Proposed discussion questions for Amusing Ourselves to Death

Here are the questions I thought of while reading the book. Use this discussion area to propose any modifications or additions. Our plan is to begin discussion of the book in early July and to continue throughout the month.


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I found myself wondering how Postman's thesis might apply to social media. Are we past the television age and moving into something different? What's the impact on politics, news and other 'serious' stuff of FB, twitter etc? How does social media compare to typography or television?
Excellent questions Evan. They occurred to me too. Can't wait to get into them once the discussion begins in earnest.

Hi Evan,


That's funny you mention that.  I've been thinking the same thing as I read Postman's book.  I went to a conference last week, and they posted statistics about teens in America today.  One of the statistics stated that teens today spend more time on the Internet than they do watching television.  I know that is definitely true for myself.  I would argue that, in some ways, we are past the television age and into the social media age.  I don't think Postman would approve of the use of Twitter or Facebook as a means for public discourse.  Thanks for bringing this up!



I'm excited about reading and discussing AOD but will be off the grid for about half the month. I will do my best to keep up with it as time permits. For the rest of you...get reading!:)

Thanks for the heads up Ron, and for the encouragement to read. Which half of the month will you be unavailable?


We haven't decided when to begin the discussion, so you can be the first polled as to availability.

I will be reading and available from July 1st to 11th and then back on the 23rd.


Thanks Ron.
Bill -- I'm just wondering how you made that mind map. I'd love to use it with my kids.
Hi Jamie, I used an iPad app called iThoughts; but I think most mind/concept mapping software would do as well.
In case you're interested, here is the link to a lesson I prepared for a middle school communications class I taught 5 years ago. I used Inspiration to create the mind map. Now the company has Webspiration, which allows for online class collaborations. Both it and Inspiration are paid software, however.

Postman writes the role of news is to cause discourse or debate, to lead to meaningful change or to increase social and political potency. Is this the purpose of news? 


Also, some of his argument have me wondering about commercials/spots/programs/documentaries that are meant for the social good? Documentaries like Invisible Soldiers or God Grew Tired of Us are two-fold in aim. Yes, they do try to make it as "entertaining" as possible I suppose but do so to push awareness of a major social issue. Somebody may read about this issue after seeing a telegraphic image of it. Is this good or bad? Sure, the context may be brief, but it gives an jolt for viewers to seek their own. Is creating own context good or bad?

Thanks for your questions Tim. They are excellent. I'll add them to the list and repost it sometime over the weekend.


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