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

Neil Postman

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

Neil Postman

$36.99

Paperback
Television has habituated us to visual entertainment measured out in spoonfuls of time. But what happens when we come to expect the same things from our politics and public discourse? What happens to journalism, education, and religion when they too become forms of show business? Twenty years ago, Neil Postman's lively polemic was the first book to consider the way that electronic media were reshaping our culture. Now, with TV joined by the Internet, cell phones, cable, and DVDs, Amusing Ourselves to Death carries even greater significance. Elegant, incisive, and terrifically readable, it's a compelling take on our addiction to entertainment. Book jacket.

- Publisher The prophetic landmark work exploring the corrosive effects of electronic media on a democratic society
Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs it has taken on even greater significance.
Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining controlof our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

- Publisher

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

Television has habituated us to visual entertainment measured out in spoonfuls of time. But what happens when we come to expect the same things from our politics and public discourse? What happens to journalism, education, and religion when they too become forms of show business? Twenty years ago, Neil Postman's lively polemic was the first book to consider the way that electronic media were reshaping our culture. Now, with TV joined by the Internet, cell phones, cable, and DVDs, Amusing Ourselves to Death carries even greater significance. Elegant, incisive, and terrifically readable, it's a compelling take on our addiction to entertainment. Book jacket.
- Publisher

The prophetic landmark work exploring the corrosive effects of electronic media on a democratic society
Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs it has taken on even greater significance.
Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining controlof our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

- Publisher

Meet the Author

Neil Postman

Neil Postman was chairman of the department of communication arts at New York University. He passed away in 2003. Steve Powers is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with more than forty-five years experience in broadcast news.

Table Of Contents

  • :introduction
    part I
    1. The Medium Is The Metaphor
    2. Media As Epistemology
    3. Typographic America
    4. The Typographic Mind
    5. The Peek-a-boo World
    part Ii
    6. The Age Of Show Business
    7. "now...this"
    8. Shuffle Off To Bethlehem
    9. Reach Out And Elect Someone
    10. Teaching As An Amusing Activity
    11. The Huxleyan Warning
    notes
    bibliography
    index

Excerpt

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

:

Table of Contents

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Title Page

Copyright Page

Introduction

Foreword

 

Part I.

Chapter 1. - The Medium Is the Metaphor

Chapter 2. - Media as Epistemology

Chapter 3. - Typographic America

Chapter 4. - The Typographic Mind

Chapter 5. - The Peek-a-Boo World

 

Part II.

Chapter 6. - The Age of Show Business

Chapter 7. - “Now ... This”

Chapter 8. - Shuffle Off to Bethlehem

Chapter 9. - Reach Out and Elect Someone

Chapter 10. - Teaching as an Amusing Activity

Chapter 11. - The Huxleyan Warning

 

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Acclaim for Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death

“As a fervent evangelist of the age of Hollywood, I publicly opposed Neil Postman’s dark picture of our media-saturated future. But time has proved Postman right. He accurately foresaw that the young would inherit a frantically all-consuming media culture of glitz, gossip, and greed.”

—Camille Paglia

 

“A brillant, powerful and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.”

—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

 

“He starts where Marshall McLuhan left off, constructing his arguments with the resources of a scholar and the wit of a raconteur.”

—The Christian Science Monitor

 

“This comes along at exactly the right moment.... We must confront the challenge of his prophetic vision.”

—Jonathan Kozol

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

For the last third of the twentieth century, Neil Postman was one of America’s foremost social critics and education and communications theorists, and his ideas and accessibility won him an international following. An influential and revered teacher, he was professor for more than forty years at New York University, where he founded the renowned Media Ecology program. Blessed with an unusually far-reaching mind, he authored more than twenty books, producing major works on education (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, The End of Education), childhood (The Disappearance of Childhood), language (Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk), news (How to Watch TV News, with Steve Powers) and technology’s impact on culture (Technopoly). Amusing Ourselves to Death remains his most reverberating and widely read book, translated into more than a dozen languages. He was educated at the State University of New York at Fredonia and Columbia University. He died in October 2003, at the age of seventy-two.

 

Andrew Postman, Neil’s son, is the author of five books, including the novel Now I Know Everything. For several years he was a monthly columnist for Glamour and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and New York Magazine, among numerous publications.

PENGUIN BOOKS
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England

 

First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin Inc. 1985
Published in Penguin Books 1986
This edition with an introduction by Andrew Postman published 2006

 

 

Copyright © Neil Postman, 1985

Introduction copyright © Andrew Postman, 2005
All rights reserved

 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to The New York Times Company for permission to reprint from “Combining TV, Books, Computers” by Edward Fiske, which appeared in the August 7, 1984 issue of The New York Times. Copyright © 1984 by The New York Times Company.

 

A section of this book was supported by a commission from the Annenberg Scholars Program, Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California. Specifically, portions of chapters six and seven formed part of a paper delivered at the Scholars Conference, “Creating Meaning: Literacies of our Time,” February 1984.

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-04262-5

 

 

 

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Introduction to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Now this?

A book of social commentary published twenty years ago? You’re not busy enough writing e-mails, returning calls, downloading tunes, playing games (online, PlayStation, Game Boy), checking out Web sites, sending text messages, IM’ing, Tivoing, watching what you’ve Tivoed, browsing through magazines and newspapers, reading new books—now you’ve got to stop and read a book that first appeared in the last century, not to mention the last millennium? Come on. Like your outlook on today could seriously be rocked by this plain-spoken provocation about The World of 1985, a world yet to be infiltrated by the Internet, cell phones, PDAs, cable channels by the hundreds, DVDs, call-waiting, caller ID, blogs, flat-screens, HDTV, and iPods? Is it really plausible that this slim volume, with its once-urgent premonitions about the nuanced and deep-seated perils of television, could feel timely today, the Age of Computers ? Is it really plausible that this book about how TV is turning all public life (education, religion, politics, journalism) into entertainment; how the image is undermining other forms of communication, particularly the written word; and how our bottomless appetite for TV will make content so abundantly available, context be damned, that we’ll be overwhelmed by “information glut” until what is truly meaningful is lost and we no longer care what we’ve lost as long as we’re being amused.... Can such a book possibly have relevance to you and The World of 2006 and beyond?

I think you’ve answered your own question.

Customer Reviews For "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business"

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A "must-read" for all Christian ministers!
5 stars By Greg, Nov 05 2010
Though not written from a specifically Christian perspective (though a number of chapters discuss aspects of the modern church), this book thoroughly debunks the popular mantra: "Our message does not change: our way of communicating it must change!". Methodology greatly influences the message! Not just "must-read" for all ministers - but for all modern Western Christians!
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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 273892
  • Product Code 014303653X
  • EAN 9780143036531
  • Pages 208
  • Department Academic
  • Category Christian Worldview
  • Sub-Category Media/culture
  • Publisher Penguin Books Usa
  • Publication Date Dec 2005
  • Sales Rank #18041
  • Dimensions 197 x 127 x 13 mm
  • Weight 0.158kg

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