Neil Postman





Neil Postman

Author profile


born
in New York, New York, The United States
March 08, 1931

died
October 05, 2003

gender
male

genre

influences
Russell Baker, Marshall McLuhan, Louis Forsdale


About this author

Neil Postman, an important American educator, media theorist and cultural critic was probably best known for his popular 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death. For more than four decades he was associated with New York University, where he created and led the Media Ecology program.

He is the author of more than thirty significant books on education, media criticism, and cultural change including Teaching as a Subversive Activity, The Disappearance of Childhood, Technopoly, and Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century.

"Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), a historical narrative which warns of a decline in the ability of our mass communications media to share serious ideas. Since television images replace the written word, Postman argues tha...more


Average rating: 4.03 · 11,683 ratings · 1,266 reviews · 27 distinct works · Similar authors
Amusing Ourselves to Death:...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 6,912 ratings — published 1985 — 25 editions
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Technopoly: The Surrender o...
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 1,671 ratings — published 1991 — 9 editions
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The End of Education: Redef...
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 833 ratings — published 1995 — 10 editions
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The Disappearance of Childhood
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 721 ratings — published 1984 — 14 editions
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Teaching As a Subversive Ac...
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 588 ratings — published 1969 — 11 editions
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Building a Bridge to the 18...
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 307 ratings — published 1999 — 12 editions
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How to Watch TV News
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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 308 ratings — published 1991 — 7 editions
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Conscientious Objections: S...
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 174 ratings — published 1988 — 7 editions
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Teaching As A Conserving Ac...
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 44 ratings — published 1979 — 4 editions
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Soft Revolution
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 1971
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More books by Neil Postman…
“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

“Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us . . . But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?”
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and comercials.”
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

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