Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Amusing ourselves to death

When news and entertainment collide ...

  • Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Important book published in 1985
  • The book is growing in relevance as time goes on.
Here's an excerpt from Postman's book. See if Postman's assertions hold true, over 20 years later:

…we will become a trivial people, incapable of coping with complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty, perhaps even reality. We will become, in a phrase, a people amused into stupidity.

Television has become the command center of our culture. The light entertainment is not the problem. The least dangerous things on television are its junk.

On television all subject matter is presented as entertaining. And that is how television brings ruin to any intelligent understanding of public affairs.

How serious can a bombing in Lebanon be if it is shown to us prefaced by a happy United Airlines commercial and summarized by a Calvin Klein jeans commercial? When newscasters say, “Now…this,” they mean to indicate that what you have just heard or seen has no relevance to what you are about to hear.

When a people become, in short, an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then…a nation finds itself at risk and culture-death is a clear possibility.

Keep these thoughts in mind as we examine the treatment of Sarah Palin in the news and entertainment industries: