up and exercise. But we need to take just as much care about what we put in our minds. And watching without thinking is just as bad as eating without moving.

So, watch what you watch! There is more to entertainment than just fun.


I'd never thought of equating empty body calories with empty brain calories. That's extremely clever! May I borrow it?

That's a very nice speech!

sheherazahde, I'm currently writing an essay on spirituality and religion that I'll post in the next week or so. I'd really like to have you review it, both for content and style.


Nice to hear from you :-)

That's extremely clever! May I borrow it?

Sure, Thanks!

I'd really like to have you review it, both for content and style.

I'd love to :-)
Hey, Great speech ! Yea !



thank you :-)