It seems almost unnecessary to state, but Media is the primary theme of Amusing Ourselves to Death. One could conceivably argue that media as a general theme is more important to the book than television itself is. Whereas the book is centered on an examination of television, Postman's major point seems to be that we must understand the way media informs our public discourse. It takes almost half of the book for him to directly address television, while the first half is focused on print and oratory based cultures. Overall, in the final chapter, his best advice for navigating the difficulties posed by television is that we must become aware of the way media informs us. The fear is that media controls us, when we should control it.
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He also argues that television is not an effective way of providing education, as it provides only passive information transfer, rather than the interaction that he believes is necessary to maximize learning. He draws on the ideas of media theorist Marshall McLuhan to argue that different media are appropriate for different kinds of knowledge, and describes how oral, literate, and televisual cultures value and transfer information in different ways. In his novel, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman describes to the reader, in detail, the immediate and future dangers of television. The argument starts out in a logical manner, explaining first the differences between today's media-driven society, and yesterday's "typographic America". Postman goes on to discuss in the second half of his book the effects of today's media, politics on television, religion on television, and finally televised educational programs. So the media tries to play us, to change our opinions by using bias information, so they can achieve we they want to happen. The messages that the director is trying to make us see are that society likes to influence us to do their bidding and the full truth will always be hidden, no matter what and the media helps them to do this.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document. Under the guise of a friendly household companion, in nearly every American living room lingers a cultural time bomb, set to detonate at the precise moment we realize we are too late. Finally, he warns of the threat presented by that medium. Television has usurped the written word as the king of conversation, and its tyrannical reign may spell devastation for our society.
Everyone needs to read this book. Nothing will do more to help cure your information addiction that the healthy dose of reality provided in these pages. Throughout history, different cities have been the representations of American culture. To Postman, that city is now Las Vegas. Religion saw how giving an image to an idea or set of ideas was problematic, thus the prohibition against it in the ten commandments.