Sunday, June 1, 2014

Quotations from Neil Postman

" the next to last refuge of the politically impotent.  The last refuge is, of course, giving your opinion to a pollster, who will get a version of it through a desiccated question, and then will submerge it in a Niagara of similar opinions, and convert them into - what else? - another piece of news.  Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence.  The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing."

"There is no more disturbing consequence of the electronic and graphic revolution than this:  that the world as given to us through television seems natural, not bizarre.  For the loss of the sense of the strange is a sign of adjustment, and the extent to which we have adjusted is a measure of the extent to which we have been changed.  Our culture's adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now all but complete;  we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reali ty that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane.  And if some of our institutions seem not to fit the template of the times, why it is they, and not the template, that seem to us disordered and strange."


Amusing Ourselves To Death, by Neil Postman. 
Penguin Books edition, 1986
Part 1, Chapter 5

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