General overview of Chapter 11 entitled- The Huxleyan Warning.
At the beginning of Chapter 11 in Neil Postman’s book, he reminds us that there are two representations of how a culture maybe withered. He writes that a culture either becomes almost like a high security prison or a culture can become just like a mockery.
Postman then goes on to acknowledges that there are several different places that exist in the world where the totalitarianism of thought control exists. Another well-known author named George Orwell describes this in his fantastically written book ‘1984’. Postman does not see America that way…in the way that Orwell viewed America. As an alternative, Postman believes that America is actually threatened by “an enemy with a smiling face,” where “Big Brother(George Orwell’s ‘1984’) does not watch us…We watch him” (155).
In Postman’s perspective, America has moved along with an incredible way of communication to accommodate itself with the several different interferences that are brought on by television. This ends up killing the printed language (156).
The many evils that exist within television’s culture were not foreseen back when televisions were first put onto the market. Yet, Postman discovers this very unforgiveable that the world did not prepare itself to deal with the ways that television inherently changes our ways of communication. For example, people who lived during the year 1905, could not really predict that the invention of a car would not make it seem like only a luxurious invention, but also that the invention of the car would strongly affect the way we make decisions.
However, by the time that the television was invented, we as people should have known that any form of technology usually comes equipped with a type of program that promotes some sort of social change. The new media-metaphor that Postman writes about is not a neutral thing. Instead, we as citizens allow this change to happen and we also allow it to come with the implicit belief that the invention of the television was actually moving us toward a form of a utopia (157).
Key Concepts for Chapter 11
Postman goes on in the chapter to admit that he cannot offer any real solutions to this problem and he also lists those reasons. The first reason is that most people do not believe this big problem needs a cure and the second reason...