Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Part I. Bibliography: p. Includes index. GradeSaver, 24 March 2013 Web. Chapter 1. 32. Explain how the television commercial has affected commerce itself. What he means by this is that the influx of information is creating a sea of irrelevant information, making it difficult for Americans to tell what's true. He suggests that our "media-metaphors classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, color it, argue a case for the what the world is like" (10). What is the relationship between the forms of communication and the quality of the culture? Secondly, it made appearance more relevant in our culture. Postman says that this can undermine political discourse because corporate "does everything possible to encourage us to watch continuously"(141) and "in America, we are never denied the opportunity to amuse ourselves"(141). Summarize what he means here. In what ways is it not relevant? No matter how grave, serious, or potentially relevant a story is, the discourse of news tells us that it should not be belabored, which it does by transitioning immediately to something unrelated. Instead, information was delivered as typically sensational, and with the understanding that one headline would soon be displaced by another. Postman claims that this makes people "believe that all political problems have fast solutions through simple measures"(131). No longer did man rely on nature and seasons, but instead "seconds and minutes" (Postman 11). He states that "the epistemological shift I have intimated, and will describe in detail, has not yet included (and perhaps never will include) everyone and everything" (27). What does he mean by 'exposition'? It has allowed many to start personal blogs, which use language and propositions, and many websites are indeed text-based. Another point Postman claims in chapter 7 is that Americans are confused on what it means to be well informed. Start studying Understanding the Culture - Chapter 7 Study Guide. He claims that this familiarity has made many American accept the incoherence of entertainment television, and victims to its illusion of truth. “Amusing Ourselves to Death” Foreword, Chapter 1 and 2 Summarized In Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death", he suggests that our society has become dependent on gathering our information from media and we are becoming powerless. In what two ways has the television commercial become the chief instrument in creating modern methods of presenting political ideas? As such, our discourse both on and off the screen has turned into different shades of entertainment, no matter how important that discourse is. his father "asked such good questions that they can be asked of non-television things, of all sorts of transforming developments and events that have happened since 1985, and since his death, and of things still unformed, for generations to come" (Postman xv), "is an inquiry into and a lamentation about the most significant American cultural fact of the second half of the twentieth century: the decline of the Age of Typography and the ascendancy of the Age of Television" (Page 8). However, he makes implications that touch on decades of thought, suggesting that there are parties – government and the monied interests of society – that can benefit from keeping the public diverted by non-stop entertainment. Religion is but one entertainment soon to be replaced by politics soon to be replaced by sports, and so none of those are meant to be truly profound. Why do you think that TV showbiz took over typography as the dominant medium? What effect does this have on the way we see solutions to political problems? How does Postmans allusions in Chapter one create meaning and persuade the audience to believe that his argument is probable? ... Amusing Ourselves to Death Questions and Answers. people were no longer limited to local ideas and knowledge and had the opportunity to explore ideas written by someone halfway across the country. To speak without the use of rhetoric meant to speak "without proper emphasis or appropriate passion" (23) and could be seen as random and without direction. In Ch. And the forms of communication and the content? By stating this, Andrew Postman claims support to "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and its ongoing relevance in today's world. However, if one were inclined, one could suggest that the Internet has somewhat returned us to a print-based culture. This is an important detail to consider when trying to understand Postman's lesson. The forms of communication will affect the content. The concept of decontextualized news – the "Now…this" mentality – is doubly true on the Internet, where one can gather triple the amount of information his or her parents could in half the time and yet not necessarily have any context in which to understand that information. These strategies can only be used because of the television. He says that "every technology has an inherent bias". This summary is readily available in the study guide for this unit and has all the information you need to formulate... Chapter Three, Amusing Ourselves to Death. ... Chapter Three, Amusing Ourselves to Death . In what ways does the television commercial address itself to the psychological needs of the viewer? 8? Foreward Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Themes All Themes Form and Content Typography vs. People thereby grew accustomed to information as something soon to be forgotten in favor of something else. How did the era of the written word influence the discourse in Typographic America, according to Postman? He defines rational as something that puts forth a proposition that the reader or audience can logically understand and then judge as true or false. Without a medium, certain content would fail to exist. 7. 29. As Andrew Postman notes in his introduction to the 20th anniversary edition of his father's book, there are some younger students who criticize the book as relevant only to an older generation. "is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right" (Postman xx). By listing these three points, Postman is able to clarify what exactly he is arguing, and what he is not. He applauded almost all of the prerequisites leading to the discussion, such as there being no commercial breaks and no background music. Amusing Ourselves to Death”, I believe is the ideal title for not only Neil Postman’s book but his over all premise of technology as a whole.In my essay about Postman’s 1992 article in Tecnos, I am going to take the approach of arguing on the side that goes in opposition to his beliefs. ... Chapter 10 – Teaching as an Amusing Activity. How does this help him clarify his thesis? Instead, he seems to think that civilization is somewhat powerless before its media-metaphor, especially when that civilization does not understand the way that media works to shape our discourse. This restricts our freedom to 'relevant' information. The point Postman is trying to create is that a technology is "merely a machine"(84). However, one could argue that