Once there was a king who liked to be entertained every night. He would call in a comedian with his troupe and they would perform for an hour. If he liked them, he would keep them and have them perform regularly.

He also liked serious drama, and every night he would have a play performed for him. If he liked the play, he would ask for a similar story with some of the same characters to be performed regularly.

Sometimes he liked to be entertained by mysteries. Other actors would perform plays of mystery stories, which the king often found quite fascinating.

Finally, toward the end of the evening, the king would have the town crier come and give him the news of the day. He might call for another comedian to come and end his night with some laughs, or he might just retire for the night.

This sounds rather extreme, but it is the sort of thing that TV produced. Society went from people who could read and play music themselves to be entertained to the luxury of kings (sort of).

Radio basically allowed us to have professionals read to us and talk to us, and even act out (by voice) stories, but it still required the imagination to be active and, like reading a book, to put together the scene in our minds. It had some elements of the king’s situation, but not all. TV allowed the viewer to simply sit and be entertained, which is far more like the situation of the king.

Now, I can select an episode of “MacGyver” (or any of a host of other TV shows) on the Internet, and sit and watch it “on demand” (with commercials, of course). If I have the money I can even buy DVDs and not have to worry about commercials. This provides a range that would not have been possible for the king.

The original sense of “entertain” is basically to hold (a group of people) together, or at least to keep a guest “held together,” i.e. maintaining the guest’s interest. Now, like the king, we seek out forms of entertainment to see if they will hold our interest, and then keep what we like and discard the others.

Now, the question is, do you feel that the privilege of a king is yours by right? Do you require what the king did, or even more? And what will be enough?

The answer is quite simple: in reality, we can never be entertained enough if we seek it out as the most important thing, but if we seek it occasionally, and in moderation, then we can get enough entertainment.

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