Amusing Ourselves to Death

Topics: Critical thinking, Thought, Mind Pages: 2 (435 words) Published: January 14, 2014
The "peek-a-boo" world of television has had a disastrous effect on the culture of the typographic mind. Neil Postman in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death explains how the "peek-a-boo" world of television has impacted modern discourse. 

The typographic mind is that of a print based culture. The people in such a culture tend to speak in paragraph format and use proper grammar; they organize thoughts in a way that resembles a book. This is due to the fact that people were used to reading and therefore used to long periods of concentration, which allowed for long discussions. Typography allowed for people to say a lot and think a lot, which allowed for better articulation. 

The "peek-a-boo" world of television is one in which the medium assembles disconnected facts in a "pseudo-context" (76) structure designed to make them more coherent and relevant. This structure is false creating a world that is "endlessly entertaining" (77) but does not allow for critical thinking. Information is shown to the audience so quickly that it does not allow them to think critically about it. 

The telegraph and later television allowed for a larger, more unified public discourse. This created "irrelevance, impotence, and incoherence" (76) in the medium. It was irrelevant, because the information no longer associated with the problems and decisions that the audience must address to maintain their community. It created impotence, because the audience became unable to take action. It created incoherence, because the information being transmitted is unexplainable and unanalyzable. 

With the invention of the telegraph, photography, and television the typography mind was destroyed as people began to embrace simplicity. People began to rely on images for understanding and testing of reality. Space collapses and history erodes due to the short amount of time that it takes for news to travel. People who once sat and listened to speeches that lasted several hours would be...
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