Here’s the thing: I like to think of myself as a moderately educated, cultured individual with what many would consider to be good taste. How is it then that I sometimes watch MTV?
Aside from the obvious fact that it’s mindless entertainment and allows me to focus on other things—typically my sketchbook (which is the primary reason, I suppose)—is there actually a reason that I’m watching anything at all? Why not just sit in silence?
Part of it goes back to my creative process. I get bored pretty easily, so I need something to distract me from time to time. Also, having a diversion keeps me from taking whatever I’m working on too seriously. While there is a time and place for laser focus, working on my sketchbook or amassing content to share (read: spending hours on Tumblr and Stumble Upon) is typically a more lighthearted affair and the forced distraction helps me loosen up.
There’s another reason though. It seems that I find myself repeatedly watching, of all things, Catfish: The TV Show. It plays at a variety of time slots throughout the week, so it tends to be on when I’m watching TV. It’s also not quite as repulsive as some of their other programming.
However intentional this might be, the shows on MTV, especially Catfish, illustrate issues that are important to anyone interested in understanding how our culture is developing. While the quality of entertainment is highly questionable, I find that some of my best insights on how people think (or don’t), interact with each other, and use social media all come while watching MTV-level garbage. It’s interesting: what started as a mindless diversion became a philosophical reflection. I really am a boring person, aren’t I?