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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985)

de Neil Postman

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
4,805691,931 (4.15)36
In this eloquent and persuasive book, Neil Postman examines the deep and broad effects of television culture on the manner in which we conduct our public affairs, on how "entertainment values" have corrupted the very way we think. As politics, news, religion, education, and commerce are given expression less and less in the form of printed or spoken words, they are rapidly being reshaped and staged to suit the requirements of television. And because television is a visual medium, whose images are most pleasurably apprehended when they are fast-moving and dynamic, discourse on television takes the form of entertainment. Television has little tolerance for argument, hypothesis, or explanation it demands performing art. Mr. Postman argues that public discourse, the advancing of arguments in logical order for the public good-once the hallmark of American culture-is being converted from exposition and explanation to entertainment.… (més)
  1. 40
    Un món feliç de Aldous Huxley (jstamp26)
  2. 00
    Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another de Matt Taibbi (themulhern)
    themulhern: Neil Postman's book is so much better, but Matt Taibibi's is so much more recent. Neil Postman is more interesting, more educated, and avoids the wierd cheap shots and obscenities directed at person's I've never heard of that Matt Taibibi enjoys. I guess Taibibi's is worth it for the supporting facts, which apparently he has the inside scoop on.… (més)
  3. 11
    Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America de Scott Adams (themulhern)
    themulhern: There is a surprising amount of overlap between the views of the news that both books have.
  4. 00
    Anathem de Neal Stephenson (themulhern)
    themulhern: Stephenson himself remarked that Anathem was a book about how people don't read books anymore. Moreover, there is a delightfully satirical sequence in which the characters are discussing serious things over food at a rest stop, and the narrator is repeatedly distracted by images on the speelies that are incoherent yet commanding. Later, the protagonist realizes that one of these images was relevant, and there is another bit of satire.… (més)
  5. 00
    The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom de Yochai Benkler (chiudrele)
    chiudrele: Explains how today's world of internet is different from the old world of television. Society is not merely consuming information and culture, it can also participate in creation of it.
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» Mira també 36 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 66 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This book challenges the idea of what consumes our time and why we should spend more time off devices and entertainment and onto the world in front of us and what we posses now. A Great Resource on the Effects of Television on the American Mind
  JourneyPC | Sep 26, 2022 |
El argumento principal del libro es que la evolución de los medios de comunicación ha provocado que la reflexión y la discusión seria y razonada propias de otras épocas hayan sido sustituidas, sin que seamos conscientes de ello, por el entretenimiento de masas. Según Postman, estábamos tan preocupados por evitar el mundo tiránico que nos pintaba Orwell en 1984, que no nos hemos dado cuenta de cómo poco a poco se ha ido transformando en el "mundo feliz" de Aldous Huxley.

Para construir su teoría, Postman se basa en la frase de su predecesor Marshall McLuhan: "El medio es el mensaje". Para Postman, los avances tecnológicos no son nunca neutros, sino que favorecen ciertas maneras de pensar y de actuar, mientras que perjudican otras. Aunque lo intentemos, no pueden transmitirse las mismas ideas, de la misma manera, con la televisión que con los libros, porque cada medio condiciona el contenido que se transmite a través de ellos.

En la primera parte del libro, Postman describe cómo, en la sociedad americana del siglo XVIII y principios del XIX, el monopolio de la palabra escrita como principal fuente de comunicación provocó el surgimiento de una población eminentemente reflexiva y analítica. La invención de la telegrafía y de la fotografía, y más tarde, de la televisión, han provocado el paso de lo que Postman llama la "Era Tipográfica" a la "Era del Show Business". La primera se caracterizaba por el uso de los libros como principal forma de difusión de las ideas, lo cual favorecía la discusión reflexiva y pausada. En la segunda, lo que prima es la difusión de información sin contexto ni valor alguno, con objeto de entretener al público. La segunda parte del libro pasa a describir los efectos que esta Era del Show Business han tenido sobre aspectos tales como la difusión de noticias, la religión, la política o la educación.

A pesar de estar escrito en los años 80, el libro aguanta bastante bien el paso del tiempo, e incluso resulta entretenido imaginar qué hubiera pensado Postman de las recientes evoluciones en cuanto a las nuevas formas de comunicación, tales como la mensajería instantánea o las redes sociales. Se trata de un libro valiente en sus afirmaciones, a veces en exceso, pero bien escrito y fundamentado, que da mucho que pensar acerca de cómo está construida nuestra sociedad y hasta qué punto los medios de comunicación modernos como la televisión han influido en nuestra vida. Lectura muy recomendada para cualquiera interesado en la ecología de los medios de comunicación. ( )
  nacho_cabrera | Sep 8, 2022 |
The first half was really good. It is a sort of summary of the intellectual history of reading and literacy of the United States. It tells the story from the Colonial period up until the age of telegraphy and photography (that is, sometime in the middle to the late nineteenth century).

