In the book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” by Neil Postman. How does the author build that idea, with examples.


Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is a study on how the TV has affected discourse in the US. He argues that the television bears the culture of entertainment and that is what it has taught Americans. Everything in the television is meant for entertainment; including the news, and weighty matters in education and religion.

In this book, Postman has explained the way American culture shifted gradually from verbal speech to print media and finally to television, a less serious culture. He gives an example of how today in the US regular features on the television make overweight and unattractive politicians to appear normal and attractive. Television can be seen as full of mind games.

Television is also to blame for the poor reading culture among Americans today. He notes that today, it is easier to switch on the television than to pick up a book and read. More important information is found in books, and so the television may lead to a future breed that is less knowledgeable. He therefore asserts that the television is out to only propagate a culture of entertainment and show business and nothing more constructive.

He recalls that in the past, the church and government which are strict bodies mainly created the print media. They gave common man a chance to participate in news-making process. However, the rise of media monopolies and professional journalism distorted everything and turned the common man into a passive recipient rather than a participant. Consumers today do not look for news by themselves but wait for the television to bring them news (Manafy 6).

He also considered the television to be an escape mechanism for people who are obsessed with entertainment and fear facing reality as while here, they stop thinking. However, Postman feels that how we watch television is the issue, and not the television itself. People should make critical choices about what they see on television and bear in mind the shortcomings of the television.

In conclusion, Neil Postman was absolutely right about the impact of television on the culture of Americans which only gets worse. Today more forms of technology have come up and the evils of television in Postman’s days cannot compare to evils of the current mass social media in the US. However, it is the role of the media recipients to choose what is beneficial and right for them since it is free media with no rules attached.


Manafy, Michelle. “Share Business.” EContent 32.9 (2009): 6-. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 9 Oct. 2012.


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