Amusing Ourselves to Death: It's Time to Stop Laughing Essays

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Amusing Ourselves to Death: It's Time to Stop Laughing

The form of communication created by the television is not only a part of how our modern society communicates, but is has changed public discourse to the point that it has completely redefined it, argued Neil Postman in his convincing book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He viewed this as very harmful, and additionally so because our society is ignorant of it as they quickly becomes engulfed in its epistemology. When faced with the question about whether the television shapes or reflects culture, Postman pointed out that it is no longer applicable because "television has gradually become our culture" (79). What kind of culture is this? Postman warned that it is one in which we
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We are now in the "information age" where we demand to be informed, yet are told in such a way that we think we know so much, but in fact we are becoming increasingly ignorant.

Postman made it clear that his book is not an attack on the television itself. Instead he asserted that, supplied by the television's form, it is the change in the definition of how we learn, and thus perceive, the world around us that is under his criticism. When it comes to entertainment, Postman admitted that the television does an excellent job. "Television [...] serves us most usefully when presenting junk-entertainment; it serves us most ill when it co-opts serious modes of discourse-news, politics, science, education, commerce, religion-and turns them into entertainment packages" (159). The television does not require viewers to carry thoughts from minute to minute, and their eyes are never unstimulated, as the average duration of a camera view is a mere 3.5 seconds (86). Such brevity of thought and picture are a drastic difference from the way we used to get our information. That is, through the monopoly of the print media. Then contiguous information, uninterrupted by advertisements and thoughts not spliced into sentence-long segments, was expressed from cover to cover. Now, the kind of information (or misinformation) we are accustomed to receiving via the television set is redefining the way we receive and perceive information. It is not
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