Amusing ourselves to death sparknotes

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Amusing Ourselves to Death Quotes by Neil Postman

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Published 22.06.2019

Neil Postman Are We Amusing Ourselves to Death Part II, Jan. 1986

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death is a work that aims to both explore complicated ideas and market itself to the general public. Its basic thesis is that television has negatively affected the level of public discourse in contemporary America, and it considers media in a larger context to achieve that. As such, it follows a rather schematic organization, in which Postman introduces his basic thesis, conducts a background explanation of the suppositions on which the thesis is founded, and then presents the thesis in more detail. The book opens with a Foreword that examines two literary dystopic visions — that of George Orwell , who in warned about a tyrannical state that would ban information to keep the public powerless, and that of Aldous Huxley , who in Brave New World depicted a population too amused by distractions to realize that they had been made powerless. Postman wishes to reveal how discourse inspired by television has turned our world into a more Huxleyan one. Part I is concerned mostly with background and historical analysis.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Read in: 4 minutes Favorite quote from the author:. My native language is German. A perfect world, in which everyone is always happy, is called utopia.

Everyone needs to read this book. Nothing will do more to help cure your information addiction that the healthy dose of reality provided in these pages. Throughout history, different cities have been the representations of American culture. To Postman, that city is now Las Vegas. Religion saw how giving an image to an idea or set of ideas was problematic, thus the prohibition against it in the ten commandments. The medium matters, it changes the message.

Unlike another dystopian novelist, George Orwell , Huxley foresaw that we would eventually be destroyed by that which we love most: entertainment, leisure, and laughter. Postman discusses how discourse worked when America was a print culture. Because form has an effect on content, and print is a rational form of communication, print culture was more rational. Debates were longer and more thoughtful, and the monopoly of print produced a highly literate society. With the invention of the telegraph and the photograph, however, print lost its monopoly. Now people had ways of getting information instantaneously—information that was decontextualized, often irrelevant, and incapable of dealing with difficult abstractions and interpretations.


  1. Antia C. says:

    Neil Postman.

  2. Georges L. says:

    Amusing Ourselves to Death Quotes by Neil Postman

  3. Kim R. says:

    Lesson 2: The telegraph and the camera ushered in a period of little context.

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