cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture
an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument
a pithy observation that contains a general truth
the perfect example
a statement accepted as true as the basis for argument or inference
trite; lacking in originality
arranged into a systematic code
any thing that is designed to be sold or traded, rather than for immediate practical use
naturally accompanying or associated
being in agreement or harmony
an amount necessary or sufficient for a cause to have a significant effect or to achieve a result; in this case, the amount of influence television needs before it entirely infiltrates all culture
something considered in isolation from its context; Postman uses the term mainly to refer to information that is delivered without any attention paid to its historical or social significance
a religious belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe; several of America's Founding Fathers identified themselves as Deists
lacking interest, passion, or energy
designed or intended to teach
any written or spoken communication or debate; in Postman's context, the form of communication in which any particular civilization engages, whether oral, written, or televised
a movement promoting unity among Christian churches or denominations
the theory of knowledge, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope; our ways of knowing and judging truth
composure; calmness; poise
a comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory
deceptive or unreal
the placement or insertion of one thing in between others
the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; esp: the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context
According to Postman, "Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival."
Postman's term for the way that a civilization's media serves as a metaphor for the way it communicates amongst itself
a means of delivering a message, whether a specific technology or an abstract form of communication like writing or speaking; in Postman's definition, "a use to which a physical apparatus [like the television] is put"
a field of work; occupation or profession
the branch of medicine and surgery concerned with childbirth and the care of women giving birth
the state or condition of being equal
of, relating to, or befitting a teacher or education
in American history, a cheap newspaper dedicated to sensational or controversial stories
by necessity; by force of circumstance
keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment
the art or practice of argumentation or controversy
surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way
something offered for consideration or acceptance
exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical
a phenomenon that Postman defines in the words of Northrop Frye, in which "a particular statement in a particular context achieves a universal significance"
the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing
of or relating to meaning in language
in American political history, a politician or politician's representative who traveled to give speeches detailing a candidate's positions
to form a thought or idea based on scanty evidence
the quality of appearing to be true or real
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...