Neil Postman (1985)
Everyone in America needs to read this book. It is, as you have already noticed, a book written 25 years ago. You will read it and immediately think that Neil Postman traveled back in time and published this thing.
Postman’s primary thesis is that TV has changed everything by thrusting us into a constant state of entertainment. The material he uses to layout his thesis deals primarily with TV watchers. We, however, read this now and see the digital age: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, this blog. He nails this.
Given that thesis and how we see it 25 years removed, I do not see this as an attack on TV for us today (TV is so0oo 20th century) I see it as attack on what we have come to expect from everything. We have come to a point where all things must entertain. Feed me, feed me. We have become a culture that depends on a 24 hour news cycle so that we can keep up with DWTS and who will run against Obama. But, this must all be presented to us in a way that is sufficiently entertaining.
As an avid TV watcher, I am being very careful here and do not want to sound like a prude but here it goes. TV in and of itself is not bad, a sin, or the downfall of America. The idea that we must constantly be amused could be that. TV and other forms of entertainment has the ability to do two things. It can compel conversation or it can squelch it. When Jennifer and I watch a show we often talk about it and discuss the ideas that we see and hear on the show. But, there are other times when I watch something, someone turns the channel, and I don’t even remember what I was watching, you do it too. We do these two things with sermons, books, and much artwork as well. What does the watcher/hearer bring to the party? Are you able to focus your mind and digest? Or do you just show up hungry?
The book asks many good questions; it does not really answer that many questions. But take a read on this then go and discuss it.
Now, if you will excuse me I have to go check my Facebook page.