Throughout the 20th century the industries of leisure have expanded to constitute an ever greater part of the economies of industrialized nations. From the Korean factory worker producing televisian sets to the part-time saleswoman in Stockholm who sells them, ever-increasing nurnbers of people are employed in the production and servicing of leisure activities.
All these activities are couched in the idioms of advertising and entertainment: theyall respond to real needs, but as they do so, they define what constitute the legitimate needs of the people of their society.
As critic Richard Dyer has expressed it, “The ideals of entertainment imply wants that capitalism itself promises to meet.. .entertainrnent provides alternatives to capitalism which will be provided by capitalism.”
Yet such ideals and alternatives, dismissed as merely entertainrnent, are held to be unworthy of serious consideration. As a result, we are alienated from our own dreams and utopian desires, persuaded instead that they can be fulfilled, or just disposed of, by two hours at the movies or a new dress and in the process reassured that, like the commodities that have replaced them, the dreams were never “about” anything important in the first place.