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The Hero Dies in the End: Who is to Blame for Destroying the Element of Sur

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Today’s media driven world has rapidly altered how we view and consume entertainment.  We look to TV commercials, movie trailers, networking and the internet to cater to our presumed desire to know everything, instantaneously.  By doing so Hollywood and the media reveal ever growing amounts of material far in advance to a piece of entertainment being officially released.  Constantly being bombarded by this overload of information ruins a key element of entertainment, surprise!
The giant shift in our culture’s access to entertainment may be the cause of shorter attention spans, and the thirst to know it all before it happens.  The convenience factor when it comes to viewing movies and TV shows has skyrocketed since the popularity of the world wide web first rose in the late 90s.  We don’t even have to turn a TV on to watch TV; companies like Hulu and Netflix allow you to watch shows online with ease.  In addition to watching whenever you want, online viewers have access to sneak peaks, teasers and clips for next week’s installment before the current episode has even aired! But who provides all the extra content? It’s not accidentally leaked, but proudly displayed and advertised.  Web shows like The Morning After, blogs and news sites are always ready to share the “lowdown” on cast, plot, and gossip.   And we readily eat it up. Where is the fun in that? Suspense has always been a defining factor and reason for absorbing entertainment, at least I thought!
Going to the movies now gives Hollywood the opportunity to share trailers that reveal so much of the plot.  Trailers used to tease you, they would give you just enough content to intrigue and compel you to see a movie but now it’s no wonder that I mistake seeing a trailer to actually watching the film!  But why do the trailers divulge key information? Matt Goldberg of movie website Collider.com admits, “They feel that the only way to sell the movie is to throw the kitchen sink at the trailer and hope that some element sticks.” This tactic is a recent development for studios, if you watch trailers from ten years ago they didn’t attempt to squeeze three quarters of the movie in to two and a half minutes of teasing.  Curious or not youths’ attention spans may be a factor in the media’s new strategy to make money.
Thanks to the invention of devices like tablets and smart phones, numerous articles are addressing new approaches for companies to gain the attention of the masses, especially 21st century youth. In a recent study by Pew Research Center over 1,000 technology stakeholders and critics were questioned about the impact of our hyper-connected world on people under the age of 35 in the year 2020.  One of the predictions stated, “Young people accustomed to a diet of quick-fix information nuggets will be less likely to undertake deep, critical analysis of issues and challenging information.”   While 55% of these experts agreed that the effects of modern advancements will be mostly positive, others foresee that they will develop impatience, and a craving for instant gratification in youth.   
The media has taken the intrigue out of entertainment, from reality TV programs showing you the next gripping scene at each commercial break, to hearing every comedic line for a movie a million times before it premiers.  These changes may seem slight, but along with modern gadgets they are making it extremely easy for viewers to digest and discard information.  TV and movie promotions are so heavily run in the ground we are left knowing too much about the content before we even experience it ourselves.  While loudly singing off key, adverting your gaze from the TV and not clicking links online can help to keep the mystic of entertainment alive, there isn’t much you can do to put the cat back in the bag, once it’s out it’s out. The media’s attempts to keep our attention have not only made the element of surprise hard to come by, but could create severe consequences for us in the future.




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