Brittany's Reviews > Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
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Dec 30, 09

bookshelves: modern-classics, nonfiction, short-nonfiction-essays, school-books
Recommended for: People looking for a nonfiction Orwellian take on our society
Read in November, 2006, read count: 1

How I Came To Read This Book: My prof selected it for orality and literacy as a showpiece on how our culture changed as we moved from oral storytelling to writing, to other technologies.

The Plot: Er, pretty similar to what I just described. Postman looks at the downfall of our society and our culture in the wake of the invasion of mass media. It’s a very scholarly, Ivory Tower-esque examination of today’s ‘opium for the masses’ – mass market entertainment.

The Good & The Bad: If you look at some of my fellow Goodreader reviews, the resounding theme is that as accurate as Neil Postman’s predictions are regarding the downfall of our society in light of pop culture, it also begs the question – and your point is? There is still plenty of intelligence to go around regardless of how connected we are to the ‘amusement’ business. The book is condescending and dense at times, but in general makes a lot of good points. Much as 1984’s predictions are eerily coming around a bit these days (think about how often you spend time in front of a screen!), so too have many of Postman’s in a book written about 25 years ago. A spooky shoutout to our present makes this book a worthwhile read, but it isn’t exactly for the light-hearted.

The Bottom Line: A snobby but scarily real portrait of our society today.

Anything Memorable?: Not really…I remember the chapter on religion and the part looking at Sesame Street quite well because of the exams I wrote in university, but nothing more.

50-Book Challenge?: Just shy as I read this in 2006!
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