Amusing Ourselves to Death

Neil Postman


Since the arrival of television, the hours we spend watching meaningless entertainment have grown enormously. And all at the expense of politics and public discourse. Instead of actively and critically engaging with information, people nowadays mostly receive information in a much more passive way. Amusing Ourselves to Death was first published in 1985, but with the ever-growing influence of television and the arrival other electronic media – like the internet - the topic is more significant than ever. Neil Postman warns us for the influence of entertainment and the effects that these media have on intellectual discourse. Also, television is teaching us to expect life to be entertaining rather than interesting and teaches us to live a decontextualized life. A life in which events are seen as unconnected and random, without any significance towards a larger picture. Postman thus challenged us to look at subjects like politics, journalism and educations and how these subjects change because of the demands of the entertainment business. How do mass media like television transform the world we live in? And, more importantly, how can we withstand this dangerous process, take control of our media and, by doing so, shape the mass media to serve our highest goals?