What is particularly notable about the "printed word" in early America?
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Without restating his argument, it is useful to collect all of his thoughts about what a print and oratory based culture offers. He believes that the written word (and oratory based on it) is essentially detached from its audience. We do not respond to words themselves, but in fact look past those words to discern meaning. It is, in a word, rational. We must think to read and understand. Further, the conversation implied by writing has a universal edge. Because a text is generally spoken to nobody in particular (but rather to an unnamed audience), it is therefore directed towards everyone. Therefore, every reader has the opportunity (or compulsion) to engage in dialogue with it. By considering the proposition made in writing and comparing that to one's own life and ethics, one is now part of a cultural conversation. One is inspired to either make or not make changes, but nevertheless, that text has inspired something of relevance. Lastly, what is written is immutable. As he indicates, this is why burning books is considered so philistine; it is destroying what is immortal. Because written thoughts can never change, they imply a deliberation on the writer's part, and also an honesty of expression. All of these elements are those which make Postman so value reading and writing – they force one to grapple with the world, rather than blowing off what is uninteresting or not immediately accessible.