Summary Essay Amusing Ourselves to Death

Submitted By brandonbabcock1990
Words: 623
Pages: 3

Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) describes society as nothing more than a changing environment influenced by the mass growth of technology. Technology, being emails, internet, television, video games, cell phones, and text messages, has influenced not only how people react but how they live their lives. In chapter one of “Amusing ourselves to death” (1985), Postman states his argument that society has involved from a print based environment to a more visual and media based environment. He states that society cannot live with both environments, therefor society has adapted the visual and media based environment as their path to grow and evolve. I believe that the two main factors that have caused our society to move towards a more visual and media based environment is the never ending development of new technology and how society bases their views off this technology.
Postman’s title for chapter one is “The Medium is the Metaphor.” In this chapter Postman mentions the development of the television and how it has impacted our generation. By the 21st century, it was not uncommon for every household to own a television. With this development Postman argues “our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are the people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.” (p. 3-4). From this quote, Postman states that every factor of our economy is now factored on what society sees on television or the “show business.” Society revolves around television and decision and views are now based on what the television tells us.
When the cell phone was introduced in the 1980s, society moved from a “sit down” culture to an “always on the move” culture. The ability to walk and talk at the same time opened new doors for our culture to be more involved with everything that is happening around us. News, updates, friends, and family were now all available via a touch of a button. Postman states in chapter one that, “Speech, of course, is the primal and indispensable medium. It made us human, keeps us human, and in fact defines what human means.” (p. 9) Cellphones are now the new means of speech. Speech I believe has adapted and will always keep adapting to our needs. Cellphones have become smarter,