Diaspora Diary: Watch Movies For Entertainment & Learning.

3 min readJun 5, 2024


Entertainment and learning are not opposites; entertainment may be the most effective mode of learning. ~Herbert Marcuse

I follow David Perell. He exemplifies what I regard as effective writing, learning and teaching online.

One of his tweets recently got me thinking. It was a short quote from his interview with @rivatez

“I’ve never watched Netflix,” she said.

It immediately struck me that this may not be as linear as it appears.
And of course, reading the entire thread proved me right.
Riva Tez said she wants to be entertained but equally wants to learn.
The excerpt below sheds more light on her take.

“I’m so perplexed by how open people are to consuming the media around them passively. I’m very selective about what I put inside my mind. I’m like, cool: “I’ll start watching Netflix once I’ve read the whole of human history.” I’d rather read the Odyssey 100 times than watch Netflix. I’m not looking for passive entertainment… I’m so surprised by how many of my smart intellectual friends come home and zone out on TV shows. I have so many things I want to learn. I don’t just want to be entertained.”

So what brought me back to this tweet was a lesson from Fast Charlie which I just watched.

In the scene, Pierce tells a story about growing up when his dad would return from work and play draw with him.
Being a child, he never beat his dad. Yet each time his old man would tell him to hands up, turn around and face the wall..then pop! He shoots him in the back..every single day.

So one day, he asked, "What's the sense of facing the wall if you're gonna shoot me in the back?" To which his dad replied "Well maybe today I won't. " So he turned around and faced the wall..pop! His dad shoots him in the back!

He hated him for that.

30yrs later, he tells his boss Stan the story. Stan chuckles and says, "Hide behind the door and shoot him in the back..don't give him a gun, hell don't even give him a chance."

"In life, you can either play by someone else's rules or you play by your own. You play by someone's rules you're gonna get screwed every time because it's their design, not yours."

It's not as if I didn't know this before now, but Pierce poignantly told his story that it will be eternally ingrained in my mind. For me the two lessons here are;
1. As much as you can, play by your rules.
2. Storytelling can be magical.

So unlike Riva Tez, I watch Netflix.
Besides the obvious benefits like sharing quality time with loved ones while watching movies, they help me destress.
For years I rarely mount the treadmill without a screen before me.
It takes my mind off the pain of jogging to attain set exercise goals in time and calories.

But just like Riva Tez, I also wish to learn while being entertained.
So I mix things up with some documentaries in between.
It's a win-win and strikes a much-needed balance between productivity and well-being.

Thus just like social media, Netflix/movies can be good or bad depending on what you choose to consume. Yet, whatever you choose to watch just remember that it is still consumption. And in consumption moderation is key. If you spend most of your time watching movies you will not have the time to do other important things that matter more.

What do you think?

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