A few days ago, a friend of a friend — maybe even a friend — mentioned that people are easily amused these days. I can see their point.
Pop-rock recording artist Avril Lavigne may never sell 126 million albums. Hell, she may never sell 126 of anything. And yet somehow, her YouTube video for her song, “Girlfriend,” has more than 126 million hits. And if you’re wondering whether this is the most views of any video ever, this list will challenge your notion of what people are interested in.
I am quick to mock pop culture, and as a largely democratic form of entertainment, it is easy. (Where else can popularity determine careers in Hollywood, lifestyles of artists — from music to painters — and YouTube sensations?) Many countries can bask in the leisure of their non-hectic lives, watching television while surfing the Internet and eating a Hot Pocket (or foreign equivalent) while having a hand-held device perform sexual acts on their genitals. It’s as if Bill Gates, Jesus, Dane Cook and a unicorn had an epic tickle fight in a rainbow storm.
So we have a lot of time on our hands to watch poor-resolution videos and enjoy other leisure forms of questionable merit. So what? What’s the big deal? If you stop and think about it, this is human progress. In the grand scheme of things, it is very harmless compared to our past entertainment: burnings, lynchings and straight-up murder.
Before you vomit from the imagery, this is a good thing. For the most part, people in first- and second-world societies no longer have to worry about life and death on a daily basis. People can go to concerts, play volleyball and ogle women in strip clubs instead of fighting plague-like diseases, horrible elements and dinosaurs. And that energy once used to out-sprint Native Americans is now used to pound out poorly-spelled diatribes on the Internet because someone dissed their favorite band. Progress!
Pearl Jam saw the future of human amusement in their stellar music video (and great song), “Do the Evolution”:
While Average Joes may not be strapping on the virtual reality/3D goggles yet, plugging in for their amusement is definitely a present form of fun — way safer and less exerting than stoning people. And as long as people are amused by a music video instead of being under or raining down harm, it’s all good.