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

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

Length: 2256 words (6.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 When faced with the question about whether the television shapes or reflects culture, Postman pointed out that it is no longer applicable because "television has gradually become our culture" (79).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 are instructed and informed through the form of entertainment, and that through such a medium, we are becoming dulled, ignorant of real issues, and amused right into a very possible culture death. Today, sixteen years after the book's publication, he would probably have a similar message (though possibly more passionate) to say about our present culture, especially in the areas of education and the nightly news, which have grown progressively worse.

 

Taking two authors, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, he compared their views about the future of information. Orwell's view was that we would be overcome by a controlling force and books would be banned, leaving us without proper information or instruction. Huxley, on the other hand, suggested that the squelching of information would not be the problem. Instead, it would be the voluminous mass flooding our culture that would make us ignorant. We would have so much to choose from, both useful and worthless, that we would become indifferent t...


... middle of paper ...


...information invades the living room, they wonder why they are being tricked and mislead. Or worse, they do not even realize it. We are not a culture known for its thinking. Perhaps we are best known for our entertainment. Only when we divide these two realms will we become more accurate informed. Neil Postman, comparing Orwell and Huxley's theories, said, "[Our threat of being deprived of proper information] does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours" (155). His point was that by our own choosing, we are being misinformed. In our "information age" we have intelligent books, newspapers, magazines, and other information sources that have not been greatly affected by the television culture. We just need to stop laughing and seek to be properly informed.

 



Works Cited:

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich Essays

- Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich I related readily with Ivan Ilyich, the main character in Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. There was a time when I myself lived my life without regard to the spirituality of life. I, however, was very lucky in that it did not take death looming over my head to realize this. Maybe the fact that my bout of depression’s onset happened sooner in life allowed me to see it sooner. Eric Simpson put it best as “We all die, like Ilyich, and if we only live to live, to create and carve our own meaning into the universe, then life itself becomes ultimately meaningless and painfully insignificant.” The key point here is the “painfully insignific...   [tags: Leo Tolstoy Death Ivan Ilyich Essays]

Powerful Essays
843 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Truth Exposed in Amusing Ourselves to Death

- Truth Exposed in Amusing Ourselves to Death   Neil Postman is deeply worried about what technology can do to a culture or, more importantly, what technology can undo in a culture.  In the case of television, Postman believes that, by happily surrendering ourselves to it, Americans are losing the ability to conduct and participate in meaningful, rational public discourse and public affairs.  Or, to put it another way, TV is undoing public discourse and, as the title of his book Amusing Ourselves to Death suggests, we are willing accomplices....   [tags: Postman Amusing Ourselves to Death Essays]

Powerful Essays
1507 words (4.3 pages)

Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death Essay

- Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death I have just read Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. Postman states that the age of typography has been replaced by the age of television. This has changed the way we look at the world and the way we think, which in turn has almost made us less intelligent. Postman speaks his opinions freely, and really gives the reader a new perspective on media, and the effect it has on society. To often we think nothing of what we see and read in the media, but after reading this book you see things a lot differently....   [tags: Amusing Ourselves Death Neil Postmas Essays]

Powerful Essays
672 words (1.9 pages)

Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death Essay

- Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” is a remarkable masterpiece that exercises thought between the known and the unknown. In Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop Death,” there is much impression in the tone, in symbols and in the use of imagery that over flow with creativity. One might undoubtedly agree to an eerie, haunting, if not frightening, tone and use of symbolism in Dickinson’s poem. Dickinson uses controlling adjectives –“slowly” and “passed” – to create a tone that seems rather placid....   [tags: Because I Could Not Stop for Death]

Powerful Essays
724 words (2.1 pages)

Because I could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson Essay

- Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830. Except for a few months of travel, she remained in Amherst until her death. Dickinson began, in her twenties, a gradual retreat into the confines of the homestead, the house in which she was born, until for the last fifteen years of her life she didn't leave its grounds and saw no one but her brother and sister. As her withdrawal intensified, Emily's principal method of communication was through her letters. Emily Dickinson died on May 15, 1886 after an illness....   [tags: Because I could Not Stop for Death]

Powerful Essays
1269 words (3.6 pages)

Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death Essay

- Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" In Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death “ (448), the speaker of the poem is a woman who relates about a situation after her death. The speaker personifies death as a polite and considerate gentleman who takes her in a carriage for a romantic journey; however, at the end of this poem, she finishes her expedition realizing that she has died many years ago. The poem contains six quatrains, and does not follow any consistent rhyme scheme....   [tags: Emily Dickinson Stop Death Essays]

Powerful Essays
850 words (2.4 pages)

Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop For Death Essay

- Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” is a remarkable masterpiece that exercises thought between the known and the unknown. Critics call Emily Dickinson’s poem a masterpiece with strange “haunting power.” In Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for Death,” there is much impression in the tone, in symbols, and in the use of imagery that exudes creativity. One might undoubtedly agree to an eerie, haunting, if not frightening, tone in Dickinson’s poem. Dickinson uses controlling adjectives—“slowly” and “passed”—to create a tone that seems rather placid....   [tags: Because I could not stop for Death]

Powerful Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

It's Time to Stop the Commerce in Death Essay examples

- It's Time to Stop the Commerce in Death   One of the symptoms of a society in the grips of moral crisis is a tendency to refer to reprehensible acts by soft-sounding euphemisms, by names that do not directly excite human qualms or agitate scruples and that evade precise reflection on the reality of certain situations. For example, in our modern lexicon, abortion is called "freedom of choice," sexual libertinage is dubbed "alternative lifestyles," and certain forms of genocide-in-slow-motion can be made to seem more acceptable under the name "family planning."   Such are the mental tricks and the "word magic" employed to quiet the normal functioning of our consciences....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Free Essays
3330 words (9.5 pages)

Essay about Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death

- Amusing Ourselves to Death; Mediums, Friend or Foe. Electronic media is inferior to print media due to the fact that electronic media can be bias, selective, and evasive for the purpose of entertainment. Electronic media serves as a form of entertainment with a main goal of serving their ratings rather than serving the people. It would seem that Postman would agree with this theory since he describes electronic media as a form of entertainment rather than a reliable source of information and facts in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Powerful Essays
1170 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Postman's Amusing Ourself to Death

- The "peek-a-boo" world of television has had a disastrous effect on the culture of the typographic mind. Neil Postman in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death explains how the "peek-a-boo" world of television has impacted modern discourse. The typographic mind is that of a print based culture. The people in such a culture tend to speak in paragraph format and use proper grammar; they organize thoughts in a way that resembles a book. This is due to the fact that people were used to reading and therefore used to long periods of concentration, which allowed for long discussions....   [tags: Ethics]

Free Essays
346 words (1 pages)