It is a truth universally acknowledged that we humans like to be entertained. And we are often preoccupied when we want to be entertained but are not; and being bored does not suit us well.
Especially Americans: we are entertained by television; by TV serials based on scripts; by theatrical performances; by athletic events; and all of those can be televised, and the majority of us
have TVs. If we can stray our eyes away from the TV, we can observe peoples’ interactions with others, and also learn something about life.
For his part, Donald Trump watches television a great deal, he is no stranger to the camera, and he spent a great deal of his life as an entertainer, and he interviewed people and then told them
they were fired. Then he practiced his skills at rallies, and he’s still doing it and saying all manner of things, namely, whatever he wants. During the January 6 assault on our Capitol, he was
glued to the tube.
Vladimir Putin uses television to tell his well-regulated people about his special military operation in Ukraine. And Ukraine’s Volodomyr Zelenskyy uses TV to inform his people, who are bombarded
on a daily basis by Putin’s attacks, of what’s happening.
On Friday evening, January 27, broadcast networks warned viewers that videos taken by body cams worn by police in Memphis, Tennessee, would show what happened to Tyre Nichols on January 7 when
they stopped him for a traffic stop. Memphis’ police chief and others warned viewers that if they chose to watch the videos, they were likely to be shocked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCce2vsnEnc
Associate solitary reporter Larry Theis, who is very well conversant in French, considered all this before he decided to watch the police videos of what happened to Tyre Nichols. So he pulled out
his copy of Aime Cesaire’s Cahier d’un Retour Au Pays Natal (1956) ("Journal of A [read; My] Return to [My] Native Country"), and he found, early in that lengthy poem
about colonialism (p. 42, Presence Africaine), the following discussion of performances:
"…gardez-vous de vous croiser les bras en l’attitude sterile du spectateur, car la vie n’est pas un spectacle, car une mer de douleurs n'est pas un proscenium, car un homme qui
crie n'est pas un ours qui danse…"
(“Beware of folding your arms in the sterile attitude of a spectator, because life is not a show, a sea of sorrows is not a proscenium [which frames a theatrical performance], a man who shouts
out is not a dancing bear”
And we still watch our TVs. A lot.