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Neil Postman's book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" assesses the effectiveness of the use of print and visual media. The book begins by arguing that Aldous Huxley's vision in "Brave New World" is one that requires more attention because the author predicted that the world's destruction would be based on what people love most. The thesis of this article's work is that television and visual media channels have influenced the level of public communications in today's world (Postman, 1985). The purpose of this research is to test the validity of Dr. Postman's thesis in relations to the media by analyzing and comparing the phrases 'watching is believing' and 'reading is believing.' The achievement if the analysis will be from the novel 'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice and the 1994 film adapted from the novel starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
Postman argues that the contemporary world is made up of individuals who love leisure, laughter, and entertainment provided by biased communication channels which ultimately alter the truth. To determine the truth behind Postman's thesis, I read 'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice then viewed the 1994 film adapted from the novel starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Watching the movie was more interesting while reading the book described incidences in details. The book seemed to convey the intended message in more information and clearer compared to the video. Even though the movie paints a perfect picture of activities, the novel leaves the readers to have full imaginations while creating images of the scenes.
Given the fact that I support Dr. Postman's thesis that argues that printed data is more efficient in delivering information compared to television, I started by reading the novel written by Rice then afterward watched the film adapted from the book. I had read the book on several occasions hence I went straight to read the scene describing the how Louis fed off plague-ridden young girl whom he had found next to her mother. Rice give a detailed description of the site and how turning the girl into a vampire was an effective way Lestat used in making Louis stay (Rice, 1976). This scene had included the thinking process of both Lestat and Louis. Initially, I had assumed that the book gave more details of the scene compared to films (Geffen, Woolley and Jordan, 1994). Moreover, I expected that the setting of the site in the movie and the series would be similar. I expected that the characters would be similar to their description in the novel but however, they would naturally not fit my exact imagination.
From the analysis of the two sources of data, it was evident that film made it easier to understand activities in a scene as it has an immediate and more direct relationship with events being described. Moreover, sounds in the movies also enhance the viewer's understanding of a scene. However, the film failed to explain people's inner thoughts and worlds. The camera only has the capability of shown the surface and hence has to adopt other methods to express the feelings of individuals. Readers and viewers, therefore, have different experiences in one story. When it comes to narration, the film was only able to show the story while the novel told the story in details, step by step.
In conclusion, I have endorsed Dr. Postman's thesis after reading the book and watching the film on 'Interview with the Vampire.' From is reading the book, I could relate to the narrator's experiences behind the scenes, one after the other. However, when it came to filming, factor such as the directors' and producers' choices could easily influence my mood regarding the scenes. Therefore, television and visual media have impacted the quality of communication in the contemporary world communication.
Geffen, D., Woolley, S. (Producers), & Jordan, N. (Director). (1994). Interview with the Vampire. United States: Geffen Pictures.
Postman, N. (1985). Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Rice, A. (1976). Interview with the Vampire. Knopf, USA.
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