Published: Jul 28, 2017 12:00:00 PM

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In the animated .gif to the side here, you'll observe a hundred-million dollar rendering of King Kong whipping a freak-beast with a boat propeller attached to a chain.

This is from the film Kong: Skull Island. It's so dumb. I loved it. But the movie's also a living embodiment of culture-as-a-franchise (or, CaaF, which I just made up).

Thousands of people spent insane cash to put a bet on movies like Kong: Skull Island. Interfacing with this sort of entertainment is exhausting.

How do we counteract this trend? We go low-tech. We go local. We enjoy indie bands. We discover free books to read online. We pull our heads out of the sand...

Give yourself a break from modern insanity.

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When corporate-mandated continuity is the driving force entertainment, we can't help but be swept up in the moment. Every product is tested to the n'th degree with audiences to insure a gigantic film can recoup its budget. Potential response to a TV series, network, streaming, premium, or otherwise, has become a dance of PR and weekly audience-engagement.

Entertainment is unceasing. It's endless stimulation. Thought-sharing is relentless because the folks spending millions to entertain you never want you to drift away. They want your brain.

To this, I suggest giving yourself a break from the churn. Counteract the dominant cultural force and find something that isn't driven by franchise loyalty. Discover the intimacy of smaller craft and the motivation that drives independent creators including:

  • Low-tech art
  • Nearby indie music
  • Free books to read online
  • Local productions outisde your comfort space

Get away from the repetitive safe bets gives you more to unique discussions. Instead sinking into content, written or video, to discover what a legacy franchise got "right" or "wrong," discover a new world.

Instead of struggling with whether a corporate-level creative will "respect" the fans, and following their successes or failures in doing so, give yourself a break from modern insanity.

Explore channels for materials outside your feeds.

We've built entertainment spheres for ourselves. These magic bubbles, when properly engineered, only deliver info on what we deign relevant. This is advantageous for organizing and consuming content, but it also leaves us single-minded. It keeps us from exploring and discovering something new.

To combat content fatigue, you must step outside your regular channels. Don't leave simply looking for a fight. Actively attempt to learn about new music. Discover what makes a certain piece of content critical to comic book mythology. Hash out the business angle for free books to read online.

To find new stuff:

Do set up tag alerts on Instagram or Twitter for certain topics.

Don't just go to Reddit.

Do keep an eye out for local activities (especially if you're in an urban location).

Don't give up after 15 minutes of exploration.

The content bubble you've built has relieved you from the anxiety of selecting how to entertain yourself. It keeps the entertainment channel wide and asks nothing of you.

However, if you want to get out of the modern rut, you might benefit from expending energy on seeking new hobbies. It's likely cheap. There are free podcasts. There are cheap indie video games. There are free books to read online.

Just get out there and explore.

Never stop looking for cool stuff.

Your brain wakes up when you decouple yourself from the wheel of content. You won't tumble down YouTube rabbit holes dissecting the Justice League trailer. You won't spend money on weekly movie tickets. You won't burn (as much) energy enduring performative outrage from franchise "fans."

You get to enjoy new, cool stuff! You get in on the ground floor: discover the next Game of Thrones before it becomes a phenomenon. Friends will come to you for advice and you'll have more to suggest than Netflix's passive recommendations.

Don't let the loudest entertainment options dominate your attention. Don't allow giant companies to rent space in your brain and fill it with noise pollution.

Never stop looking for cool new stuff and always expand your sources.

-- Alex Crumb
Twitter | Facebook

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