Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

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Penguin, 2006 - Social Science - 184 pages
Television has conditioned us to tolerate visually entertaining material measured out in spoonfuls of time, to the detriment of rational public discourse and reasoned public affairs. In this eloquent, persuasive book, Neil Postman alerts us to the real and present dangers of this state of affairs, and offers compelling suggestions as to how to withstand the media onslaught. Before we hand over politics, education, religion, and journalism to the show business demands of the television age, we must recognize the ways in which the media shape our lives and the ways we can, in turn, shape them to serve out highest goals.

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Contents

The Medium Is the Metaphor
3
Media as Epistemology
16
Typographic America
30
The Typographic Mind
44
The PeekaBoo World
64
The Age of Show Business
83
Now
99
Shuffle Off to Bethlehem
114
Reach Out and Elect Someone
125
Teaching as an Amusing Activity
142
The Huxleyan Warning
155
Notes
165
Bibliography
173
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About the author (2006)

Neil Postman (1931–2003) was chairman of the Department of Communication Arts at New York University and founder of its Media Ecology program. He wrote more than twenty books.

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