Analysis of Niel Postman's "Amusing ourselves to death" )Only the first five chapters!).

Essay by willycontroCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2003

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William Contro Contro 1

Professor Logsdon

Critical Thinking


The Medium is the Metaphor

In Neil Postman's book, "Amusing Ourselves to Death," Postman begins with the argument that the medium is the metaphor. By this, he means that mediums such as the printing press or television have a strong direct influence on our society. Surprisingly, I completely agree with this statement. Not only do these mediums effect how we communicate, but they also have an impact on the content of our culture.

In the eighteenth century, public discourse was much different than it is today. That is mainly due to the shift from one medium to another. America's founding fathers were intelligent and exceptionally literate. When the printing press was developed it caused reading and writing to become the main form of communication, because it was the only medium available. This written material demands a lot out of a reader including a long attention span and the ability to interpret what the author is saying.

At the time it was normal for ordinary people to read books of all sorts no matter who you were or what your status was in society. The people of this age had extremely long attention spans and enjoyed reading much more than I can comprehend. Personally, I have only read two books in my entire life mainly due to the fact that I can't sit still for more than twenty minutes. The printed word is just so boring compared to all of the mediums out there today.

Contro 2

Unlike today's society, a person's intelligence was graded on how well they could read and write. This is mainly due to the fact that public discourse was extremely formal and it encouraged logical thinking. In today's culture, most of the printed word...