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Television News: The Language Of Pictures A Response To Neil Postman

1109 words - 5 pages

Pictures and words are two different languages to describe daily events, some people find it more fun seeing pictures, and others find it more interesting to read words. A picture says a lot, but Postman says that a word is worth a thousand pictures.
In the article, “The Language of Pictures” (1992), Neil Postman talks about the difference between the two languages, words and pictures, comparing them and trying to prove how a word can worth a thousand pictures and how is the language of pictures viewed nowadays. He discussed how humans react towards both languages using examples such as people’s interaction with TV news, cinema, and theatre, and how each one of these three things is different than the other by capturing the audiences’ focus, showing the difference in the atmosphere of the defenseless viewer using each of the three different show ways and how it affects their attention, and how does a word mean more than a picture, inversely of what other people say about a picture is worth a thousand word. Postman proved that in an accurate way using sufficient examples to support his ideas and prove his stance, which has a great ability to convince readers and support his idea. And as one of the readers I got convinced, relating it with my personal experiences like cinema show and TV shows, Postman used realistic examples from our daily life, to help us relate with his thesis statement and convey the message in a very clear way.

A word worth a thousand pictures, one of Postman’s examples that he tried to use to prove his thesis statement and it is one of his major examples to show a difference between the two languages: the language of pictures and the language of words, furthermore he proves this example with another example, like describing the word ocean or the word nature in one picture, which can’t be done, showing the picture’s particularity and how it speaks about “a man” and not “man”, where a picture can’t mean things in general. Logically, I agree with him, he used intense examples to convince the readers, a series of pictures is needed to explain a word in some cases. A picture can show a denotative meaning of its content and not a connotative meaning, on the other hand, a word can have many denotative meanings and many connotative meanings as well, built in the whole connotative meaning of the sentence, and also a denotative meaning depending on the denotative meaning of the whole sentence, especially when it comes to romantic things, which hold lots of meanings that cannot be described even in a couple of pictures, but words can easily do.
Usually pictures showing disasters or things that result in the death of people attract the viewers’ attention, as Postman said, “When something is destroyed violently it is altered in highly visible way; the entrancing power of fire” (1992, P.253). Because action usually attracts the attention of a viewer making him totally into the events, this will result in taking the viewer to a different...

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