A friend of mine recently recommended Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”. I’d never heard of the author and was a little put off by its intense title. I flipped through the first chapter and realized how frequently Postman references Orwell and Huxley – I’ve always enjoyed “1984” and wanted to read “Brave New World” before I started. Postman finally topped my reading list last fall.
I’ve never read a more interesting and culturally relevant book in my life. Though the material was deep and made for intense reading, I gleaned so much from Postman’s words. I have a new found interest in the field of media ecology and plan to continue my research in this area and possibly pursue a career in it. I’m creating this blog to house my thoughts on various texts, blogs, theories and other resources.
I chose the name of the blog based on a quote from “Amusing Ourselves…”. In the final chapter, Postman notes that “the problem, in any case, does not reside in what people watch. The problem is in that we watch. The solution must be to find out how we watch”. He goes on to say that “there has been no worthwhile discussion, let alone widespread understanding, of what information is and how it gives direction to a culture”. As consumers of media, I don’t think we ever question the medium or the effect it has on our society as a whole. We are constantly seeking new information at faster speeds, but what is the purpose? I merely seek to question our motives and assess the influence these changes have on our culture. As Postman says, “To ask is to break the spell.”