Amusing Ourselves to Death
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Examines the ways in which television has transformed public discourse--in politics, education, religion, science, and elsewhere--into a form of entertainment that undermines exposition, explanation and knowledge, in a special anniversary edition of the classic critique of the influence of the mass media on a democratic society. Reprint.
Examines the effects of television culture on how we conduct our public affairs and how "entertainment values" corrupt the way we think.
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. --Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
"Media, technology, culture, television, new media, media ecology, public discourse" --
Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1, Martin Luther University (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik), course: Orality and Literacy, 17 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The central topics of the works of the writer, educator, communication theorist, social critic and cultural commentator Neil Postman have always been the media, their different forms of communication and their meanings to people, society and culture. Any of his books was built around the McLuhan-question: “Does the form of any medium of communication affect our social relations, our political ideas, or psychic habits, and of course, as he [Marshall McLuhan] always emphasized, our sensorium” (Postman: 07/30/05)? Postman was aware of the fact that a new technology and therefore a new medium may have destructive as well as creative effects. During the history of mankind there have been tremendous changes in the forms, volume, speed and context of information and it is necessary to find out what these changes meant and mean to our cultures (Postman: 1985, 160). For him, it is a basic principle that “the clearest way to see through a culture is to attend to its tools for conversation” (Postman: 1985, 8). In the book “Amusing Ourselves to Death - Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” Postman examines, from a 1980s viewpoint, the changes in the American culture caused by the shift from the Age of Reason with the printed word at its center to the Age of Show Business with television as the central medium - or in simplifying terms the shift from rationality to triviality. Twenty years later, the situation has changed again. This term paper will make an attempt to answer the question what the new media, especially the internet, did to the modern (American) culture and to its public discourse. Obviously, Postman’s provocative title “Amusing Ourselves to Death” was just the beginning of a fast moving development since nowadays the modern media world seems to shape our lives under the title “Informing Ourselves to Death” (Postman: 07/30/05) or to use one of the latest terms “Infotaining Ourselves to Death”. ..First of all, the following chapters will examine the line of Postman’s argumentation which led to the conclusion that television has significantly transformed the American society into an amusement and entertainment culture. What has happened and what was the role of the media? Was this the beginning of a “Brave New World”? As a matter of fact, Postman ́s theories and statements are not to be taken as unreflected truth. Subsequently,some critical remarks are to be made from a 21 st -century viewpoint. [...]
In this witty, often terrifying work of cultural criticism, the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death chronicles our transformation into a Technopoly: a society that no longer merely uses technology as a support system but instead is shaped by it—with radical consequences for the meanings of politics, art, education, intelligence, and truth.
At a time when we are reexamining our values, reeling from the pace of change, witnessing the clash between good instincts and "pragmatism," dealing with the angst of a new millennium, Neil Postman, one of our most distinguished observers of contemporary society, provides for us a source of guidance and inspiration. In Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century he revisits the Enlightenment, that great flowering of ideas that provided a humane direction for the future -- ideas that formed our nation and that we would do well to embrace anew. He turns our attention to Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Edward Gibbon, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin, and to their then-radical thinking about inductive science, religious and political freedom, popular education, rational commerce, the nation-state, progress, and happiness. Postman calls for a future connected to traditions that provide sane authority and meaningful purpose -- as opposed to an overreliance on technology and an increasing disregard for the lessons of history. And he argues passionately for specific new guidelines in the education of our children, with renewed emphasis on developing the intellect as successfully as we are developing a computer-driven world. Witty, provocative, and brilliantly reasoned, Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century is Neil Postman's most radical, and most commonsensical, book yet. From the Hardcover edition.
A lavishly illustrated, witty, and original look at the awesome power of the political cartoon throughout history to enrage, provoke, and amuse. As a former editor of The New York Times Magazine and the longtime editor of The Nation, Victor S. Navasky knows just how transformative—and incendiary—cartoons can be. Here Navasky guides readers through some of the greatest cartoons ever created, including those by George Grosz, David Levine, Herblock, Honoré Daumier, and Ralph Steadman. He recounts how cartoonists and caricaturists have been censored, threatened, incarcerated, and even murdered for their art, and asks what makes this art form, too often dismissed as trivial, so uniquely poised to affect our minds and our hearts. Drawing on his own encounters with would-be censors, interviews with cartoonists, and historical archives from cartoon museums across the globe, Navasky examines the political cartoon as both art and polemic over the centuries. We see afresh images most celebrated for their artistic merit (Picasso's Guernica, Goya's "Duendecitos"), images that provoked outrage (the 2008 Barry Blitt New Yorker cover, which depicted the Obamas as a Muslim and a Black Power militant fist-bumping in the Oval Office), and those that have dictated public discourse (Herblock’s defining portraits of McCarthyism, the Nazi periodical Der Stürmer’s anti-Semitic caricatures). Navasky ties together these and other superlative genre examples to reveal how political cartoons have been not only capturing the zeitgeist throughout history but shaping it as well—and how the most powerful cartoons retain the ability to shock, gall, and inspire long after their creation. Here Victor S. Navasky brilliantly illuminates the true power of one of our most enduringly vital forms of artistic expression.
