postman 11 summary Essay

Submitted By mahsa88i
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In this concluding chapter, Postman seems well aware that he might seem a cantankerous Luddite for having spouted against television at such length and with such vitriol. That his career as a media theorist explicitly disproves such an interpretation is of little value – we know how well aware he is of the power of an image, and he perhaps fears he falls into the image of the lunatic warning of end-times.
However, he achieves a balance here of high-stakes language and pragmatic discussion. As Andrew Postman notes in the Introduction to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition, the Orwell/Huxley dichotomy is something of a "hook" - a way to engage readers into what might otherwise seem an academic work. Naturally, he has to return to it. And yet he ties it together in a rather sophisticated way that reveals how competently he has argued his thesis. It is possible to see serious echoes of the Huxley dystopia in Postman's depiction of a television-obsessed America, even though the initial warnings seemed extremely harsh. Postman has conducted an assault less on television than on us – we are allowing bad things to happen to us, and we should wake up if we want to do better.
Though he has made it clear throughout, it is worth mentioning here that Postman does limit his critique to America. To deny that Orwell's version of tyranny exists in some places around the world would be naïve, but such oppression does not concern his argument. He means to suggest that America, while so successfully shaking the shackles described in 1984, has fallen into an equally threatening dystopia.
The question should be asked at this point whether Amusing Ourselves to Deathremains relevant for a world less defined by the media-metaphor of television than by the media-metaphor of the Internet. This chapter would certainly suggest that Postman would believe so. His slight mention of computers is less prescient than the way he describes a world that seeks constant stimulation, excitement, and entertainment. The concept of changing the channel has reached a new apex with the Internet, where one can find more disassociated information, sometimes several tabs' worth at a time, than even Postman could have imagined when he wrote this book. Some of the ideas may seem quaint at times, but the warning captured here remains one worth considering.