sábado, 26 set 2020
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A Brief Gnostic History of the Spontaneity in the Entertainment Industry (Part 1)

If the Entertainment Industry repeats the same cosmic drama described by the Gnostic mythology (the Demiurge imprisoning human beings in an attempt to draw us to the particles of light by moving a fallen cosmos from the beginning) we need to trace the same trajectory inside the media . Find ways to make a story of how entertainment tries to capture and retain the spontaneity of an instrumental.

In previous posts (see links below) addressed the issue of spontaneity in the entertainment industry by Gnostic point of view. Our thesis is that the quest for spontaneity by the entertainment industry to make it productive in the structures, clichés (giving “life” or “feeling” empty and inert forms that tend dangerously to entropy – the apathy of the public) reproduces a micro-scale cosmic drama described by the Gnostic mythology: the struggle of the Demiurge to imprison the human being to extract from it the particles of light that animate the ethereal forms from which the physical cosmos was built. Because it is an imperfect copy of the Fullness (Pleroma), from the moment that was “built” and not “originating”, tends to inertia or entropy.

Well, it is now draw a short history of spontaneity in mass culture, trying to map out the stages and strategies by which the spontaneity of the public is properly represented in the products and

But before that, we must define what we mean by “spontaneity.” For the Gnostic mythology is the way in which the particles of light (memories of our true origins not in this cosmos, but in the Pleroma) are manifested in daily life: happiness, good faith provision, brightness, vitality, confidence, etc.., Ie , feelings and dispositions that set in motion our lives not in an instrumental sense (in terms of goals, objectives, efficiency, or “positive thinking”, as recommended by the literature of self-help). Rather, we take the spontaneity in the aspect of “game” and “playful.”

By referring this concept to this world, immediate recall of children’s play, where even spontaneity expresses itself freely. But we play the game and not in the sense that the adult does as “irresponsible happy” or “something not serious.” Richard Sennett for the game is serious business:

“(…) Is the principle that leads the child to invest a lot of passion in a situation driven by impersonal rules and consider the expression in this situation as a matter of redoing and refine these rules to give pleasure and promote a greater sociability with other “(Sennett, Richard. The Decline of Public Man, S. Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1988, p. 384.)

In the game children invest a lot of passion in absolutely impersonal rules, create a fantasy world to create pleasure and sociability. Serious about the game not in the sense of seeking instrumental or tactical victory methodically trying to understand the rules to understand the mechanics of the game and never lose. In the game we accept the experience, whether good or bad, win or lose. The passion is the development of rules (where the longer the game more fun) and not the ultimate goal Unlike the adult experience denies hiding in structures or strategies that will keep you protected from the threat of the experiment (uncertainty, loss , etc..) Hidden in the cliche to escape the unpredictable and dangerous.

Entertainment and Spontaneity

Defined the notion of spontaneity, let’s move on to the history of its relations with the entertainment.

For Neal Gabler in his book “Life: The Movie” as the entertainment industry and more than that, as a phenomenon that will structure the experience itself, appears in the U.S.. Like Swiss chocolate exports tulips and Holland, the U.S. will export entertainment.

Its origins are perhaps deeper in evangelical Protestantism, whose religious practice was in itself quite amusing: faithful taken by fits of catalepsy, convulsions, visions, explosions of laughter and singing, and sermons full of bizarre stories, reports of murders and deformities to that the faithful feel the bones themselves hope, conviction and guilt. These stories later massed in tabloids and popular literature, would be the extent of this religious phenomenon typically American.

Here, the entertainment is associated with sensations: the unusual, the bizarre, the unexpected. These spontaneous demonstrations of daily life are associated with the Fantastic, the Mystery. Parks and circuses of varieties that exposed human strains will be the basis of the archetypes and iconography of modern horror movies and suspense that will move the structures cliche these genres.

With the coming of photography, film and later TV, this potential sensational imagery and theatrical entertainment takes place technologically. In this first phase of visual and audiovisual means, when there was still a structured language for business, we have the presence of spontaneous yet the relationship “awkward” or “dysfunctional” man with new technology then.

For example, in photographs of the nineteenth century people seem to be more clumsy than the current photos of them still have not in mind the notion of posing and lighting. Indeed, most pictures were spontaneous than the present.

In the cinema there was still room to director-actor relationship is not codified by the pace of the assembly line. For example, in the autobiography of actress Mae Marsch she gives an account of instructions given by director DW Griffith in a scene in which she would represent fear and panic. A conventional director would say “Scream”.

