This is the first book I’ve finished in 2009, and if the rest of the books I read this year are in this caliber, this is going to be a very good year.
Postman deftly shows how the shift from the Age of Print to the Age of Television is having a disastrous effect on the tenor of our public discourse. He argues that the very nature of television makes it impossible to have deeper, thoughtful conversations about the burning issues of the day. And, he convincingly argues, TV affects everything else in culture. He has a clear intellect, and his sharp analysis on the way television shapes us is disturbing and should serve as a wake-up call to us all.
This book was written over 30 years ago, and was a prophetic call in an Age of Television. But it seems that as we’ve moved into the Age of the Computer or the Age of the Internet, some of the arguments don’t easily port over. The Internet is a somewhat more interactive form of media than, say, television. Or even books for that matter. And I’d be interested to know the prevailing metaphor that the medium of the Internet is introducing into our culture today.
Regardless, it’s a timely book that argues quite forcefully for the need to ask questions about the role of media in the shaping of not only our culture, but also our minds.
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