Second half felt kind of just a rehash of the arguments already made in the first part.

I am unconvinced of the examples about how television is not a good medium for education, at least in early or lower-level education. I do not think that education being entertaining is problematic at this level. Of course, for deeper thought, at the level of higher education, you'd have to read books and journal articles, etc.

That part about religion is interesting. Postman says that it is not possible for television to be a sacral space because of the 'peek-a-boo' quality, and the memory of people of the 'peek-a-boo'-ness or the 'now-this'-ness of television. But what if it is possible? A new version of sacrality, a new techno-religious-ness shall we say. I don't know.

Overall this has been an enlightening read. I plan on re-reading the first part sometime because I really liked it. ( )
  rufus666 | Aug 14, 2022 |
I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

Originally published in 1985, the author gives a deep dive into how TV has changed and shaped modern education, political campaigns, news and religion. He gives a very understandable argument that the overall effect of TV as a medium has been negative. Information provided in a largely visual format, mood controlled by music, information delivered only by telegenic good-looking people has influenced every aspect of our lives.

And this was long before 24-7 cable news, social media and twitter. Not to mention how we are now all glued to our smart phones. I looked to see if he had written a more recent book with these 21st century inventions, but sadly he passed away in 2003. I would love to see if someone has picked up and continued his work. I think he would have a field day with smart phones! ( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
This book makes two good points: the media used to communicate affects the nature of the communication, and much of modern communication on serious matters is frivolous.

That covers the first part of the book. The rest is a tiresome rant about how TV is ruining us all. The details of the rant are not worth covering, but I do think that Postman misses some important points. First, he never looks to see if there is any good in a visual based communication style. It is true, as he states, that a medium such as television emphasizes emotional impact over rational argument, but emotion can be a powerful motivator. An image of the damage from an earthquake or a hurricane can inspire someone to help when a description of the damage may not. Even on a rational level, a picture can be worth a thousand words as anyone who has ever tried to learn knitting can tell you.

Postman only gives the slightest of nods to the fact that textual communication can also be banal. See your favorite social network for more details.

A better approach than Postman's, which declares that TV is bad and text is good, is to realize that different communication mediums have different strengths and weaknesses. Television is excellent at providing entertainment, but that is not the only thing it is good for. No media should be the only mode of discourse. Ideally, they should be used to support and reinforce each other. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 66 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The dismal message of this landmark book is that, while we've kept our eye out for Orwell's world all along, we have smoothly moved into living in Huxley's. Through our own compliance, our implicit assent, and our endless desire to be entertained, we have allowed the television to behave as our soma and let happen unto us what, were it made an explicit part of the social contract, we would never have accepted. Orwell was a cartoon, while Huxley is our reality—and we don't even know it.
 
A lucid and very funny jeremiad about how public discourse has been degraded.
afegit per ArrowStead | editaMother Jones
 
He starts where Marshall McLuhan left off, constructing his arguments with the resources of a scholar and the wit of a raconteur.
afegit per ArrowStead | editaChristian Science Monitor
 
A brilliant, powerful and important book...This is a brutal indictment Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.
afegit per ArrowStead | editaWashington Post Book World, Jonathan Yardley
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (13 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Neil Postmanautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Cherisey, Thérèsa deTraductionautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rocard, MichelPréfaceautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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You may get a sense of what is meant by context-free information by asking yourself the following question: How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve?
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In this eloquent and persuasive book, Neil Postman examines the deep and broad effects of television culture on the manner in which we conduct our public affairs, on how "entertainment values" have corrupted the very way we think. As politics, news, religion, education, and commerce are given expression less and less in the form of printed or spoken words, they are rapidly being reshaped and staged to suit the requirements of television. And because television is a visual medium, whose images are most pleasurably apprehended when they are fast-moving and dynamic, discourse on television takes the form of entertainment. Television has little tolerance for argument, hypothesis, or explanation it demands performing art. Mr. Postman argues that public discourse, the advancing of arguments in logical order for the public good-once the hallmark of American culture-is being converted from exposition and explanation to entertainment.

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