Analysis of Neil Postman's 'Amusing Ourselves to Death'

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'Liking' Form and Function It would be easy to dismiss Neil Postman as just a grumpy old man complaining about what those young whippersnappers are up to while his generation is upholding the values of civilization, the last vanguard against the Huns. Except for the fact that he was right: Modern technologies have allowed individuals to withdraw into themselves, to avoid engaging in public discourse. This imperils democracy, according to Postman, along with a number of other social critics of the last several decades. But at least as problematic (even as perilous), according to Postman, is the fact that many modern technologies and the social habits that accompany them, discourage any inner dialogue as well so that both private and public lives are silenced to any meaningful content. Or at least this is an arguable point: Whether or not it is true or the extent to which it is true is (arguably again) dependent on the form of the technology as well as when it appeared in the life of the individual. Television had a certain magical quality to it when it was first introduced: It had the power to entrance those who gathered around it in suburban living rooms. This was equally true of the range of computer-based technologies. However, and this is in large measure true of all technologies, as the virtual world has surrounded us in more and more layers, at least some of us have become more adept at using technologies like Facebook without ceding our ability to be critical about
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