Amusing ourselves to death central thesis

We have gone from an over-abundance of irrelevant information to an unfathomably gargantuan universe of irrelevant information, the capacity for which is now infinite.

Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Postman notes that even lectures—spoken words—took on the quality of print.

This in itself would be harmless, and Postman is quick to point out that he is not condemning television in general or any of the countless trash programs that are designed purely for entertainment and are understood not to be taken seriously.

We were not only better readers and writers—we were better thinkers. The TV-screen itself is also so saturated with profane and commercial events that it is almost impossible for it to be a meaningful frame for sacred events. Prior to the invention of telegraphy, news was mostly local because the speed of information was only as fast as the fastest train.

The problem is not that there is too little access to information, but that there is too much information, and the more information we have the more irrelevant it all becomes. As you might have guessed, television had turned education into a form of entertainment as well.

Only in the printed word, he states, could complicated truths be rationally conveyed. We may be discussing the same issue today that we were inbut we will be discussing it much differently now than we would have then.

Postman presents all of this in an alarming tone, insisting that the Show Business age has led to growing political apathy and information overload, and a less empowered public.

Neil Postman

Because form has an effect on content, and print is a rational form of communication, print culture was more rational. What concerns Postman are the programs that purport to seriously present things of significance, such as news, religious broadcasts, and educational programming.

While my mind has no context for the story, the picture gives it the illusion of context. With the invention of the telegraph and the photograph, however, print lost its monopoly.

Clearly, such a format can easily undermine the democratic process as well. He was also on the editorial board of The Nation.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Second, there can be no perplexity, meaning even if there are unanswered questions and difficulties within the topic being explored by the program, they must be brushed over or ignored entirely, as a confused or perplexed audience is likely to change the channel.

Part of the problem is simply that Amusing Ourselves to Death was published inand serious studies on information issues were fewer and less developed than today.

It is not what we talk about but the way in which we talk—even think—about the issues that has changed. But anyone choosing to utilize one of the virtues Postman attributes to books might well pause to consider the place of television in social movements of the late twentieth century.

It may be some time before the effects of this technology become clear, but by then they will probably be so common and widespread as to be invisible, just like the effects of television on our minds today.

The fact that news stories are often condensed to less than one minute completely prevents the audience from taking them seriously. Postman says it is important to continue to investigate how the printing press shaped colonial American epistemology, in order to address the problem of the decline according to Postman of rational conversation in 20th century America.

Postman further examines the differences between written speech, which he argues reached its prime in the early to mid-nineteenth century, and the forms of televisual communication, which rely mostly on visual images to "sell" lifestyles.

Neither Christ nor Mohammed nor Buddha nor any other religious teacher has offered people anything more than what they needed, but television preachers are forced to offer viewers what they want. Because television must present its content through images, it is in the nature of the medium to suppress the content of ideas to accommodate the requirements of visual interest.

We have not become slaves to higher authority, but we have allowed our society to deteriorate into a spiritually and intellectually dead environment. Retrieved September 22, A child is more likely to get bored in class if the lesson is not as fun as the shows he sees on television.

Moreover, modern television commercials are not "a series of testable, logically ordered assertions" rationalizing consumer decisions, but "is a drama—a mythology, if you will—of handsome people" being driven to "near ecstasy by their good fortune" of possessing advertised goods or services.

It would at first seem to be a welcome breath of fresh air, as the majority of on-line discourse is done through the written word. Summary[ edit ] Postman distinguishes the Orwellian vision of the future, in which totalitarian governments seize individual rights, from that offered by Aldous Huxley in Brave New Worldwhere people medicate themselves into bliss, thereby voluntarily sacrificing their rights.

A horrible accident that has taken place a thousand miles away may be interesting information but it has no effect on what a person will do that day.

Yet we have been living with television for a century and Postman acknowledges that the technology is not really going anywhere. Part of the problem is that Postman loses his objectivity when discussing the ramifications of television.

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman explained how the gradual dumbing of our discourse and how our failed ‘treatments’ of this serious issue have been nothing more than fodder for entertainment.

At the root of Postman’s central claim is a comparison between two very different fictional Dystopian societies in literature, the first. "Amusing Ourselves to Death" is a book for culture watchers and worriers.

Author, educator and communications theorist Neil Postman embarks on an intriguing exploration of the ways in which entertainment values have corrupted essential public discourse, from education, science, religion, and the. Neil Postman wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death and brought to the public’s attention (or at least those who chose to read his book (who commonly weren't the people who needed to hear Postman’s warning)) that television has become the central point for our culture's information.

LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Amusing Ourselves to Death, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Winner, Kathryn. "Amusing Ourselves to Death Chapter 3: Typographic America." LitCharts.

LitCharts LLC, 12 Feb Web. 4 Sep Winner, Kathryn. "Amusing. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment.

It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our /5(). Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. New York: Viking,pp.

ISBN His central thesis is that television is not only entertaining, but insinuates that all presentions must be entertaining. “Entertainment is the super-ideology of all.

Amusing ourselves to death central thesis
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