Amusing Ourselves to Death

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In his book, Neil Postman describes how people's perceptions of ideas have changed and how they now prefer visual over written forms of communication as their passion for entertainment has increased. (Postman 65). According to him, the presentation of important problems in people's lives is thus dominated by people's desire to watch rather than read, which is satisfied when the media makes everything seem more like entertainment. Television has been most responsible for altering the meaning and content of public events, making it the message but not the message. (Postman 4). When the book was written in 1984, it was a foretelling of the future times, where people would offer their rights to others unknowingly as a substitute of entertainment (Postman xiv). At that point, the citizens knew the democracy, therefore, had no restriction on the access of information. The content and contexts of the constitution had been disposed to the public; therefore, the citizens were able to share the matters in the government which they had control over (Postman 57). However, the television which is a medium of information transfer, operate under the influence of the joint forces of the state which restrain the public from some information (Postman 139). What happens is that the gravity of the information being eliminated and instead presented in a shallow and sieved form which would not be the case for the written information since once it is conveyed in that way, it becomes hard to customize or manipulate. The television has influenced the American curiosity of the origin and the nature of information (Postman 6). It has driven people to believe in the visual appearance instead of documented information saying that this has made us become “sillier by the minute” but he clarifies that the problem was the form of conversation of the public (Postman 24).

Postman flashes back to the era where America was eclipsed by the religious and political speeches and prints in a paper. He characterizes that error of mind as sequential thinkers, conceptual, reasoning, and deductive and those who valued the quality and not quantity. He says that these conditions gradually disappeared after the launching of telegraphing. The new minds embraced the trivial information (Postman 65). They developed the idea that they could believe more on what they saw that reading. Further, Postman describes the consequences of telegraph introduction as transforming the nature to “Peek-A-Boo World” where episodes appear and disappear without the public demand for the essence but entertainment (Postman 77). Postman analyses the America’s show business era where visual impression matters more than their main agenda. He associates the current society as the one that perceives the world as separable into small episodes when he quotes, “Now…This” which was less than making the world a global village (Postman 99). Considering spiritual programs on the television, the ministers of the gospel tend to sermon more about themselves than the Bible with the intention of grasping a huge followership and not to pass the information as it is in the holy Bible (Postman 138). Many politicians televise their views for the media would champion image promotion than the discerning for the capability of the candidate (Postman 126). Postman points out that even the presentation of the curriculum in the classroom, entertainment is not left behind. In place of the traditional teaching ways, the curriculum has been reshaped to merge education and entertainment (Postman 143). Postman unveils the media influence the choice of people when they advertise. Instead, people should be allowed to make their own investigations (Postman 58).

Postman covers how the religion, politics news, education, and business have transformed from the key goals and adopted new forms far from the purposes. Postman ended up narrating how the politics, news, religion and education among other public interests have been transformed into a familiar expression of “show business” without the consent or acknowledgment of anybody (Postman 58). After reading the book, the viewers will yearn to remain conscious of the media presentations and the message behind it.

Works cited:

Postman, Neil. “AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH.” Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 10th Universally Edition, 1985, pp. 1-165. Web.

June 26, 2023


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