While the why of the specifics of each art form’s level of respect vary on a case by case basis and no one would say that I love live theater because it has been around for ever or I hate video games because they just came out. I have observed that the general pattern of how much respect a given art form receives is proportionate to how long is has been around. So if you would care to meet one of my pet theories, consider my observations, about history of the more common forms of entertainment perhaps you will see it as well. Keep in mind that this is a pet theory it is meant to put its head in your lap and have you scratch its ears not give you the answer to life the universe and everything. It is not my plan to end poverty racism and war. Story telling While there is no way to know which came first to ancient culture it is highly likely that this was the first form of entertainment in common practice. It is largely dead and probably one of the most deeply respected. I do have a friend who has a degree in this but I can’t say that it helped him much. Those who do practice this art still exist and have produced some of our best Imaginative literature. J. K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien’s books both started as bedtime stories for there kids and they turned their endeavors into extremely successful books. While this was once used to entertain the whole village and keep history alive it is now relegated largely to entertaining children at bed time. It is still highly respected though. The bedtime story, though most widely bastardized in having been taken from a book, are held by most as almost sacred, In fact I suspect my referring to a bedtime book as a bastardization probably mildly offended some of you when you read it Painting Another ancient art form that has deep respect even reverence. So much so, that it has become common place for people to ooohhhh and aaahhh over paintings(and sculptures which are a closely related art form from around the same time) that the majority of the population would look at and consider nonsense. This is not to say that all modern art is like this I am fond of several current artists my self, but because it has been around for so long it is given deep respect almost regardless of content. Of course this forces me to ponder wether the first artist were looked at by there contemporaries as crack pots because they weren’t out hunting Acting (Live Stage) Live theater is an art form that gets deep respect and like story telling and painting has been around from time im-memoriam. While actors in say the time of Shakespeare were considered mostly ruffians and having a troupe of traveling actors come to your village while a glad occasion was looked on with some suspicion as many traveling Actors were often thought to be thieves. Now stage actors are highly respected and many movie actors do stage in order to gain respect and sharpen their chops. Even a night of going to see a small theater group production of The Mouse Trap would likely garner you more respect than say playing the latest Resident Evil or Silent Hill game though both are enthralling and contain complex plots. Books While books and writing have been around longer than I care to research, interestingly a strange echo of the pattern still holds. Books have only been in the hands of the common man in the last few hundred years since the invention and proliferation of the Guttenberg press. Likewise some books are respected and some are not. With forms like Romance literature and Science fiction/Fantasy still largely looked down on (though I personally think that Imaginative literature gives a venue to examine ideas that other literature doesn’t.) As an example if you were say, sitting in the cafeteria at work and reading some Isaac Asimov or a romance novel you would likely be accorded less respect than if you were say reading a book like the Iliad or the Odyssey. Is the writing style better? Are the ideas more valid or the content less fantastic? Most people wouldn’t know as most haven’t read either, but by en large most would look down on the former and respect the latter. Movies Originally a close relative of Vaudeville and live stage. Movies were often little more than a play or an act recorded by one camera, As such they took on a certain amount of respect when they first came out from there cousins, but not much. As time has worn on movies have evolved and become an art form that differs a fair bit from its roots. Since its inception the social and political importance of movies and their stars have grown considerably. Into what has become some what of an obsession in western culture. Where there has been a movie star president and they are talking about making the law requiring that a president be native born so that the US can let a certain Govenator run. Television Television, having come after movies has always seemed like sort of the runt of the litter with T.V. actors getting less respect and making less money. Even though many shows have a much broader audience then most movies will ever see. Despite this if you watch a lot of T.V. you are probably looked down on by people. Lately this has lessened. We are seeing more large screen actors taking on T.V. shows, Like Martin Sheen doing West Wing and T.V. Actors of successful shows are starting to make money that would make their Movie Brethren envious like Seinfeld and the cast of Friends. Videogames Starting in the 70’s with the rise of pong this is arguably the most glaring example of this principle I have come across. While Video games made more money the last few years running than Hollywood. Video games are still largely held in contempt. In fact mentioning videogames in mixed company can prevent you from getting laid. While Videogames are necessarily more active (you are involved in and largely control what happens) and possess the potential for just as much drama, laughs and action (actually usually more action) Than any of the above forms of entertainment. People who play a lot of videogames (or at least talk about them) are generally considered Nerds, Big Nerds. Though as the theory supports this is getting better with the success of games like Grand theft Auto which are pretty badass Role-Playing games Not the “me Tarzan, you lost Japanese school girl” variety but rather the “I have a long sword +2 man, that Orc doesn’t stand a chance” sort Considered the Pinnacle of Geek-dome, over awed perhaps by Magic the collecting-playing card game. These two kissing cousins are successively nerdy. With D&D type games becoming common place in the 80’s and still in its infancy this is one of the most Nerdalicious pastimes out there. With practitioners considered some thing close to another species. In high school I was in my high school’s Role playing club and I am sure that if 4 out of 10 to 12 of us weren’t over 6’4 (Actual stats, it must have made the football coaches cry), I am sure we would have been beaten up. People actually sneered at me. I was 6’4”, 280lbs and held my schools record for most fights in a public school career (but that is another story, I actually hate violence and was picked on by older kids and got blamed). Interestingly Role playing Contains elements of two of the great ancient art forms, namely acting and story telling, but I suppose if you add some paper, dice and books; instant social rejection. Of course with the success of movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, I wonder if there will be a further shift in this Broadly held opinion.

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