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really goot, taught me a lot about the tv and the way that tv shocks our life.

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"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one."
Neil Postman, Amusing
Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, (Penguin Books, 1986, 2005), p. xix.
http://archivalqualitycommunication.blogspot.com/
 

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Neil Postman is an extreme critic against television and its epistemology that differs from the typical typographic mind of modernity. In the first part, he successfully argues that the medium influences the message. However, this is no novelty: philosophy is better written in books than with emails, a dictionary of foreign words is easier produced on a book than a telegraph. Additionally, his analysis of the typographic mind of America seems extreme. Postman is blunt: before television America had the greatest mind, after television America has a shallow mind that just wants to be entertained. While the entertainment industry has undoubtedly shaped epistemology, it seems that more factors should be taken into consideration to analyze one's mind. Logic and reading are only one aspect of intelligence. One can argue that visual, musical, environmental types of learning can be as good as other forms. What seems to have changed might be people's desire to be entertained more often than they used to be, because entertainment is everywhere. In the second part, it seems flabbergasting that a media theorist and cultural critic is unable to find anything positive about television. One might feel that he just dislikes any means of communication that differs from print (i.e. television, photography, telegraphy, smoke signals). It seems that Postman is nostalgic for modernity. He critiques postmodernity, where epistemology is more fragmented, and one's mind is more visual than typographic. However, to be fair to Postman, his analysis of how entertainment has affected public discourse is enlightening. It is indeed a new type of communication that has monopolized the public discourse, and one needs to be aware of the medium being used to communicate a message, because, as we know, the medium influences our epistemology.
Positively, the way he contrasts Huxley and Orwell's fear of an oppressive society is fascinating. He states, "There are two ways the spirit of culture may be shriveled. In the first -the Orwellian -culture becomes a prison. In the second -the Huxleyan -culture becomes a burlesque" (155). It seems that those two opposite types of oppression could meet in their extremes. Especially when technological media has been so prosperous, it is easy to think of a society that would use the information and entertainment produced by this technological media to control and oppress its people, without them even being aware that their freedom has been taken away. Reading this book made me understand how the shift from modernity to postmodernity might have taken place within the media. Postman made me realize that to understand the media helps to understand how a society thinks and functions.
Negatively, I think that Postman gives the print too much credit. The print is not the only resource for one to improve her mind. Additionally, print has brought some negative consequences to the mind. One does not need to use and improve her ability to remember if she can always write down information. Postman needs to realize that books are not the primary way of communicating information now. Therefore, instead of rejecting this new media, it seems that I should explore how I could use it the best way I can for my purposes.
 

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READ JULY 2001

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