Writing class

1) Postman references Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World in which the people of a “future time” have come to love “technologies that undo their capacity to think.” Has this happened to us in our “present time”? If so, in what specific ways has this occurred? If not, how, specifically, have we avoided this?


CHAPTER 1: “The Medium is the Metaphor”

1. Postman says that “television gives us a conversation in images, not words.” Using at least two examples, explain what he means by this.

2. Did you immediately understand what was meant by the chapter title, “The Medium Is the Metaphor”? If so, what did you understand it to mean? If it didn’t make sense to you at first, then did you grasp its meaning by the end of the chapter? Does it seem an apt title for the content of this opening chapter?

3. Postman writes on page 5, “In America, the least amusing people are its professional entertainers.” What is his point here? In other words, why does he say this? (You have to read the text leading up to this sentence to answer this question.)

Today, in the twenty-first century, would you agree? Why or why not?


CHAPTER 2: “Media as Epistemology”

1. If you haven’t looked it up, you should look up the word epistemology. What does it mean? Why do you think Postman says media is this? He offers his own definition of the term. Does his definition agree with the one you found? If so, how? If not, how does it differ?

2. Postman says on p. 31 that “the premise of this book” is the “the form in which ideas are expressed affects what those ideas will be.” What has he said thus far in the book that supports his view? How does this assertion compare to Marshall McCluhan’s famous maxim “The medium is the message.”

3. On pages 16-17, Postman writes the following sentence: “The problem with such people is that they do not take television seriously enough.”

What does he mean here by “take television seriously” in this sentence?

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