Cultural Nourishment

Such stories are not just entertainment. In order to live, we need air, water, food, clothes, shelter, friends – and we need stories, because they teach us what is important in life. They give us models of how to live in a complicated, confusing world. Until the last hundred years or so, the most important stories for most people were religious. Today, however, the issue is not whether a story is an ennobling one, a good myth to live by, but the bottom line: will it sell? (from an article in Tricycle Magazine)

It’s old news that money is the bottom line in most industries now. But I’m not sure that many people realize – and I believe this to be the case – that stories are still teaching us how to live.  Only when you consider that reality tv is shaping your worldview does it become truly important to watch – not just what you eat – but what you watch.

“Ennobling,” much like kale, can be intimidating.  I also value stories that are lighthearted or humorous, and snacks that are sweet and crisp.  And while I’m not sure I’d call Silence of the Lambs ennobling, I do consider it thought-provoking, paradigm-shifting, and even, in some strange way, hopeful – like a bitter brew.  So stories that are, say, “nourishing” are good enough for me.

On the other hand, a few days ago a friend turned on Operation Repo.  This show is about the bizarre things that people do when their cars get repossessed.  My friend thought it was funny.  Maybe I’m a sop, but I thought it was mind-numbing and somewhat soul-crushing.  I felt like I’d eaten a Big Mac.  Which is okay, once in a while, if you enjoy it.  Just watch your cholesterol, if you know what I mean.

One Reply to “Cultural Nourishment”

  1. I like your comparison of the tv show with the Big Mac. I've certainly experienced such things myself (though my simile would be Kraft Mac 'n' cheese.)

    Much of what I think when I view the world has been shaped by the endless sci-fi shorts I've read through the years; the best of which are often a balance of the noble and the humorous.

    Mmmm. Kale.

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