Over the last few years, I’ve come to accept a lot of hard truths about myself. One of these facts is that I’m obsessed and heavily involved with pop-culture.

The entertainment industry never fails to put stars in my eyes, a skip in my step and the kick in my metaphorical coffee.

This is something that, as far as I can tell, sets me apart from LDS culture at large. I see pop-culture and mass entertainment as something incredibly valuable and, frankly, crucial to the future of our society. Entertainment is something that will always be on the news, in our homes and part of our lives.

Even if you don’t have a TV, you still have to go outside at some point and interact with people. You still have to send your children into a world inundated with mass media. That’s not a bad thing, even though it may seem scary.

What is a bad thing is us ignoring the entertainment industry. We cannot pretend the world outside our door doesn’t exist. So many facets of the entertainment industry can change societal standards. What we grow up seeing on TV, in movies and in the lives of the rich and famous become the standard we set our lives to.

I was raised in a God-fearing, Jell-o making, family-centered home. I had plenty of people to look up to at home and at church. I also watched cartoons, and I identified more with my favorite cartoon characters, so I paid more attention to them. That’s just what made sense to me, and I know I’m not the only one.

People often assume that there are more important things going on in the world, and honestly, that’s absolutely true. Helping Syrian refugees is going to trump my deep interest in the newest Netflix series every time.

However, we don’t all have the privilege of being able help at the drop of a dime. I don’t have the money or knowledge to be helpful whenever I want, but there are always ways to be involved in the media.

Sometimes our down time is just down time, and there is no denying that.

We all spend time listening to music, watching TV and generally doing nothing.

Any kids we bring into the world will do the same, and some of them will grow up to be the ones writing songs or starring in the 14th Avenger’s movie.

“The media,” as I so often hear it referred to as on this campus, are a worldwide, multi-billion dollar machine with a mind. It’s not a malicious hive of liberals out to make us all gay socialists; it’s just a collective of people who make the stuff that we use to escape and to explore the world of possibilities around us.

The entertainment industry is a game of give and take; they can only create things the audience wants, or they won’t be able to make content anymore.

If we refuse to participate in this equation, we are contributing to any evil that is already in the media. Instead of rejecting pop-culture as a whole, we should be actively involved in  improving it.

If we take our entertainment seriously, we can use it to shape future generations into better people and a better world.