“Mr. Griffith, by contrast, asked me if I had ever felt in life fear or fright. Yes, I said. ‘What did you do then,’ asked me to follow. ‘I started laughing,’ I replied. He knew immediately what it was (…) I believe the hysterical laughter was far more expressive than the eyes or turning back the tears. “(Quoted by PROKOP, Dieter.” The Working with Stereotypes: the films of DW Griffith “In: MARCONDES SON (ed.) Dieter Prokop. Colection Greats Social Scientists, New York: Attica, p.64.)

With the consolidation of the entertainment industry as from the early 30th and final adjustment of man and the new technology we are developing a language (structure-cliche) specific for each medium and genre, resulting in the increasing need for exploration of spontaneity from the public.


The first strategy was the creation of the Star System or the promotion of actors as “stars” (to the Gnostic view of the expression is not mere coincidence: it expresses the secret desire to catch the light, “star” shine, to put into motion the entertainment). The producers soon realized that the public recognize their favorite actors and gave them affectionate nicknames (Mary Pickford “Girl of clusters” – see photo opposite – Jane Harlow to “venus platinum). Soon these players turn into stars while exploring the public’s fascination with the idiosyncrasies or spontaneous or unique features, turning them into gods of Olympus, that is, “Olympians.”

Celebrities and the Vicious Cycle of the Entertainment Industry

The second strategy was the creation of “celebrities”. The exposure of the stars becomes deeper when looking at them everyday scandals, foibles, unusual hobbies, everything that gives spontaneity to actors who already bored the public. Once the stars have realized that the mechanism producing the constant exposure in the media and were deliberately, through public relations or journalists, to produce events or events to achieve ever greater media spaces.

This will create a vicious cycle, a trap for the entertainment industry in the quest for spontaneity:

“The result was to transform society into a gigantic Heisenberg effect, in which the media were not reporting what people did, he was reporting what people did to get media attention. In other words, as the life was being lived increasingly to the media, this was increasingly covering itself and its impact on life “(Gable, Neal. Life, the Movie. São Paulo: Companhia das Letters, 1999, p. 97).

A celebrity is tautological, as defined in the 60 Daniel Boorstin in his seminal book The Image: a guide of pseudoevents in America “:” Celebrity is a person who is characterized by its reputation. ” It is famous because it is well known!

In fact, celebrities, with their poses, like playing the hair, mouths with lips between open-etc., Will play the cliche imagery of cinema and advertising.

If the film explored the spontaneity through the Star System, the advertising will get the spontaneous eroticism, children and animals. When Marilyn Monroe, perhaps one of the first celebrities, exposed himself with his fri appeal to capture the attention of cameras and lenses, have replied faces and, once spontaneous repertoire of advertising imagery pin ups.

The entertainment industry creates a trap for itself, an unexpected side effect: every effort to capture the spontaneity of everyday situations in film and advertising (as in images of Norman Rockwell trying to capture snapshots of the routine life style on the covers of the U.S. ” Saturday Evening Post “) resulted in a repertoire of iconography, true tactics to attract the attention of reporters, producers and promoteurs. And not just in the field of shallow celebrities. Political and economic events occurring in exaggerated tones to match the script of fictional dramas and attract the attention of the media. The terrorist events are those that best demonstrate this thesis.

The practice journalist more concerned with “language” than the fact demonstrates this: the reporter becomes a stage director, leading the interviewee or the fact to make it more “newsworthy”, “telegenic” or “exciting”.

As a result, the spontaneity disappears and the entertainment industry reaches dangerously out of boredom, inertia and loss of interest. It was necessary to renew the search strategies for new media types, situations, sensations and snapshots. But that is subject to the next post.

Related Posts:

Wilson Ferreira
Wilson Ferreirahttps://revistaforum.com.br/cinegnose
Mestre em Comunição Contemporânea (Análises em Imagem e Som). Jornalista e professor na Universidade Anhembi Morumbi nas áreas de Estudos da Semiótica e Linguagem Audiovisual. Pesquisador e escritor, co-autor do "Dicionário de Comunicação" pela editora Paulus, organizado pelo Prof. Dr. Ciro Marcondes Filho e autor dos livros "O Caos Semiótico" e "Cinegnose – a recorrência de elementos gnósticos na produção cinematográfica" pela Editora Livrus.