Warren Commission

What, exactly, is entertainment? That question came to me during my quick skim this morning of a few web sites of popular news media. I noticed, perhaps for the first time, the  juxtaposition on those sites’ pages between what I call hard news and enjoyment—or amusing diversion. With few exceptions, these news media sites seem to intentionally place hard news and amusing diversions in close proximity, with the former usually featured more prominently. But, in what appears to me purposeful placement, the web page designers put diversions—seemingly designed to mitigate anxieties produced by hard news—in close proximity. Articles and video clips involving sports, cooking, games, art, theater, lifestyle, travel, and other analgesic diversions from the frequent unpleasantness of hard news provide relief. That observation—though it might be simply my opinion—led me to think of entertainment as a cleverly-disguised distraction from the pain of daily life. A protective relief valve that serves to reduce blood pressure, lessen fear and anxiety, and otherwise impact the body’s physical response to the environment. In much the same way many prescription pharmaceuticals function, then, entertainment behaves like a drug. Hmm. I suspect physical and behavioral scientists have long viewed entertainment in the same context. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that my eureka moment was based on something I read or heard long, long ago. But thinking through the idea is quite different from simply being fed the concept. And, of course, my assessment of the concept may well be based on faulty logic. But I enjoy allowing my mind to drag me through the rabbit warren, anyway. I think it’s time to establish a Warren Commission.


I long to return to a place I’ve never been, a place littered with the bones of futile wars and pointless victories. There, beneath rusted swords thick with dust and empty promises, neither victors nor the vanquished triumphed. Tales unburdened by truth are merely shadows under cover of darkness; invisible in the absence of light. That place, that dark and blameless place, hides the collected mistakes of a thousand generations of mindless warriors. The place is not at fault; it is just a repository where malice goes to die.


Cat hair on my keyboard is intolerable. Cat hair in my mouth is worse. Cat teeth in my flesh falls somewhere along that spectrum.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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