What does Postman Amusing Ourselves to Death say that supports what Huxley says in Brave New World? Refer to advancements in technologyNeil Postman Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First of all, Neil Postman's title underscores one major conern of Huxley:  People value entertainment above all else.  Postman writes,

....Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.  Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Postman contends that many people merely view the news and the spoken word disappears while the written word lasts and can be referred to again and again.  He complains, too, that the media creates the content of our culture:  "Our media are our metaphors.  That is, the news suggests thoughts and "enforces their special definitions of reality."  He insists that

the form in which ideas are expressed affects what those ideas will be.

This idea is not unlike the conditioning of the people of the New World who are taught what to think in hynopaedic conditioning at night. Short little bits of information are fed to children each night, just as sound bytes compose modern news and people are given bits of information or propaganda to digest.  Television and photography raise, Postaman says, 

the interplay of image and instancy to an exquisite and dangerous perfection

The citizens of the New World see what they are allowed to view. These images viewed in the New World find parallels in what Postman describes in the contemporary world as television's presentation of triivalities. Postman contends, "serious television" is an oxymoron just as there are no serious thoughts in the New World.

Curiously, at the time of his writing, Neil Postman had not yet encountered some of the advancements such as the Internet.  How would Postman have reacted to this print media?



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