Amusing Ourselves To Death.

Neil Postman,professor of communication arts and sciences at New York University,author of the book,Amusing ourselves to death writes,”Today we must look at the city of Las Vegas,Nevada,as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration….for Las Vegas is a city devoted to the idea of entertainment,and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment.Our politics,religion,news,athletics,education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business,largely without protest or even popular notice.The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.”pp.3-4.

Postman believes our culture,”is undergoing a vast and trembling  shift from the magic of writing to the magic of electronics”(p.13.).

John MacArthur in,”A Plea for Unity,writes,”Something put in written form has to be logical and have sufficient content to give proof of what it says.Otherwise it will not be accepted.A society based on print media fosters a cognitive intellectual culture.In such a culture people are willing to stand for seven hours while two men,such as Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas,debate each other on complex issues of public policy.”

Postman asks,”Is there any audience of Americans today who could endure seven hours of talk?or five?or three?Especially without pictures of any kind.”(p.45).

MacArthur asks,”Would any church today stand and listen to the Scriptures being read and explained from dawn till midday(cf.Neh.8:1-8)?Today we have thirty-minute sermonettes for Christianettes with histrionics and jokes from beginning to end.Because we’ve shifted from a typographic to an electronically oriented society,much of public discourse is dangerous nonsense-it lacks logic and content.As a result,the typical TV preacher may say something profound once in thirty minutes,or thirty weeks.There’s no reasoned rhetoric or profound logic because he’s in competition with explosions,sex,murders,and crashing cars-all available at the touch of a dial.”(pp.16-17.).Plea for unity.

Of television preachers,Postman says, “They certaintly do not compare favorably with well-known evangelicals of an earlier period,such as Jonathan Edwards,George Whitfield and Charles G.Finney,who were men of great learning,theological subtlety and powerful exposotional skills”(p.117).

MacArthur writes, “When is the last time you heard something on television that changed your life?There can be no Jonathan Edwards when people demand the kind of emotional gratification television is geared to provide.People don’t want to think,and as a result church platforms look increasingly like Las Vegas stages.Vaudeville has re-placed the preaching of the Word.(p.17-18.A plea for unity).

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One Comment on “Amusing Ourselves To Death.”

  1. chadwick Says:


    The bold print is annoying . . . it gives me a headache every time I try to read your post . . . is there any way you could post your articles with “common” fonts for the common man? 🙂

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