The author of the book and sole narrator, Mr. Postman delivers strong opinions that do not disguise his own biases and feelings. Many of his opinions reveal him to be quite a humanist who respects the rational potential in human beings. He is someone who both appreciates television for what it is and realizes the harm it is causing to our civilization.
The godfather of media ecology, Mr. McLuhan is mentioned often in the book, always with deference but sometimes as a figure whose opinions Mr. Postman wishes to alter or expand upon. See the Additional Content section of this note for more information on Mr. McLuhan's theories.
A British author relevant to this book for having written 1984.
A British author most relevant to this work for having written Brave New World.
The 40th President of the United States, having served from 1980 through 1988. Ronald Reagan was a film actor before beginning his career in politics.
A famous televangelist, known for a folksy but articulate style of Protestant Christianity.
A once-popular American comedian.
A celebrity figure who dispenses relationship and sex advice.
An American historian, writer, and sociologist, active in the second half of the 20th century.
An influential Canadian literary critic and theorist.
A philosopher from the Golden Age of Athens, known for his dialectical examinations of behavior.
A revolutionary thinker and writer of colonial America, most famous for his pamphlet Common Sense, which argued for resistance to British rule.
American President who served during the Civil War, here mentioned in relation to his part in the the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
An American politician from the pre-Civil War era, here mentioned for his inclusion in the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
A famed American preacher associated with the Great Awakening, and renowned for his fiery religious speeches.
A popular televangelist and political figure in American from the late 1970's through his death in 2007.
The French artist who discovered the daguerreotype, the early form of photography that allowed images to be widely reproduced for the first time.
An American writer and theorist, most famous for her discussions and considerations of mass culture.
Former United States Secretary of State, best known for his role in waging the Vietnam War under President Nixon.
Former United States Secretary of Defense.
A Jewish author most famous for his Holocaust memoir Night.
An American political author and commentator most famous in the 1980's.
A former television news anchor who designed and delivered a news program on American public television.
An American televangelist noted for a more fire-and-brimstone approach. His popularity declined after a series of sex scandals surfaced in the 1980s and 1990s.
An American televangelist mentioned for his program "The 700 Club" and today best known for representing a conservative Christian political movement.
An American Jesuit priest, professor of English literature, cultural and religious historian and philosopher primarily concerned with the impact of the shift from orality to literacy on culture and education.
Amusing Ourselves to Death Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Amusing Ourselves to Death is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Postman is referring to the fact that the media often presents both fact and fiction is their reporting. Epistemology is the study of discerning between the two. He isn't interested in the media's artistic endeavors, but rather their imparting of...
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...
To begin his exploration of how print as a media-metaphor influenced the discourse of its time, Postman considers the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates, in which Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas publicly debated one another when competing for...