deep thoughts

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fictional worlds

I love the west wing. I’m a little embarrassed to say that the show is what got me involved in politics. But even though it is just a TV show, it does something vital; it puts a human face on political issues global, national and local. Right now I am watching the episode entitled “In This White House”, the plot of which deals with the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The show does not just say that AIDS is bad, nor does it try to simplify the problem by creating an easy solution. I have recently heard a BBC report on the situation and read some articles from various news sources describing the situation. AIDS in Africa (and everywhere) is a complicated issue. The stories break my heart, but watching this TV show with a fictitious African President pleading for his country’s people somehow brings the issue home. I find myself choking back tears and understanding my knowledge in a different way. It means more now.
This is the power of entertainment. It can take large issues and make them more human, more palpable. It can strike us in ways that we don’t get from the news, which is supposed to be unbiased. Entertainment can give us a moral parable and in so doing it can drive us to act. Watching the West Wing drove me to pay attention to politics. It showed me why the issues matter, now I look and see what the issues are and how I can change them. That’s power.

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September 6, 2005 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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