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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985 original; edició 1986)
de Neil Postman (Autor)
Informació de l'obra
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business de Neil Postman (1985)
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Essentially a redux of Marshall McLuhan’s The Media is the Message, it’s an argument that the dominant communications media powerfully affect reasoning (Postman’s preferred term is epistemology, which is probably more accurate and to the point), and that we were a lot better off as individuals and as a body politic when that effect came primarily from print rather than TV and other visual media. He makes a pretty strong case. Although he’s not happy about things, he’s not a ranting old crank like some Yale literary critics. He maintains a sense of humor, he’s a good writer, and he’s down to earth, straightforward and concise (while McLuhan can be otherwise). Well worth the read. ( )
Good book on the lack of seriousness in America.
This book, originally published in 1985, warns against the proliferation of television media replacing printed texts. Much of Postman’s case comes across as a tome against television and cites renowned authors like Aldous Huxley and Marshall McLuhan in support of his thesis. However, 35-40 years after its original publishing, it’s easy to see how digital media (i.e., the computer and the Internet) have continued to revolutionize America’s information intake. Our goal now is simply to keep up with the “fire hydrant” of information output instead of merely choosing one technology over another. Yes, the goal is simply to learn and retain from all media instead of to privilege one over the other. In this sense, the book falls sorely short of anticipating future conundrums.
Postman rightly observes how television media tends to put us to sleep instead of making us engaged learners. That’s why I am still a passionate advocate of book learning. His emphasis on understanding the forms of media is likewise appreciated. However, Postman idealizes a past age (in the 1800s) when books and newspapers were the main/only form of educational technology. He sees this as a golden age that we need to return to. He forgets how much rote memorization was required then in education and how social inequities like slavery, discrimination, and a lack of women’s suffrage persisted in that age. Technology also has its benefits – say, speeding up social economies, which produces greater wealth.
Postman’s basic premise is that television is bad and traditional reading is good. This is a false dichotomy, I suggest. While I wholeheartedly support becoming aware of pro’s and con’s of various forms of media, the challenge becomes to learn to learn from all forms of media. When learning itself becomes a passion, it ultimately selects between forms of media appropriately. A “culture war” against one form of media – which is what Postman seems to suggest – distracts from the point. I’m not sure how his thesis would have been received in 1985, but in 2022, “the age of show business” has become the “information age.” New challenges of a hyper-connected world confront us. This book, for all its timeliness in the 1980s, does not predict these future challenges. I still suggest reading McLuhan (an author Postman relies upon) instead of this work for a more universal paradigm of media.
It's difficult to find a book about technology written 40 years ago that nails our present moment so well. It's prophetic as hell and will convict you on every page.
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
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A lucid and very funny jeremiad about how public discourse has been degraded.
He starts where Marshall McLuhan left off, constructing his arguments with the resources of a scholar and the wit of a raconteur.
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.
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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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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)302.23 — Social sciences Social Sciences Social Interaction Communication Media (Means of communication)
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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