Amusing Ourselves to Death


Neil Postman

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Themes and Colors
Form and Content Theme Icon
Typography vs. Image Theme Icon
The History of Public Discourse and Media Theme Icon
News and Entertainment Theme Icon
Progress, Prediction, and the Unforeseen Future Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Amusing Ourselves to Death, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
News and Entertainment Theme Icon

A central consideration of Postman’s argument is the role that the news (whether in the newspaper or on television) plays in the development of the new American culture. Postman believes that the news is a particularly insidious force in the transformation of America from a culture of reason into a culture of entertainment.

While the news seems at first glance like an objective dissemination of knowledge and information, Postman maintains that the news actually represents the commodification of knowledge, and the transformation of information into mere entertainment. The news is information that we always want (and always get, via daily papers and news shows), but not information that we actually use. It is thus, according to Postman, not really information at all—it is entertainment, and thus a commodity.

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News and Entertainment Quotes in Amusing Ourselves to Death

Below you will find the important quotes in Amusing Ourselves to Death related to the theme of News and Entertainment.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The only communication event that could produce such collective attention in today's America is the Superbowl.

Related Symbols: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
Page Number: 35
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When Charles Dickens visited America in 1842, his reception equaled the adulation we offer today to television stars, quarter- backs, and Michael Jackson…

Page Number: 39
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Chapter 5 Quotes

To the telegraph, intelligence meant knowing of lots of things, not knowing about them…

Page Number: 70
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Chapter 6 Quotes

At the end, one could only applaud those performances, which is what a good television program always aims to achieve; that is to say, applause, not reflection.

Page Number: 91
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Had Irving Berlin changed one word in the title of his celebrated song [There’s No Business like Show Business], he would have been as prophetic, albeit more terse, as Aldous Huxley. He need only have written, There's No Business But Show Business.

Related Characters: Aldous Huxley
Page Number: 98
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Chapter 7 Quotes

Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.

Page Number: 106
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Chapter 9 Quotes

The television commercial is not at all about the character of products to be consumed. It is about the character of the consumers of products.

Page Number: 126
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Chapter 10 Quotes

We now know that "Sesame Street" encourages children to love school only if school is like "Sesame Street."

Page Number: 143
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