This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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

2283 words - 9 pages

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 When faced with the question about whether the television shapes or reflects culture, Postman pointed out that it is no longer applicable because "television has gradually become our culture" (79).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 to information of any kind, except in the most trivial sense. In the course of his book, Postman proved that Huxley's prediction has come true. 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,...

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

Are We "Amusing Ourselves to Death?"

1675 words - 7 pages Ever since God breathed life into Adam, mankind has been expressing their ideas and views through different forms of communication. Starting with oral traditions and continuing to the world wide web, the evolution of communication media has shaped the thinking of man. The book Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman provides a fascinating commentary on how the cultural shift from a print-based culture to image-based culture has set humanity

Amusing Ourselves to Death: The Problem with Entertainment

1697 words - 7 pages In "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" the author Neil, Postman elaborates his ideas of television and other types of media being related culture and society. The book was written in 1985 in the 20th century when many of the technologies we have today did not exist. At the time Postman suggests that American culture, which was symbolized by Las Vegas, was "entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment

Commentary on Neil Postman´s Amusing Ourselves to Death

667 words - 3 pages More than two decades ago, an author foretold of a country that was slowly rotting away in front of hundreds of pixels that presented the attractive images that kept them coming back for more nonsense. Neil Postman wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death and brought to the public’s attention (or at least those who chose to read his book (who commonly weren't the people who needed to hear Postman’s warning)) that television has become the central point

It's Time to Stop Global Warming

1296 words - 5 pages It's Time to Stop Global Warming (Minor Formatting Problem) Global warming is cused by the "greenhouse effect". The importance of the greenhouse effect was just conceived in the mid-twentieth century. 'For billions of years, cosmic forces shaped Earth, and land and air coevolved at an almost inconceivably slow pace to create a climate in which human beings and other creatures could flourish.' (Franscesca Lyman). Now, for the first time

America, It's Time to STOP World Policing

1114 words - 4 pages be the Police Force of the World? Rarely has the United States had to defend our Nation on its on soil, however our borders are wide open to a daily invasion that is costing our country billions in unsubsidized benefits to foreigners who enter illegally. Current political think tanks are under the impression that, “Americas best hope for national security is to worry about National Security and stop trying to be everywhere all the time

It's Time To Stop School Bullying

2717 words - 11 pages educators and members of a community can do to minimize and stop bullying. According to Dan Olewus, creator of Olweus Bullying Prevention Program bullying is defined when a person is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself ( When looking at this definition of bullying it is important to notice that there are three components. The first

It's Time to STOP Banning Books

1418 words - 6 pages expressing their belief that banning books is unnecessary (Kennedy, Banned Children’s Books). Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Barbara Jones, stated that, Even though not every book will be right for every reader, the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely are core American values. Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and

It's Time to Stop Child Trafficking

2003 words - 8 pages child trafficking by we are known. Nowadays, most countries have better laws to protect their own citizens. Moreover, as time goes by, people are receiving a higher quality education and are more protected by the state and government, so it would make sense that there would be fewer criminals involved in human trafficking. However, the UNICEF website shows that “Every year, thousands of Beninese children and 1.2 million young people across the

The Internet Changes Things - An Analysis of Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

2294 words - 9 pages The Internet Has Changed ThingsAmusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman presents the effects upon a culture whose primary means of public discourse consist of a power outlet and an electronic screen. Postman illustrates the changes to public discourse brought about by the transition from a typographic medium to an electronic medium in a brilliant fashion. Dr. Postman goes on to predict what these changes can mean for the future of society. He

It's Time to Stop Drugging Our Children with Ritalin

1982 words - 8 pages everyone was doing it—It was the perfect quick fix! Professionals took advantage of this and healthcare became more of a profitable business. Averaging in just about 300 billion dollars every year (Word Health Organization) the pharmaceutical company is cashing in big time! Many insurance companies are teaming up with doctors worldwide to increase their profit and sales. Parents and patients need to realize that if a registered doctor is in contract

It's Time to Stop Waiting for Superman

1114 words - 4 pages In 1938, the brainchild of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster first appeared in Action Comics. Deemed Superman, the mythical hero was dedicated to fight for social justice and overthrow tyranny. Soon after, his iconic flashy red cape and blue tights graced the shelves of comic shops as he flew straight into the hearts and minds of fellow Americans faster than a speeding bullet. In spite of being a very foreign immigrant, Superman has

Similar Essays

Amusing Ourselves To Death Essay

2008 words - 9 pages emotions. Postman calls this time period during which the American mind submitted itself to the sovereignty of print as the Age of Exposition. Typography amplified our sophisticated, intellectual, and objective modes of thinking, as exposition defines. But, as Postman coined the “Age of Show Business”, slowly came and depleted this intellectual Age of Exposition. Transition The transition from these time periods follows right back to Postman’s main

Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death Essay

671 words - 3 pages 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

Amusing Ourselves To Death By Postman

1034 words - 5 pages Reflective Essay on Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman provides a critical analysis of the media environment in 1985. He explores the role and impact of the media by addressing different sectors of society, naming religion, politics, news, and education. Although this book was written prior to 1985, its relevance is far more evident today than ever; we are living in a nation in which entertainment is

Amusing Ourselves To Death: Short Essays

727 words - 3 pages and family when I am older to even watch TV. It is significant because this course is about American Life on TV and how we are literally amusing ourselves to death. We are so involved in entertainment we will be on death row before we know it. I think it will continue. I am hoping that it does not get to the point where we are replacing the family or neighborhood. It will be lacking socialization, majorly, face-to-face interaction. People will be involved in their electronics more than talking to their friend sitting next to them and it is sad.