Friday, March 15, 2013

Dead Men Can't Argue Back

Made a bit of a mistake in thinking my blog was due later so, sorry for not providing variety for people to respond to! On that note, I have no fun graphics, but I do have a question. Feel free to respond or not! It's a bit late when my senses kicked in and I checked the syllabus. When finding or realizing flaws and applause moments in the Postman book last Tuesday, it struck me that although Postman makes great points on how our society behaves today he is also clouded by his own opinion. Do you think that we are so amazed by his accurate predictions to not want to critique his work (because it can be difficult)? What problems do you find with his bias or even the age of the book? Does it make a difference that the book is so old? Should it make a difference? We'll get to it on Tuesday, but I wanted so feedback not on if Postman is wrong or right but if we considered the circumstances around the time this book was released.

9 comments:

  1. I have no problem critiquing Postman's book. I think a lot of what he says is relevant to the direction we're going with the internet, particularly the Now...This chapter. However, I also think that a hefty chunk of the first half of his book lacks an appreciation for the values of entertainment. It seems to me that his biggest problem with a telegraphic culture is the emphasis on entertainment, and he seems to argue that this offers little room for intellectual stimulation. I disagree with this. I think that oftentimes entertainment can be very stimulating. This is especially true of a well-crafted plot, or dynamic characters.

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  2. I'm with John in that I do not have a problem criticizing Postman (nor do I have a problem applauding him). I agree with Postman disregarding the positive value of entertainment. I doubt he would think that reading classical literature is a bad thing, yet to me, some of the quality shows out there are in many ways just as rich. Game of Thrones (which I unfortunately have yet to see) is even an adaptation of a book series.

    Another problem that I have with Postman is his nostalgic look at America. He makes a lot of assumptions, particularly that Americans from that time always talked about weighty and intellectual subjects. He can't know that, and to be honest I'd have trouble believing that. Also, everything looks better in hindsight. As my group discussed this past tuesday, years from now, all of the problems we have now won't seem so bad (or at least I hope not).

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  3. I think that I am at some points impressed with what Postman writes about because it brings up things that I have noticed but not necessarily ever taken the time to give further thought about why.

    I agree that the information is still relevant, however, not as much with television but rather with the internet now. I think that our culture is focused a lot on speed and entertainment, but I don't feel like Postman takes into account the fact that people who want information will make the effort to find it. People are going to look for information in different forms, whether print, television, or now online, and they are going to be able to tell the difference between what is relevant information, and what is purely meant as entertainment. And if they don't, they should.

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  4. For the time that it was released, I think Postman has made great predictions and premonitions. I believe that his ideas were relevant for the time period the book was created. However, some ideas have become out-dated. Yet, other ideas remain solid. I like to think that the idea of "The media's junk is ever growing" is true. Especially with the ability to communicate faster, so has the growth and spread of unimportant and irrelevant information. Also, the chapter about the photography made me think about pictures and images we receive in a new way.

    So some ideas are outdated, but some central and general thoughts are relevant

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  5. I find a lot of his ideas interesting and accurate. My question why does postman get so much credit for being so prophetic when this book was written in 1985. By this time the early version of personal computer is slowly already leaking its way into homes. As well as the many advancements in micro-sciences at this time. Everyday computer chips were becoming smaller and more effective. It was literally only a matter of time before there was a camera on every block because the fact that they had become so cheap and the technology had become so easily produced that it became more available to everyone. Right now for less than $700 i could go online and buy 4 cameras and a 1000GB recorder and install them all myself. Hell, it may even be wireless. Postman isn't an idiot but i feel like many people find him to be more prophetic when really what he noticed was more or less inevitable.

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  6. p.s. loved the title of this one too. ha.

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  7. I don't think all of us are unwilling to critique Postman's work. I know I personally find myself not fulling agreeing with what he says, but I find merit to what he says. Basically I normally can see where he comes to the conclusion or his predictions (though I may not always agree with them). For the time that this book came out,a lot of what he says make more sense with the context of time. I think we are sometimes a little harsher on what he says or finds because in today's world what he says may not be true or is thought of differently in today's world. I mean we-and I am making an assumption here- all grew up in a world where technology is more advanced and we have more access to compared to the romanticized world I feel Postman talks about.

    I want to say that the age of this book does make a difference with how we view the content in the book. At the same time I don't think that it should matter how long ago the book came out. The message, I feel, would be the same if this book had come out in 2010 as it would have at its publication in 1985.

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  8. I think postman was right when he mentioned how society would treat media and it's ever evolving capabilities. However, I don't think he gave us enough credit. At times it seemed like Postman would consider the future generations to seem like mindless drones. Even if some of us act that way - I think we have to take into account the responsibility that has also been placed on this generation as well. He is right in how the media can be stressful and that we have immersed ourselves with so much information - we don't care to learn anything else. But there is an immense pressure to just "know" technology. We are suppose to be able to teach others and create newer, faster and better technology that at the end of the day it has become a job to keep up. I think Postman overlooked the idea that the amazement with technology may run dry and we will (eventually) not think of it so highly. What happens after that?

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  9. I wanted to hate every bit of what was being taught to us when we first started this class. Technology was my master (the internet in particular) and I'd be damned if someone was going to try to tell me that it was a bad thing. In this sense, I've come to respect much of what Postman says, but that still doesn't stop me from thinking critically about the messages that he's trying to send.

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