In this comprehensive response to the education crisis, the author of Teaching as a Subversive Activity returns to the subject that established his reputation as one of our most insightful social critics. Postman presents useful models with which schools can restore a sense of purpose, tolerance, and a respect for learning.
Essays discuss social science, Germany, literary magazines, television commercials, education, nuclear war, conservatism, teaching, and the disappearance of childhood
The author attacks contemporary educational systems based on fear, coercion, and memorization and advocates alternative inquiry and induction methods which equip students to relate to modern realities.
Andrew Strom is an international author and speaker - as well as a bass guitarist with a long history of involvement in Christian music, video, promotion, recording, and Youth ministry. In this hard-hitting book he asks some very pointed questions about today's Christian music and Youth culture. For instance: When Christianity becomes just like the world is it still Christianity? When we feel we have to entertain and entertain in order to get people into our meetings, is Jesus still at the center? When we become desperate to be seen as "cool" or 'relevant' to the worldy culture all around us, does it affect the gospel we preach? When we feel we have to tone down the use of the word "Jesus" in our music or the word "sin" in our preaching, isn't this blatant compromise? And when our Christian Youth seem to care just as much about fashion, extreme sports, looking 'cool' and being entertained as the worldy kids around them, is it true Christianity at all? If you care about these issues and the answers to these questions, then you need to read this penetrating book.
Argues that the intrusion of television into every home introduces children too early to adult concepts and activities and subverts their ability to think abstractly, and the very concept of childhood is being destroyed
Explains how to reduce ridiculous communication so that verbal behavior will not be an excessive burden.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year The witty and exuberant New York Times bestselling author Ken Jennings relays the history of humor in “lively, insightful, and crawling with goofy factlings,” (Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go Bernadette)—from fart jokes on clay Sumerian tablets to the latest Twitter gags and Facebook memes. Where once society’s most coveted trait might have been strength or intelligence or honor, today, in a clear sign of evolution sliding off the trails, it is being funny. Yes, funniness. Consider: Super Bowl commercials don’t try to sell you anymore; they try to make you laugh. Airline safety tutorials—those terrifying laminated cards about the possibilities of fire, explosion, depressurization, and drowning—have been replaced by joke-filled videos with multimillion-dollar budgets and dance routines. Thanks to social media, we now have a whole Twitterverse of amateur comedians riffing around the world at all hours of the day—and many of them even get popular enough online to go pro and take over TV. In his “smartly structured, soundly argued, and yes—pretty darn funny” (Booklist, starred review) Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means—or doesn’t—to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python’s game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship. “Fascinating, entertaining and—I’m being dead serious here—important” (A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically), Planet Funny is a full taxonomy of what spawned and defines the modern sense of humor.
There is a war on truth. And the liars are winning. There is an increasingly large number of weapons in the arsenal of the rich, the powerful and the elected to prevent the truth from coming out — to bury it, warp it, twist it to suit their purposes. Truthteller reveals how governments and corporations have covered-up mass murder, corruption and catastrophe. In a world where Putin and Trump have successfully branded journalists as traffickers in fake news, while promoting the actual creators of fake news, an investigative reporter shows the tools that are used to deceive us and explains why they work. Using exclusive documents and interviews drawn from three decades as an award-winning reporter, editor, foreign correspondent, television producer, documentary filmmaker, and journalism educator, Stephen Davis reveals shocking details of deception in the United States, the UK, Russia, Sweden, the Baltic republics, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the Arctic and Antarctic. Truthteller is an essential guide for understanding the modern media world — for teachers, students and concerned citizens who want to know the facts, not fake news and conspiracy theories. It takes you inside the world of investigative reporting in an intimate history of a reporter’s battles, won and lost, the personal and professional costs and the lives damaged along the way.
Howard Rheingold tours the "virtual community" of online networking. Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the "virtual community" of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community—one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others. At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received online emotional support during devastating illnesses, he acknowledges a darker side to people's behavior in cyberspace. Indeed, contends Rheingold, people relate to each other online much the same as they do in physical communities. Originally published in 1993, The Virtual Community is more timely than ever. This edition contains a new chapter, in which the author revisits his ideas about online social communication now that so much more of the world's population is wired. It also contains an extended bibliography.