Written For Class – In Defense of Entertainment


Coming In Hot!  I wrote this Persuasive Speech and performed it the day before posting it here. Enjoy.

We live in challenging times. Poverty, crime, racism, disinformation, and many other injustices threaten to destroy the prosperity of our nation alone. In times as tumultuous as these, how could anyone even consider sitting on the couch and watching reruns of Friends? In this speech, I will argue that because of the world’s problems, Entertainment should be valued more in our society for 3 Reasons: its value to past civilizations, its ability to teach life lessons, and its capability to provide escapism.

First, Entertainment should be valued more in our society because of its importance to past civilizations. In West Africa, entertainers were responsible for maintaining and spreading the culture and history of the Mande empire, according to Lize Okoh at Culture Trip. These storytellers, called Griots would travel around the region and teach many valuable lessons through their songs and stories. Without the Griots, generations of history would be lost.

The Roman Empire also valued Entertainment. According to PBS.org, Emperor Augustus used free food and entertainment to keep the plebeians, or working class, sated. These bread and circuses kept the Roman Empire together, especially in times of political unrest. Entertainment should be valued more in our society because of the West African and Roman empires’ reliance on entertainers to keep society together.

Second, Entertainment can teach invaluable lessons about life to its viewers. Just like the tales of the Griots, modern stories can hold vital truths within their entertaining narrative. One such story is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Avatar: The Last Airbender follows Aang, a recently thawed out young man from 100 years prior, as he and his friends travel the world to learn the skills necessary to defeat the Fire Lord. Along Aang’s journey, he and his friends deal with serious topics like vocation, love, self-control, and grief.

Avatar: The Last Airbender exposed young viewers to important parts of the human experience through its humor, spectacle, and animation. The guise of fun entertainment makes hard truths easier to digest. Imparting viewers with crucial life lessons is a trait that should be almost invaluable to our society.

Finally, Entertainment should be valued more by modern society because of its escapism. Escapism, defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine”. Escapism is just as important as keeping a civilization’s traditions alive or teaching viewers life lessons. As I stated at the beginning, the world is in a constant state of social, political, medical, and moral turmoil. Facing the world’s problems every day can be taxing on the mind and soul. Allowing healthy portions of Entertainment into your life may save it.

I know this because it has saved mine on multiple occasions. Growing up, I never fit in with my peer. Whether it be for my intelligence, my weight, or my sexuality, I was constantly berated and bullied. Around the same time, my grandmother passed away. This combination of loneliness and grief made it difficult for me to want to live. But the Entertainment I consumed, in conjunction with biblical and psychological support, helped me through those difficult times. Whenever I read a book, listened to a podcast, or obsessed over a television show, I could escape the pains of my depression for a while. Entertainment can provide escapism to those who may need it most in our society. It should be more valued because of this trait.

In conclusion, Entertainment should be valued more in our society. Past civilizations used Entertainment to keep their empire alive and well. It can provide wisdom to the masses in an intriguing way. And Entertainment can be a source of refuge when the world is at its worst. Entertainment is a powerful tool that can be used to spread any kind of message. It is up to the entertainers and the viewers to create and support entertainment that promotes the common good of society. Acknowledging the true value of entertainment in our society is the first step in being ethical citizens of the world.

I hope that I have imparted you with wisdom that you might share with someone else today. Thank you for listening.

Work Cited

“Escapism.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/escapism.

Okoh, Lize. “What Is a Griot and Why Are They Important?” Culture Trip, 24 May 2018,

theculturetrip.com/africa/mali/articles/what-is-a-griot-and-why-are-they-important/.

“Plebians.” PBS.org, Public Broadcasting Service, 2006,

http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/plebians.html.

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