Frases de Neil Postman

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Neil Postman

Fecha de nacimiento: 8. Marzo 1931
Fecha de muerte: 5. Octubre 2003

Neil Postman fue un sociólogo y crítico cultural estadounidense. Fue discípulo de Marshall McLuhan, director del Departamento de Cultura y Comunicación de la Universidad de Nueva York, y profesor de Ecología de los medios o Media Ecology.


„La inteligencia se define fundamentalmente como nuestra capacidad para captar la verdad de las cosas.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„Cada uno tiene su opinión. Quizá sea más preciso llamarlas emociones en lugar de opiniones, cosa que explicaría por qué cambian cada semana.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business


„Los tiranos siempre han confiado, y lo hacen aún, en la censura. Después de todo éste es el tributo que los tiranos pagan por suponer que el público conoce la diferencia entre el discurso serio y el entretenimiento, y que le importa.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited bynightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling:'s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, anddid not prophesy the same thing. warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

Whatfeared were those who would ban books. Whatfeared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. feared those who would deprive us of information. feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. feared that the truth would be concealed from us. feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. feared we would become a captive culture. feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. Asremarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "." In 1984, added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, feared that what we fear will ruin us. feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that, not, was right.“
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us... But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„[M]ost of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action. (68).“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business


„In America, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different roder from eighteenth- or nineteenth-century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us. What is happening here is that television is altering the meaning of 'being informed' by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. I am using this world almost in the precise sense in which it is used by spies in the CIA or KGB. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information--misplace, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information--information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing. In saying this, I do not mean to imply that television news deliberately aims to deprive Americans of a coherent, contextual understanding of their world. I mean to say that when news is packaged as entertainment, that is the inevitable result. And in saying that the television news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„Educators may bring upon themselves unnecessary travail by taking a tactless and unjustifiable position about the relation between scientific and religious narratives. We see this, of course, in the conflict concerning creation science. Some educators representing, as they think, the conscience of science act much like those legislators who in 1925 prohibited by law the teaching of evolution in Tennessee. In that case, anti-evolutionists were fearful that a scientific idea would undermine religious belief. Today, pro-evolutionists are fearful that a religious idea will undermine scientific belief. The former had insufficient confidence in religion; the latter insufficient confidence in science. The point is that profound but contradictory ideas may exist side by side, if they are constructed from different materials and methods and have different purposes. Each tells us something important about where we stand in the universe, and it is foolish to insist that they must despise each other.“ The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School

„The television commercial is not at all about the character of products to be consumed. It is about the character of the consumers of products.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.“


„We do not measure a culture by its output of undisguised trivialities but by what it claims as significant.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism.

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble puppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists, who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny, “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In 1984, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.“
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„For in the end, he was trying to tell us what afflicted the people in 'Brave New World' was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.“ Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

„At its best, schooling can be about how to make a life, which is quite different from how to make a living.“ The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School

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