Entertainment or Slavery?
I must apologize to the readers of our blog, as this blog is not about bands or DJs, speakers for meetings, or business theatre. It is a commentary on event entertainment and man’s behaviour throughout the ages and definition of entertainment.
[Ed. Note: originally published in 2013] Last week, as I watched the TV Show Crossfire which was hosted by former Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich talk about the upcoming documentary Blackfish where SeaWorld, although invited, choose not to participate, then watched the actual 2 hour documentary, again where SeaWorld elected not to be interviewed or filmed, and then watched Martin Savage with his expert panel of 4 continue the conversation for 1/2 hour post viewing the 2-hour documentary, again where SeaWorld, although invited according to Mr. Savage, elected not to send someone to be on his panel, it got me thinking. As I am a national entertainment industry expert, it really got me thinking about the price a society pays for entertainment and its very definition and I asked myself a question. Is it entertainment or slavery?
According to Wikipedia, slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation.
From pre-historic times through the slave trade in Arab countries, from the USA’s slave trade through Africa to the beginning of the 20ieth Century Belgium control over the Congolese to just over 65 years ago the Nazi’s control over Jews in Europe, man’s inhumanity to man has been deplorable. While it has taken most of human history, slavery has been theoretically outlawed in most societies. Or has it been?
Although not new, slavery still continues to exist in all human societies on earth, and, it is totally legal. Instead of man’s inhumanity to man, I am speaking of man’s inhumanity to animals. From the well-documented farm animal’s deplorable conditions and treatment, to the well-documented cases of abuse of domestic animals and cock fighting to the well-documented animals serving time for no crime committed as marine mammals “living” in theme parks.
From a single man owning a “dancing bear” with a leash tied to the bear’s nose ring in India and Pakistan; to a roadside tiger, “living” in a small cage in Tennessee; to multibillion dollar corporations torturing large marine mammals such as orcas by housing them in small cement enclosures, such as at SeaWorld, man’s behaviour is both unethical and immoral. And why? All for the mighty dollar. These animals are the slaves of its owners’/corporations’. SLAVES!
At face value, the large corporations, such as SeaWorld, present an electrifying show with its many ton marine stars — while at the same time managing not to deliver a higher pedagogical message about their lives, their stress levels living in their situations, ripped from their mothers and general coping under pressure to perform for food while the company continues to make millions of dollars. Sad.
Zoological studies…research…examination…I get it. Setting them up to do tricks for humans is difficult to understand. Now that the research and studies have been done in captivity, it is time to release these beautiful creatures in the hopes that they may be able to resume their last few years back where they belong. SeaWorld has done some great work bringing back unhealthy animals from the brink and reintroducing them back to the wild. They have done this for possibly millions of marine lives. Now it is time to add just a few more highly intelligent marine mammals to these millions and abolish slavery forever!
Thank you for reading this rant. I promise the next blog will be in line with our readership’s expectations and more in support of my company’s mission. Just gets you thinking about event entertainment…
–Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP
Mark Sonder Productions, Inc.