What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever. "It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. 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 media, so that they can serve our highest goals. “A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
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. [...]
"Media, technology, culture, television, new media, media ecology, public discourse" --
How to Watch TV News
Author: Neil Postman, Steve Powers
Publisher: Paw Prints
A scathing and prescient look at television newsÂ-now updated for the new tech-savvy generation Television news : genuine information or entertainment fodder? Fifteen years ago, Neil Postman, a pioneer in media education and author of the bestselling Amusing Ourselves to Death, and Steve Powers, an award-winning broadcast journalist, concluded that anyone who relies exclusively on their television for accurate world news is making a big mistake. A cash cow laden with money from advertisers, so-called news shows glut viewers with celebrity coverage at the cost of things they really should know. Today, this message is still appallingly true but the problems have multipliedÂ- along with the power of the Internet and the abundance of cable channels. A must-read for anyone concerned with the way media is manipulating our worldview, this newly revised edition addresses the evolving technology and devolving quality of AmericaÂ's television news programming.
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.
From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today−and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood. Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman, author of Technopoly, suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into poprular entertainment and pitches both news and advertising at the intellectual level of ten-year-olds. Informative, alarming, and aphorisitc, The Disappearance of Childhood is a triumph of history and prophecy.
The End of Education
Author: Neil Postman
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.
A no-holds-barred assault on outdated teaching methods--with dramatic and practical proposals on how education can be made relevant to today's world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Neil Postman
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.
In a series of feisty and ultimately hopeful essays, one of America's sharpest social critics casts a shrewd eye over contemporary culture to reveal the worst -- and the best -- of our habits of discourse, tendencies in education, and obsessions with technological novelty. Readers will find themselves rethinking many of their bedrock assumptions: Should education transmit culture or defend us against it? Is technological innovation progress or a peculiarly American addiction? When everyone watches the same television programs -- and television producers don't discriminate between the audiences for Sesame Street and Dynasty -- is childhood anything more than a sentimental concept? Writing in the traditions of Orwell and H.L. Mencken, Neil Postman sends shock waves of wit and critical intelligence through the cultural wasteland. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
For when you really have to get your point across… *Expanded and Revised: Including new chapters on leadership, Obama’s oratorical mastery, the pitfalls of apologies—and an “Argument Lab” section to put your new skills to the test.* Thank You for Arguing is your master class in the art of persuasion, taught by professors ranging from Bart Simpson to Winston Churchill. The time-tested secrets this book discloses include Cicero’s three-step strategy for moving an audience to action—as well as Honest Abe’s Shameless Trick of lowering an audience’s expectations by pretending to be unpolished. But it’s also replete with contemporary techniques such as politicians’ use of “code” language to appeal to specific groups and an eye-opening assortment of popular-culture dodges—including The Yoda Technique, The Belushi Paradigm, and The Eddie Haskell Ploy. Whether you’re an inveterate lover of language books or just want to win a lot more anger-free arguments on the page, at the podium, or over a beer, Thank You for Arguing is for you. Written by one of today’s most popular language mavens, it’s warm, witty, erudite, and truly enlightening. It not only teaches you how to recognize a paralipsis and a chiasmus when you hear them, but also how to wield such handy and persuasive weapons the next time you really, really want to get your own way.
The Age of Television
Author: Milly Buonanno
Publisher: Intellect Books
Analyses the impact of television on daily life, focusing on both the concepts and theories of the medium. This book also analyzes the way in which televised entertainment has radically altered human perceptions of place and time, multiplied opportunities for indirect social experience, and fueled the collective imagination.
Read Any Good Books?
Author: Sinclair B. Ferguson
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Advice on the best books and how to set about reading them.
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.