Tonight I realized I wanted to read something important. I encourage everyone else to read this same thing. The title of this book is Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. I read this in 1991 as part of a Political Science Class, and some things stick with you. In 1985, Mr Postman accurately predicted some of the problems with a twenty-four hour news cycle, twitter, and social media. Eleven years before Twitter, Nine before Facebook, he called it. That makes him someone worth taking a moment to read. He was not criticizing one political party or the other, but he was criticizing the ability of the American public to not think about important events after the bright lights go away. Or worse, when those bright lights shine on something flashy. And that can be bad. How can there be serious systemic changes if none of us have the attention span of a manic gopher. Remember the scene in Up, where the dog is talking then all at once goes “Squirrel” and is totally distracted. That should not be the American public, but too often it is. Anyway, I am going to reread Mr Postman’s book, something that was called Prophetic in 1986, and has proven to be just that, almost 20 years later.
Here are some links to the book, or it has been out long enough and has been reprinted enough that a UBS may have a copy if you need…Or your library. It’s not too long..only 163 pages that are so dead accurate that it really is scary.