Professional Writing: Process and Practice
EN 1700 – Fall/Winter 2009/2010 – Jan Rehner
Lecture 17 – Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death – Feb 22
Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death
- Beginning and end – contrast two more vision of the future – 1984, Brave New
- Thesis: in the US, there is no need to oppressive measures of 1984.
- Orwell: Deprive us of information.
- Huxley: too much of information.
- Orwell: truth concealed.
- Huxley: drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
- Orwell: fear of captive culture.
- Huxley: fear of trivial culture.
- Orwell: inflicted pain
- Huxley: inflicted pleasure.
- We will willingly surrender from a threat within, when not seen as one.
The Age of Typography
- The word of the printed word has been replaced by the televised word.
- You must be able to follow rational sequences.
- Books are organized, when you read it, you are internalizing those structures and
how they work.
- Huxley: feared no one would want to read books.
- Orwell: feared books would be banned.
- The world of the word is one which is very rational.
- The printed word and the press, model of rhetoric and discourse.
- Press created reason and rational discourse.
- Debates were transcribed word to word. Printed in full in newspaper.
- Telegraph, conquer space. From one side of the country to the other. News
became national, less impact in local communities.
- Photograph, images. Records the world, rather than comments on it. ‘A peek-a-
boo world’; the picture lacks context. A glimpse into something then pulled away.
- Postman believes to comment, you need language.
- The world of the photograph is concrete. (You can’t take a picture of an idea).
- According to Postman, you cannot say anything without the written world.
- Huxley feared what we love will ruin it.
- Destroyed by our own self-inflicted pleasure of mindless activity (example
- Age of typography = printed word.
- World of the word very rational has structure and reasoning.
- Listening to speeches in 1800s audience would have historical knowledge and
- Undermined by new inventions – telegraph and photograph. - News became national and had less immediate impact.
- Records a moment in time, r