"The problem, in any case, does not reside in what people watch. The problem is in that we watch. The solution must be found in how we watch. For I believe it may fairly be said that we have yet to learn what television is...We have apparently advanced to the point where we have grasped the idea that a change in the forms, volume, speed and context of information means something, but we have not got any further." (bolding is mine)This quote resonated with me, because it, in a way, surprised me that Postman could think this, yet still have such an emphatically negative outlook on television throughout his book. I think that television, like any new media, must go through a phase in which people try to figure out how to best use it.
When Postman wrote Amusing Ourselves To Death in 1985, regular commercial network television was approximately thirty-seven years old (since it began in the US in 1948). Twenty-eight more years have gone by since then, and in nine more years it will be twice as old as it was in '85.
Haven't we grown in twenty-eight years? Aren't we moving to another range of programming?
I guess what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that Postman is writing and thinking about a form of media that wasn't even a century old yet, and wouldn't be for awhile. Of course there were lots of bad programming in 1985, we were still figuring out how to use the television. I like to think that we have gone from our toddler years in 1985 when Postmen wrote his book, to our preteens in 2013, and now are preparing to buckle down for adolescence.
So here's my question for you, classmates, are we getting better? Was television too young to be analyzed by Postman, is his argument out of context? Where do you think television is going to go from here?