the increased audience does justify the compromises by suggesting that people are not typically inclined to pursue intellectual or spiritual outlets on their own. Chapter Summary for Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, part 2 chapter 10 summary. Therefore, the religious experience cannot be truly communicated through television, and so the larger audience is not getting a real spiritual experience. In other words, media can change how a culture views things. He claims that typography, or the written form, was the medium most influenced by the idea of exposition. He begins chapter four by telling the story of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. As a children's game, peek-a-boo involves revealing a silly face or image, and then taking it away immediately to be replaced with another. Amusing Ourselves to Death study guide contains a biography of Neil Postman, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Chapter 2 – Media as Epistemology. What does he mean by resonance in this context? Postman describes our culture as a this because of our constant need to be entertained by new knowledge, only for that information to vanish once it becomes "old". Generations of Americans have grown up with TV's, so we have become familiar with them. His first point is that he is not trying to prove that media causes people to become less intelligent. As such, the value of silence and emptiness has declined in the face of the over-stimulation suggested by the media-metaphor of the Internet. The . In the context of Amusing Ourselves to Death, he believes that media "has the power to become implicated in our concepts of piety, or goodness, or beauty"(18). Even with the build up, Postman was unsatisfied. Questions: Chapters 1-5 How do "Smoke Signals" fit into this discussion? Commercials are short. Both to increase profits from products, and to keep the public from demanding change, these entities might encourage the discourse introduced by television, rather than merely letting television take its own path. What is the bias of television? Discussion Questions on Amusing Ourselves to Death by Postman, chapter 11 Students must create and answer 6 discussion questions that are related to the following fundamental assumptions: 1. It only dictates. Postman seems to deliberately avoid placing the blame for the problems he details on any particular parties. People, he claims, subscribed to a discourse of language, which was important for the message it delivered, and not for the entertainment value inherent in the words. He claims that "no matter what is depicted"(87), anything delivered by television will be seen as entertainment, or solely "for our amusement and pleasure" (87). Other works by Neil Postman: Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk (1976) The End of Education (1995) Table of Contents: Foreword. In what ways is it not relevant? Greece? That is the point he is trying to make. Instant downloads of all 1391 LitChart PDFs (including Amusing Ourselves to Death). Postman presents the idea that every civilization's “conversation” is hindered by the jaundice of the media it utilizes. Postman argues that in mid-nineteenth century America, the intersection of telegraphy and photography led to a world in which information was delivered without context and without any pretense of inspiring contemplation. Postman define a medium as "the social and intellectual environment a machine creates" (84). Audiences would gather to hear an oral discussion that could be described as literary in terms of content and format. For his third point, he claims that the content created by television affects communication, but not everything. The same information could not be relevant to someone in Maine and also relevant to someone in Texas. The rise of social media has enhanced the way that people can present themselves as commodities or defined personalities that ultimately entertain one another rather than provide accurate personal descriptions. First off, it allowed us to capture a moment in the past and have it in the present. Religious sermons were certainly emotional, but were delivered and prepared in a literary style. The next story might be tonally different, and it also might be an advertisement or commercial. Citizens were able to comprehend this form of public speaking because they were used to the written format, the most popular medium of the day. Chapter 2: Media as Epistemology Postman makes the point that none of the thinkers ever asked for time to think. His main point was that preachers in the past used reason and theology when delivering sermons and formatted them like a written piece. Speeches – like those of the Lincoln-Douglas debates – used long, complicated phraseology, and even areas like advertising used rational paragraphs to make claims about products. Image The History of Public Discourse and Media News and Entertainment Progress, Prediction, and the Unforeseen Future What are the lessons de draws by explaining "three cases of truth telling"? With the corporate state having the power to control what information can be broadcasted, as well as how much, it can easily become a "Huxleyan tyranny" if they chose to flood the channels with information. For his second point, he claims that the theories presented within this book do not yet pertain to everyone. The relevance of any information to someone's life barely mattered, because even if it was relevant, it was soon replaced, leaving no time or inclination towards thought or consideration. Why is the book still relevant, according to Andrew Postman? What are the conclusions he draws from Chapter 6? In what ways is television an educational "curriculum"? Our only hope, he suggests, is that we recognize the way it is working upon us, and attempt to exert control over it. As such, the complexities of any politician's personality and opinions can never be fully communicated on television without compromising his candidacy, and so the electorate will never have a truly rational understanding of who or what they are voting for. Is this a general question or attributed to the book title Amusing Ourselves to Death? Before the telegraph, Postman suggests that news existed primarily to inspire action in the listener, to encourage him or her to change his or her world. Amusing Ourselves to Death study guide contains a biography of Neil Postman, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Title. 5 min read. 27. Commercials are a threat to the "freedom of information" because they cause the illusion of freedom. the invention of the clock led to the idea of living "moment to moment" (11), living life in "mathematically measurable sequences" (11). that something can have a greater effect than originally expected, dependent upon its context. However, its thesis can easily be applied to – if not elevated by – the age of the Internet. Religion is also difficult and demanding, requiring a person to confront himself. chapter 11. Huxleyan. Amusing Ourselves to Death is not a long book — 163 pages of text. 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