With the rise of the five-day work-week, an eight-hour work-day, and more discretionary income than ever before in human history, it is no wonder that the entertainment industry is booming. Athletes are paid enormous sums of money, as are actors and actresses, musicians, singers, dancers, you name it. Some entertainers are looked on almost as God-like creatures whose every word is gospel and cause heart palpations whenever encountered on city streets or other public places.
Is this reverence for entertainers a new phenomenon, or were entertainers always given inordinate amounts of respect? It might be impossible to answer this question fully, but we can take a brief look at the history of entertainment, its development and uses, and then try and guess how the pervayors of this field were treated by their societies as a whole.
The earliest forms of entertainment spotlighted storytelling. And there is no question a good storyteller was sought after to ply his trade. Of course storytelling served much more than just a pleasant way to pass the time: this was a major method of passing down cultural norms, values, and history. It is only logical to surmise that such an important task was highly valued, and the person who could excel at passing on the cultural messages would be revered.
More about this next time.